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Displaced trailer park residents find housing with help from Moab community

Posted at 5:14 PM, Jun 27, 2024

MOAB, Utah — In her 24 years living in Moab, Sara Melnicoff has fought to keep the city livable for everyone.

“It's very sad, because I think we're all woven together in humanity,” she said. “People deserve to have a safe, clean, healthy place to live.”

While many were devastated for the Walnut Lane Mobile Home Park residents who were given two months to abandon their trailers and move out, the Executive Director of Moab Solutions tries to see it as a good thing.

“I was happy, because people are living in situations that no human should live in,” said Melnicoff. “These places should have been condemned decades ago, but nobody wanted to do that. Nobody wanted to enforce any kind of, whatever minimal standards there are for housing because, where would they go?”

The City of Moab bought the mobile home park in 2018, with the intent of turning it into an affordable housing development. Six years later, there’s no development and no plan in sight.

City officials claim they were notified in March that their insurer was no longer going to cover the mobile home park. Only a couple families remain in the park, said Melnicoff. Community members offered less expensive, or shared housing options to them.

“This community is a very, very special place, and no matter the divides on certain lines, people come together to help people in need,” she said.

Other residents have left town.

“Green River and Monticello are where people some people relocate, and prices are going to start going up there, too,” said Melnicoff. “We have to rethink everything, and that's why I think it's really important that this land and this place get developed into apartments that people can afford.”

Although the city was sensitive to the situation, giving all the residents $10,000 for getting out by June 30, Melnicoff is skeptical that they will follow through on their promise to build affordable housing for the workers who keep Moab running.

“I don't have a lot of trust," she said, "because right now the billionaires are displacing the millionaires here, and this is all considered the riff-raff, and they want to get rid of the riff-raff.”

A city official says they will be putting out a final update on the Walnut Lane relocation process in the next week or so.