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Will the mobile home resident protections bill move the dial for residents facing drastically higher rent?

River to River, hosted by Ben Kieffer

The Iowa Legislature passed a bill that will require mobile home park owners to offer additional notice before rent and utility increases and lease terminations. But resident activists say it doesn't include the solutions they brought to legislators.

Karla Shepard and her husband retired to a home in Table Mound Mobile Home Park in Dubuque. With a yard for her grandkids, a ramp for her husband's wheelchair and a location right across the highway from her youngest child, Shepard felt set up for her retirement years.

Across the nation, parks like Shepard's are consolidating into just a few hands. And with consolidation has come quickly rising rents. Shepard saw her own rent rise from $270 to $508 a month.

“It took away the retirement we were looking forward to," Shepard said.

On this episode of River to River, host Ben Kieffer speaks with state leaders about the bill and the extent to which it helps residents like Shepard.

Last, Eric Burmeister joins the show to talk about how manufactured housing fits into the conversation about affordable housing in the state.

Guests:

  • Brian Lohse, Republican state representative for part of Polk County including Altoona, Bondurant and Mitchellville
  • Zach Wahls, Iowa Senate minority leader; Democratic state senator for Johnson and Cedar counties including Coralville, Solon, West Branch and Tipton
  • Karla Shepard, board member of the Table Mound Resident Association and resident of Table Mound Mobile Home Park
  • Eric Burmeister, executive director of the Polk County Housing Trust Fund
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Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River
Zachary Oren Smith is a producer for IPR's Talk of Iowa and River to River