Film, panel discussion highlight struggle for mobile home park residents' rights – telegraphherald.com

Science & Technology

Iowa Rep. Lindsay James, D-Dubuque (right), listens as Karla Krapfl (left) speaks during a panel discussion following the screening of “A Decent Home” Sunday at the Hotel Julien Dubuque during the Julien Dubuque International Film Festival. Krapfl is president of the Table Mound Neighborhood Association.
Iowa Rep. Brian Lohse, R-Bondurant (left) discusses recently state legislation about protections for mobile home residents while filmmaker Sara Terry listens Sunday at the Hotel Julien Dubuque during the Julien Dubuque International Film Festival.

Iowa Rep. Lindsay James, D-Dubuque (right), listens as Karla Krapfl (left) speaks during a panel discussion following the screening of “A Decent Home” Sunday at the Hotel Julien Dubuque during the Julien Dubuque International Film Festival. Krapfl is president of the Table Mound Neighborhood Association.
Iowa Rep. Brian Lohse, R-Bondurant (left) discusses recently state legislation about protections for mobile home residents while filmmaker Sara Terry listens Sunday at the Hotel Julien Dubuque during the Julien Dubuque International Film Festival.
A documentary detailing what California filmmaker Sara Terry described as a threat to “the lowest rung of the American Dream” tells a story that Karla Krapfl knows from experience.
Terry’s “A Decent Home” documents what happens to residents of mobile home parks in Colorado and Iowa after large corporations and private equity firms purchase the parks from longtime owners. In most states, although residents own the mobile homes, they pay rent on the land those homes sit upon.
A panel discussion featuring Terry, Krapfl, other mobile home park residents and state lawmakers followed a screening of “A Decent Home” Sunday — the final day of the Julien Dubuque International Film Festival.
Krapfl said out-of-state corporate ownership has cast doubt upon the permanency of her longtime home and those of her neighbors.
“We go to bed at night not knowing if (the park owners) are going to sell the park,” said Krapfl, president of the Table Mound Neighborhood Association. “We don’t know if it’s going to be ripped out from underneath us. That’s what we’re living with day to day.”
A Colorado-based company, Impact MHC Management LLC, bought Table Mound mobile home park in 2017. Residents reported that the company began raising rent rapidly — a business practice examined in Terry’s film. Krapfl’s rent has nearly doubled since 2017.
Krapfl said many of the park’s longtime residents on fixed incomes have struggled in the wake of lot rent increases.
“These people need our help,” she said. “I know a gentleman who is buying two weeks’ worth of medicine and making it stretch four weeks.”
Terry’s film looks at steps taken in the Iowa Legislature to address issues facing mobile-home park residents.
Iowa Rep. Lindsay James, D-Dubuque, discussed recent legislation.
“We have passed some provisions in a bill that went through the Legislature in the House recently and the Senate this past week to address some of the challenges that our residents in mobile homes face, one of which was an increase in notification of when (park owners) are going to hike rent,” James said. “While that was a good step forward, it simply was not enough to solve this issue of these out-of-state, private equity firms coming in and price gouging.”
James negotiated the House bill with Iowa Rep. Brian Lohse, R-Bondurant. Lohse joined the panel discussion on Sunday and talked about balancing property-owning interests.
“This isn’t just (the park owners’) private property, this is also the private property of the residents,” Lohse said. “It’s also about how do we make sure that residents are able to make choices with respect to their property in the same way that the park owner does about their property. It is a difficult balance.”
Terry said one of the goals of her film was to focus on the people impacted by the issue, not politics.
“We’re trying to take the conversation out of the political realm,” Terry said.
Krapfl agreed that the issue transcends Republican and Democratic politics.
“It’s not a red or blue issue — it’s a people issue,” she said.
{{description}}
Email notifications are only sent once a day, and only if there are new matching items.
Sorry, an error occurred.

Sign up with

Thank you .
Your account has been registered, and you are now logged in.
Check your email for details.
Invalid password or account does not exist
Sign in with
Submitting this form below will send a message to your email with a link to change your password.
An email message containing instructions on how to reset your password has been sent to the e-mail address listed on your account.

Secure & Encrypted
Secure transaction. Cancel anytime.

Thank you.
Your purchase was successful, and you are now logged in.
A receipt was sent to your email.

source