Progress 09/01/11 to 08/31/12
OUTPUTS: Mobile home parks provide critical affordable housing options for low-income residents in rural areas of the United States. The majority of these parks were built before environmental regulations or land use planning was in place for site evaluation. Consequently, many parks are located in areas vulnerable to natural hazards. The combination of low incomes, relatively high population densities, and poor site planning increases the vulnerability of mobile home parks to a wide range of disasters. The primary goal of this research project is to increase the disaster resiliency of Vermonts mobile home parks using a participatory action-research approach. Disaster resilience for residents will be increased through hazard identification, community organization, emergency planning, and improved coordination between key stakeholders. Using existing datasets and new statewide and park-scale surveys, the project builds the capacity of low income communities to prepare and respond to disaster. Strategies to increase participation in emergency management by low-income individuals are being developed, addressing a critical need identified in the literature. Since the project began in September 2010, 19 mobile home parks have sustained damages from the Spring 2011 flooding and flooding from Tropical Storm Irene destroying more than 150 homes. In the wake of these events, we have documented the effects and impacts on these communities through our partnerships with the CVOEO Mobile Home Program, Vermont Dept. of Housing, the Agency of Natural Resources, the Lieutenant Governors Office, Vermont Association of General Contractors, Champlain Housing Trust, Vermont Housing and Conversation Board and local long-term recovery committees. Immediately after the storm, we provided staff support to document and supervise the deconstruction of 68 flooded mobile homes. In February, we hosted a forum that brought together key stakeholders to discuss strategies for creating more resilient mobile home parks post-Irene. We completed a statewide survey of 363 residents from a representative sample of 127 parks that investigated resident disaster awareness and preparedness practices and collected demographic data.. We also conducted a rapid GIS assessment of flood vulnerabilities of all parks in Vermont and shared these findings with the Dept of Housing, Vermont Emergency Management, Local Emergency Planning Committees, and Local Emergency Management Directors. We have shared our findings through our project website (www.uvm.edu/~cdaemhp), presentations at Local Emergency Planning Committee meetings, and presented at the Vermont Emergency Preparedness Conference. The P.I. provided testimony about mobile home parks vulnerabilities to Vermont legislative committees. We will host regional meetings in communities across the state next year, and publish Building Resiliency guidebooks and launch an online database with park-specific emergency management data intended for park residents, owners, and emergency planners. The research will be included in the update of Vermonts hazard mitigation plan as well as local mitigation plans. PARTICIPANTS: Dan Baker, PI/PD Kelly Hamshaw, Research Specialist/Coordinator Champlain Valley Office of Economic Development Mobile Home Program TARGET AUDIENCES: Mobile Home Park residents, owners and managers Affordable housing agencies and non-profits Hazard mitigation agencies Local emergency planning committees PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: With approval from the funder we assisted mobile home parks with disaster response following Tropical Storm Irene including data management related to waste removal
The 2011 floods illustrated the vulnerabilities of Vermont mobile home parks. This research project has contributed research on risks and how communities recover from these events. We completed a rapid flood hazard assessment of all parks in the state. We found that more than one fifth of Vermonts 248 parks have at least one lot located in a flood hazard area and that nearly 12% of all mobile home lots in parks are located in a flood hazard area. Mobile homes in parks have a greater vulnerability to flooding compared to mobile homes on private land (6%) and single family homes (4%). Identification of other hazards, such as seismic risk and proximity to hazardous, is underway. This hazard analysis is useful to stakeholders includingpark residents, park owners, affordable housing advocates, local governments and state policymakers. This analysis will enable more proactive emergency planning and preparedness for mobile home park communities. The research outcomes of this project will be included in the Vermont Hazard Mitigation Plan. To understand the disaster awareness and preparedness practices of park residents as well as gather key demographic data, we conducted a representative statewide survey of 363 park residents from 127 different parks. We found that the average park resident has lived in their park for 12 years. Half of residents surveyed are considered to either be extremely low or very low income according to guidelines set by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. More than one third (37%) of the households surveyed had at least one resident over the age of 65. Forty-one percent of households reported having at least one person with a health condition or disability that would be a concern in an emergency situation. Less than one third of respondents reporting knowing if their home was tied down or anchored to its lot. Most residents reported having at least 72 hours worth of food and water stored in their home (85%), fewer had a household emergency plan (45%), back-up power source (30%), and a household disaster kit (28%). We will be comparing the findings from this park resident to the results of the 2012 Vermonter Poll where we posed similar questions to analyze if there are any significant differences between park residents and the state as a whole. We are comparing responses between 2012 and 2011 to assess the impact Tropical Storm Irene had any impact on Vermonters disaster awareness and preparedness practices. As Vermont experiences increasingly severe storm events, it is important to consider potential risks to these affordable housing communities and seek community-based strategies for increasing resilience.
- No publications reported this period
Progress 09/01/10 to 08/31/11
OUTPUTS: Mobile home parks provide critical affordable housing options for low-income residents in rural areas of the United States. The majority of these parks were built before environmental regulations or land use planning was in place for site evaluation. Consequently, many parks are located in areas vulnerable to natural hazards, such as flooding, where mitigation would have been required if permitted today. The combination of low incomes, relatively high population densities, and poor site planning increases the vulnerability of mobile home parks to a wide range of disasters. The primary goal of this three-year research proposal is to increase the resilience to disasters of mobile home parks in the rural state of Vermont using an action-research approach, and builds upon more than five years of collaborative research with mobile home park communities. Disaster resilience for residents will be increased through hazard identification, community organization, emergency planning, and improved coordination between key stakeholders such as resident associations, the emergency management system, affordable housing institutions and governmental agencies. This research project will use existing and new data to evaluate and increase the emergency preparedness of mobile home parks in the state of Vermont. Using statewide and park-scale surveys, integrated into a participatory action research framework, the project will build the capacity of low income communities to respond to disaster. A database of emergency management information scaled for mobile home park communities will be developed and made available to park residents and owners, as well as municipal officials and the regional emergency management system. A series of guides for improving disaster resiliency within park communities will be created for park residents, park owners, and local planning stakeholders. Strategies to increase participation in emergency management planning by low-income individuals will be explored, addressing a critical need identified in the literature. Since the project began in September 2010, 17 mobile home parks have sustained damages from the Spring 2011 flooding and flooding from Tropical Storm Irene destroying more than 150 homes. As a result of this current situation we are documenting the effects and impacts of these events, including providing documentation for the deconstruction of the destroyed mobile homes in partnership with the CVOEO Mobile Home Project, the Vermont Association of General Contractors, and the Lieutenant Governors Office. A number of possible research questions have been identified as a result of Irene during both the initial response and longer term recovery phases. We will work with a variety of partners and stakeholders to continue investigating the impacts of these events on Vermont mobile home parks throughout the next year. We have been providing data and information to Local Emergency Planning Committees through presentations as well as participating in conversations with affordable housing advocates and organizations. PARTICIPANTS: Daniel Baker, PhD, Principal Investigator. Dr. Baker has overseen all aspects of this research project including supervising the project staff and the development of the statewide survey of Vermonters and the statewide resident survey of mobile home park residents. He is also responsible for overseeing research methods, data analysis and dissemination of results through presentations and publications. Kelly Hamshaw, MS, Research Specialist. Ms. Hamshaw coordinates the day-to-day aspects of the research project, including managing communications, project logistics, development of survey instruments, and conducting fieldwork. She also provides supervision for the graduate research assistant and works closely with staff from the collaborating partner agency to develop the Building Resiliency Guides. Ms. Hamshaw also contributes to data analysis and dissemination of results. Jonathan Bond, BS, Graduate Research Assistant. Mr. Bond has been primarily responsible for managing and analyzing the data from the Vermonter Poll telephone survey and reviewing literature related to disasters and vulnerable populations. The Mobile Home Project at the Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity is a formal project partner to the UVM research team. Staff members at the Mobile Home Project have been developing the series of Building Resiliency Guides as well as assisting with the development of the statewide resident survey. TARGET AUDIENCES: Nothing significant to report during this reporting period. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: Nothing significant to report during this reporting period.
The flooding events of 2011 have illustrated the vulnerabilities of Vermont mobile home parks and this research project has been able to engage in the ongoing dialogue of how these communities recover from these events. Preliminary GIS analysis using the best available floodplain data shows that approximately 25 percent of Vermont mobile home parks are sited within 100 year floodplains, including 13 of the 15 parks that sustained heavy damages during Tropical Storm Irene. We will continue identifying other hazards to parks in Year 2 of this project. This hazard analysis should be of interest to a variety of stakeholders including, but not limited to, park residents, park owners, affordable housing advocates, local governments and state policymakers. We hope that this analysis will enable more proactive emergency planning and preparedness for mobile home park communities. We are also in the process of comparing statewide preparedness and that of mobile home park residents. The statewide survey (n=596) found that about 1/3 of respondents believed themselves to be prepared for an emergency. The remaining 2/3, while not assessing themselves as prepared did report activities that are generally recommended for disaster preparedness, e.g. 78% had enough food and water for at least 72 hours. The survey also found that prior to Tropical Storm Irene most Vermonters viewed flooding as an unlikely event relative to other potential disasters. In the Fall 2011 we are asking similar questions of mobile home park residents throughout the state and have currently completed more than 120 resident surveys. This survey activity is expected to be completed in Dec. 2011 and the analysis by Feb. 2012.
- Baker, D., K. Hamshaw, C. Beach. (2011) Facilitating Change in Rural Mobile Home Parks A Collaborative Action Research Approach. Journal of Rural and Community Development