Standing up for water quality in mobile home parks
One of the many noteworthy findings from our 2022 Colorado Latino Policy Agenda annual survey was that almost 40% of residents in mobile home parks do not believe their water is safe for drinking.
As a result, and in keeping with our goals for using the policy agenda to help inform our legislative efforts, Voces Unidas Action Fund has identified legislation to address Water Quality in Mobile Home Parks as one of our Tier 1 priorities in the Colorado General Assembly this year.
Final details of the bill, which is expected to be co-sponsored by Reps. Elizabeth Velasco (HD57, which includes Eagle, Garfield and Pitkin counties) and Andrew Boesenecker (HD53, which includes Larimer County) are still being ironed out, but our view on it is simple: Every Coloradan deserves access to clean water.
Unfortunately, that is not always the case for residents of mobile home parks, which are disproportionately home to Latinos, veterans, seniors living on fixed incomes and people with disabilities.
Residents of mobile home parks have been voicing concerns over the quality of their water for quite some time, and those concerns have largely gone unheard despite filing formal complaints.
This issue is about justice for us. Mobile home parks are still -- in some cases -- the most affordable type of unsubsidized form of housing for residents who lack alternative housing options. But water quality in many mobile home parks is poor - often bad tasting and smelling, causing skin rashes and damaging appliances.
The issue is also personal and well-known to those of us who work at Voces Unidas who grew up in mobile home parks and have friends and family who live in them today.
In fact, Rep. Velasco said her experiences growing up in mobile home parks and serving as a translator when park residents were told that it was safe to drink red water that ruined appliances and stained clothes informed her decision to sponsor the bill. She understands that there are many barriers of access for our community, and water quality should not be one of them.
One challenge with addressing the issue is that most of the parks in Colorado are privately owned and do not qualify for publicly funded grants or loans. As such, it will take cooperation from park owners, local governments and the state to find long-term solutions.
We intend to be a leader in that effort, and will keep you updated on this top-priority legislation as it works its way through the Capitol. You can also follow its progress as well as see where lawmakers from the central-mountain region stand on the issue on our website.