Second-to-Last of the Great Heights Trailer Parks

SECOND-TO-LAST OF THE GREAT HEIGHTS TRAILER PARKS One of the last two trailer parks left in the Heights may not last much longer. Marian Floyd, owner of the Floyd Trailer Park — camped on a double-wide lot a couple properties west of Studewood on 9th St. since 1972 — has been having a tough time keeping up with rising property taxes. “Floyd said she needs to make a living, and she’s not willing to kick out her residents. She knows they don’t have much money, so she’s kept rent low over the years. But as property values — and the taxes she has to pay — have soared, Floyd has struggled to make ends meet. Between 2004 and 2008, the value of the park’s land soared from about $155,000 to $362,600, according to county records. . . . When Floyd threatened to close the park last month, the residents offered to pay more rent. Gloria Aguilar who lives in a nearby trailer with her husband and three children said she’d pay $300 per month instead of $200. Carlos Salgado, who lives with three friends, offered $300 instead of $225. Gutierrez, too, said she’d pay more. The landlord relented. But the trailer park’s residents worry for the future.” [Houston Chronicle]

60 Comment

  • and everybody knows how you can never have enough trailer parks or being able to live in the Heights for $300 a month.

    I wonder how much the trailer park on 22nd across from Cedar Creek is worth?

  • Will the people championing help to the Wilshire Village Apartment residents show the same outrage? Let’s see….

  • At least one of those trailers was lost to fire last month and there is no sign of it being replaced. I also noticed there was a big yardwork cleanup a couple of months back after which it looked like they showed the property at least unofficially.

  • From kjb434:

    Will the people championing help to the Wilshire Village Apartment residents show the same outrage? Let’s see….
    I’m not sure how the situations are similar beyond the fact that folks may have to move. But the trailer park residents apparently know their situation. They know who their landlord is. The landlord does not appear to be using the fire department as a tool to evict. Since they haven’t been asked to move yet, we don’t know if they will be given less than a month’s notice to vacate, as the Wilshire Apartment folks were initially were.

    Look, there is a good way to close down a rental situation and a bad way. One aspect of the “good way” is to keep renters in the loop. Apparently Floyd has done this. This was not the case at Wilshire, where the owner evidently tried to hide the fact that the had bought the apartments from the tenants.

    I’m sorry that Floyd’s tenants may have to move, but at least they are prepared for the possibility and because of Floyd’s openness, tried to work out a solution with him. Floyd seems like one hell of a decent person, based on the article. I don’t see any particular slime-baggery here, unlike the Wilshire Apartments situation.

  • if i had the money i would love to buy this property and put a trailer on the lot for myself since my search for a reasonable residence in the lower heights isn’t bringing up many options. if it ever reaches the point where you have to raise the rent too high for the current residents you could easily turn it into a trailer park for the hipsters that will be slowly moving out of the montrose as it continues it’s steady path to suckage.

  • These people don’t seem to be ready to move since there are huge costs associated with moving a mobile home especially one located within an urban setting.

    Their rents on the land are extremely low and it needs to be considered that the trailers themselves are probably paid for.

    I put these residents in the same category as the Wilshire ones. Although the trailer park residents have some warning with the situation, the ability to cough up more money to avoid the move shows that they want to stay. Maybe if Floyd sells the lot, she can disperse some money to the residents to assist in moving the mobile homes. Financially Floyds get put in a good situation and the residents don’t have to take the cost of moving their homes.

  • ^True – I bet most of the rent is for land only and the trailers are owned by the tenants. Moving a trailer (to where?) that’s been sitting in the same place for 25+ years in some cases would probably be unfeasible (physically and financially).

    Like RWB mentioned, though, Floyd is communicating with her tenants – it will become a Wilshire Village situation (minus the large percentage of elderly residents) when Floyd passes away (I think she’ll hold on to the property as long as possible) and a developer eventually buys it (is there another Floyd family member willing to take over?).

  • Like i have said before. These type of renters needs to leave the Heights. Not all of us are hipster liberals who love history and coffee.

  • I doubt the people living in the trailers are “hipster liberals who love coffee”. they are probably low or fixed incomers who hang out at Jimmy’s Ice House.

  • Lauren,

    I’ve seen an old trailer park go through this in my home town. It isn’t pretty. The value of the property is in the land. If the trailer can’t be moved for one reason or another, the owner pretty much just loses it since it likely doesn’t have much value sell either. Mobile homes depreciate fast. It’s a hairy situation and a reason mobile homes are mostly a bad investment for any owner as a primary residence.

    If these homes still have their tires and wheels on them, they’ll have to get new ones since they are likely dry rotted. Newer mobile homes don’t keep wheels and new ones are provided in a moving operation and then taken away again.

  • The residents are mostly families with young kids who seem to try and do their best with very little although there have been one of two exceptions in the last few years who have been somewhat less than pillars of society. I have to hope that the renters own the trailers. If they don’t then Floyd has not been the philanthropist that the article makes out. There appears to have been little to no maintenance on any of the trailers in the last couple of decades.

  • This is pure free market economics. The property should be owned by whoever values it the most. Additionally, there are plenty of low income areas near the Heights for these people.

  • Jimbo wrote: “I have to hope that the renters own the trailers. If they don’t then Floyd has not been the philanthropist that the article makes out.”
    The article is a little vague on that. It does say “Gutierrez’s trailer at the Floyd mobile home park in Houston Heights is worth $2,500. But she still feels at home.” which sort of implies that Lourdes owns her trailer without coming out directly and saying it.

  • The property should be owned by whoever owns it regardless of how much they value it.

    And if you watch the news (other than Fox), you might see that free market economics doesn’t always work so well. I am all for free market with some heart and soul added, but I am an idealist.

  • In free markets, you idealism needs to be checked in at the door. It’s all Darwinism from that point. It’s also the reason for existence of charities.

  • From Bagby3365:
    Like i have said before. These type of renters needs to leave the Heights. Not all of us are hipster liberals who love history and coffee.
    March 25, 2009 at 10:35 am

    Bagby, I am not familiar with the renters (other than most are hispanic families) – could you please explain what “types” they are?

    Fwiw, HCAD shows that a few of the renters do own the trailers.

  • Lauren, Places like this trailer park have no place in the Heights anymore. The reason I dont mind paying rising taxes is because of reasons like this, Cortlandt getting curbed, and the Hike and Bike Trail. The City is really taking notice to the money us Heights folks are throwing in. There plenty of places for these families to go, but lets get real here, a trailer park does not belong next to upscale restaurants and $ 500 k homes. I just hope within 5 years that half of the apartment complexes are gone.

  • Good luck with waiting for the apartment complexes to come down. In the current economy rents are likely to stay relatively high and thos eproperties are likely to stay profitable. Unless an owner is losing money hand over fist on an apartment building they are unlikely to let it go.

    Anyway, I like them. There are a few that could warrant a little maintenance but otherwise I prefer them to the million dollar mcmansions. BTW I am also a liberal who likes coffee, not a hipster, and I don’t like the curbing of Cortlandt

  • Bagby, your comments are quite horrible.

    Who are you to judge who lives within the neighborhood? As long as Floyd can maintain the tax payments (which seem to be the biggest burden) and the residents can afford the rent to maintain those payments, they have every right to stay there. Not liking the look of the place or the people is not a reason for them to move.

    This is actually at the heart of why I love Houston and I love the fact that we don’t have zoning or strict planning guidelines. Floyd has a right to maintain the property she sees fit.

    There are several apartment complexes sprinkled throughout the heights that house people that you say don’t fit in with the new residents of the heights. Should they be “suggested” to move because they don’t fit in?

    This trailer park is no different than an apartment complex and the owner of this trailer park has decided to try to stick it out and maintain the property as is.

  • Oh, and I’m a conservative who doesn’t drink coffee and I’m the farthest thing from a hipster.

  • These types of McMansion owners need to leave the Heights. Not all of us are snooty, racist, bigots, that judge our neighbors by the color of their skin, ethnicity, or size of their house. We know the history of the Hungry Heights. And accepted before moving here that lower income folks were here long before the people that prove you can buy wealth but not class moved in.

    Bagby, you are a bigger embarrassment to the neighborhood than any trailer park.

  • Fortunately, Bagby is the exception rather than the rule in the Heights. If you don’t want to live near anyone that doesn’t look like you, get a house with mirrored walls and stay in it.

  • Yes they (apartments) were here before me. But people were there before them, and the Heights on record became the scum of Houston neighborhoods. The majority of these people are hard working individuals just like myself and you are correct, I have no right to tell them where to live. it is never easy when a neighborhood is turning and the trailer parks are struggling, Im sure the people in the old homes were struggling too before the developers kicked them out and built these trailer parks and apartments. its a vicous cycle.

  • Bagby,

    Remember, developers don’t kick anyone out of their house. The person owned the property, then they sold it to the developer.

    If the person rented, then their landlord at worst case through them out.

    If there is a culprit, it’s the state laws governing residential real estate appraisals. The last Harris County Tax Assessor (Paul Bettancourt) had a pretty good bill he sent to Austin which would have addressed a situation just like what is happening to this trailer park and many long time homeowners in the heights. It would have prevented property taxes from skyrocketing on residents through simple re-appraisals.

  • Matters not a jot Bagby. As I mentioned before those apartments will mostly be turning a sensible profit every year for the owners. Even if they changed owners the new owner would likely not change the land useage. They would likely only come down if a very major repair cost came up that the owner couldn’t cover.

  • As long as the owner is both fair and upfront with her tenants, I’m not sure “outrage” is warranted. Sympathy, absolutely -it was heartbreaking to uproot my grandparents, sell their beloved little home of forty-plus years and move them closer to the family, but it was the only thing we could do in 1985 as there were no home care services in their town. No one enjoys having to leave a place he or she has happily called home, whether owned or leased. In this case, the owner sounds like she’s willing to negotiate out of sympathy to her tenants and has given indication, at least from the article, that she will follow up on what she has said. No duplicity, no “hot potato” owner/manager/whatever. If the land will indeed be sold to an entity not interested in keeping the current usage, she needs to give her tenants proper legal notice. If she gives additional time to allow for difficulty in relocating due to personal circumstances of her tenants, bless her for being a decent human being.

    If some of the trailers are owned, that could get sticky. I would hope that the owner entered into some sort of separate agreement regarding payment of fair market value for the dwelling in the event the land it rests on is sold.

  • If the lot is sold, the issue of what to do with the trailers isn’t necessarily complicated. It’s the execution and whether the owners can execute it.

    If the trailer is owned by the resident, then they need to move it to a new site if a new property owner wants to change the land use. If the trailer is owned by Ms. Floyd, then it’ll likely get sold with the property if that ever happens.

  • Bagby,

    Perhaps you’d be more at home in River Oaks or West U. It makes no sense to move into a diverse area such as the Heights and then complain about the people that were there before you. The Heights is what it is because of it’s diversity (yes, that includes trailer parks) and not inspite of it. It will be a sad day when all the old Heights homes are gone and we have nothing but three-story townhouses.

    I don’t know what street you happen to live on, but I’m glad it’s not mine.

  • I live in that trailer park. (private trashy joke between me and Bagby)

    You know, I hardly even noticed that the trailer park was there. It just blends right in with the many other styles, brands, colors, textures, etc. that make up the Heights.

    Hey Gus, you think about calling this the HeightsLot? Or maybe starting a Heights only page. We don’t like to mix with others. :)

  • I got what Bagby meant by his/her/it’s post and didn’t take offense to it, nor should any of you. Gawd people get over the political correctness. I can’t think of anyone with a good grasp of real estate common sense that would want a trailer park in close proximity to their house. Also, shame on anyone who thinks it’s perfectly fine to raise your children in a damn trailer park. There are too many clueless sheeple in this day and age that expect to be able to go through life never attempting to improve themselves, content to just get by and when they are older, expect the gubmint to take care of them. You always strive to provide the best possible environment for your children to grow up around. We are all products of our environment to a certain degree.

    Nothing Bagby posted made him/her/it out to be racist or bigoted. I stopped being amazed at how leftists always assume because someone portends to not agree with leftist thinking, that they are somehow racist and bigoted. Other than practicing nazis and skinheads, many so called leftists are some of the most racist people I’ve ever run across in modern years. Also, refusing to dance to the politically correct drumbeat does not make one racist.

    There are always people with disabilities or learning disorders that will be at a disadvantage and there are numerous programs for those segments of society. Government is not the end all be all for those that will not pick themselves up by the bootstraps and make a better life for themselves. This country was founded on that type of logic. There are plenty of lower income areas around Houston where trailer parks co-exist with their surroundings. However, in an inner city area where property values continue to climb, it’s a pretty good probability that sooner or later, a $2500 trailer ain’t gonna have a place to chill.

  • CK said, “gubmint” in describing people he seems to deem unworthy. CK, really, you don’t see how incredibly offensive that is?

    Nevermind, I am just sick to death of people like you thinking that you get to determine what and who is valuable and what/who is not. People like you sadden me because you suffer more than we do with your venom. You scare me if you are in a position to act on your narcissism. I pray you are not.

    Sorry guys, I can’t stand racism that calls itself freedom of speech.

  • CK,

    My objection to Bagby was he was saying now that the new homes and residents are there the trailer park residents must go.

    If these residents leave the area because the lot is sold, so be it. It’s the natural process for gentrification and re-development.

    If neighbors put pressures on residents to leave an are just because they don’t like them, that’s another story.

    Personally, I don’t like the trailer park. But if I’m gong to be consistent on the property rights theme is discuss in comments, then I can’t be for the position that Ms. Floyd must change the property or has to sell.

  • EMME,

    I don’t particularly think that Bagby’s comments were racists. I’ll have to go back and check to see if he actually stated any ethnicity.

    He did state “these people.” But that can me anything from race to difference socio-economic status.

    If I was to make an assumption about trailer park residents race, it would have to default to them being Caucasian. They are the the largest users of mobile homes in the US and also comprise of the largest poor or poverty sector of the US. They are also the large receivers of government welfare.

    So to jump to race is a bit quick for anyone.

    As I always believe, the assumption of racism always tell more about the accuser than the accused. Same goes for acusations of bigots.

  • That rant was to CK, not Bagby.

  • As kjb434 pointed out “there are huge costs associated with moving a mobile home especially one located within an urban setting.” I know no one there and am not privy to any arrangements, but given the expense mentioned and the condition that a decades-old mobile building is likely to arrive in upon relocation, I hope some resolution can be worked out for those who own.

    Houston trailer parks are in some surprising places. There is a thriving one on Wakefield between Oak Forest and Garden Oaks that didn’t look too odd until the new luxury house construction started.

  • EMME,

    I know, but bagby kind of started the more passionate talking on this topic.

    CK to some extent said what I just said albeit in a more emotion filled way.

  • kjb, you did not use derogatory, stereotyping speech patterns to describe races of people or even those unfortunates that were not graced with as good of an education as some of us using the following – “There are too many clueless sheeple in this day and age that expect to be able to go through life never attempting to improve themselves, content to just get by and when they are older, expect the gubmint to take care of them.”

    That is what I find offensive. You can boil my blood sometimes, but I don’t recall you using such derogatory terms. Expressing oneself as a reasonable adult is never offensive, even if I vehemently disagree with your points. That I respect.

    Off my soapbox now, I have expressed myself in not so reasonable of a manner.

    Lets get back to real estate.

  • Where’s that dry/wet line now?

    When is 11th Kroger starting?

    P.S. Get ready for next year when Yale Street from I-10 to the North Loop is torn up.

  • EMME I appreciate your intentions but I’m afraid the trailer park does not blend in, particularly in the 10 days running up to heavy trash day when the stack of old furniture and other detritus pretty commonly fills the drainage ditch and goes several feet further up. This is especially fun when it coincides with a heavy rain. It also didn’t really blend in when there was a guy in one of the back trailers chaining emaciated pits outside. Don’t get me wrong, I will be a little sad if it goes. However the only way it blends in is if you view it all the way from ESH.

  • I am ready for that to happen on N. Main between 20th and the North Loop. Once it is complete, it will greatly aesthetics.

    I think that you can get liquor at Studemont and east.

  • gotcha Jimbo, it is easy for it to blend in when you are driving down Studemont at 50 mph in the center lane. Everything is a blur then. :) People that don’t live close probably don’t mind the blue bar on N. Main at 25th like I do. So, I understand your point.

  • The Heights Liquor divide runs north south a few blocks west of stude. the west edge of Onion Creek’s lot coincides with the divide.

  • Hey Bagby, folks like you are pretty much the reason why life inside the loop sucks these days. The neighborhoods used to be pretty pleasant until all the re-development and gentrification set in.

    Personally, I’m happy to see the brakes get put on all the development… most all of the stuff built is crap anyway.

    We haven’t had peace and quiet around this neighborhood, the 019, for years. I’d be happy not to see another cheeseball POS spec home go up for a couple years, at least.

  • I see the dry/wet boundary has been fully discussed in the “Wet n Wild” thread – apologies. But to close the loop on the digression, I offer that the trailer park is in the wet part of the Heights. Maybe it could become a bar?

  • Stop the presses, I agree with one of kjb434’s posts (1:11 pm)!
    I love the diversity that Houston’s lack of zoning encourages. The block of 24 properties on which I live was first built on in the 1930s. Most of the 30s and 40s houses are still here, but there are also a couple of $750K new constructions as well as a small apartment complex in the middle of the block and a commercial business property on the corner. We have single stories and two stories; owners and renters; whites, blacks, Hispanics, and Asians; 20-somethings through 70-somethings; straights and gays; singles, couples, single moms with kids, nuclear families, multigenerational families; you name it.
    It makes me ill to drive through the canyonland that Montrose has become. I love finding the quirky things about Houston, like a trailer park hidden in the middle of a block of yuppie new construction, or stumbling across a horse pasture in the middle of the city.
    Somebody up there mentioned a taco truck. I successfully used my rudimentary Spanglish skills this weekend to order quesadillas de pastor at a taco truck parked in the Fiesta lot. I remembered to pipe up with “maiz” before she filled the flour tortillas she was about to give this gringo.
    I wish everyone who wants to turn Houston into Manhattan or Chicago would just go back to wherever they came from. Some of us like it here for what it is.

  • Emme – According to your distorted line of thinking, the slang term “gubmint” is “incredibly offensive”?
    [CK said, “gubmint” in describing people he seems to deem unworthy. CK, really, you don’t see how incredibly offensive that is?

    Nevermind, I am just sick to death of people like you thinking that you get to determine what and who is valuable and what/who is not. People like you sadden me because you suffer more than we do with your venom. You scare me if you are in a position to act on your narcissism. I pray you are not.

    Sorry guys, I can’t stand racism that calls itself freedom of speech.]

    And , because I used the term “gubmint”, that means I’m also a racist? Since I make a statement that promotes personal responsibility, your twisted logic equates that to mean I’m a VENOMOUS RACIST! She shouts at the top of her lungs. People that espouse personal responsibility sadden you. Awww, that just breaks my heart. Why is it that whenever some leftist like you responds to a conservative that doesn’t agree with your views, you immediately have to jump to slanderous, inaccurate, baseless temper tantrums and accuse the conservative of being a racist and a bigot? Whatever happened to normal communication and cognitive reasoning abilities? Oh that’s right, to a stereotypical leftist, it’s all about “feelings”, not common sense.

    You have no clue as to what I am like, but in your mind it’s ok to jump to accusing me of being a racist and a bigot because I used the term “gubmint”. I could care less if someone is purple or has stripes and polkadots. People are people and everyone is different. That’s what makes the US a great place. No one is the same. That’s why socialism doesn’t work. Not everyone is the same. However, one of the fundamental foundations of this country is personal responsibility. Why should someone be able to just skate by in life, never really applying themselves to any significant degree and expect to be able to continuously live in one of the most expensive areas of town? Are the rest of us supposed to pick up the slack and pay for them to live in the expensive area that we pay to live in? No one is making them stay or move. No one is saying, “You have to move, or else”. No one on this thread advocated forcing the people in the trailer park to move. Market forces and economics will dictate what happens to those who choose not to help themselves. There are plenty of less expensive areas where people (of any color) can afford to live where they won’t have to move out of their comfort zone to survive. The last thing I am going to do is dictate what someone else has to do. Last time I checked, this is a free country. People can do pretty much what they want, as long as it’s legal. On the other hand, people that always choose the path of least resistance, probably aren’t going provide the best lifestyle for themselves and their family. There are always going to be members of society that are disabled or mentally incapable of helping themselves and in the US, charitable organizations, governmental entities and religious organizations all chip in to help those in need. It is not, however, the “gubmint’s” job to provide for those able bodied members of society that choose not to help themselves and expect entitlements from the “gubmint”.

    In real estate, like many other industries, market forces and economics determine what goes on. Rising land values (and the resulting property tax valuations) will eventually determine for the people in those inner city trailer parks where they can AFFORD to live. There won’t be some evil conservative telling them where they can or cannot live. Of course there will always be misguided individuals that prefer to throw unfounded accusations around to place blame where it doesn’t belong.

  • Something tells me those trailers wouldn’t survive a move anyhow. I rollerblade by them regularly, and they look really decrepit to me. I suspect there are an abundance of fire hazards and other conditions that are deemed unsafe for living, but of course its a Catch-22 if you try to get a city inspector there: one argument is you’re trying to make life safer for the folks, the other side says you’re forcing them out knowing they can’t afford repairs themselves.
    I don’t know of anyone who actually likes these places, but I think most like myself understand why places like this exist in the Heights and recognize that the economics of a changing neighborhood dictates places like these will disappear in due time.

  • I feel like everybody is pulling the race or gay card these days.What ever happened to being accountable for ones actions based on you, rather than the color of your skin or sexual preference. Quanell X is the most racist person in Houston and I would like to see anyone say otherwise.

    Most of you love Obama, so take some notes and start listening to what he is preaching…be accountable for youself and stop blaming others. This country is full of sheep, I’d rather be a wolf.

  • Whoa. Can we all take a deep breath and stick with real estate?

  • Apologies for the diatribe. Standing down now.

  • I love this thread – the interesting facts, the intelligent opinions, the emotions, the human-ness!
    People need to GENERALIZE to simplify & order a vast world of experience. But nothing general is actually specific. For example, economic trends are generalizations: so they are wrong & misleading as much as they are correct & predictable! If my toaster was that half-axxed I’d throw it out.
    But be careful generalizing people, People, lest ye be generalized.
    And on that note,
    Is it just my perception or do trailer-homes generate a disproportionate amount of physical trash?

  • Actually Bagby I believe the most racist person in Houston is an office about 3 doors down from mine. But who know, I could be wrong.

    And CK, having watched the new owners of one of those trailers spend weeks repairing it and cleaning it up using only free materials they could salvage I would pause before describing them as “skating by in life, never really applying themselves to any significant degree”. Not everyone who is poor is poor because they didn’t work hard enough in the same way that not everyone who is rich deserves to be rich. OK, putting my soapbox away now.

  • OK, Jimbo, gotta bite…what is up with the office 3 doors down from you?

  • Those trailers are probably not owned by the renters, but the owner of the trailer park. Those are the kinds of trailers that are moved onto a property and never leave it.

  • Long story best not resurrected

  • I’m not sure how many trailers are on the property (five maybe?) and HCAD lists separate owners for five different trailers – it evens list the year/make/color/size/2008 appraisal:

    -1981 Contempri (white), 14×50, $4859
    -1964 Fleetwood (white), 10×50, $2168
    -1970 Fontana (white/black), 14×60, $4496
    -1979 Melody (cream/green), 14×70, $5000
    -1970 Midland Toledo (blue/white), 12×50, $3058

  • I realize that attempts were made to get this conversation back on track, but I just want to take a sec to agree with Emme’s assertion that CK’s use of the term “gubmint” was at the very least racially or culturally insensitive and offensive. CK did not seem to get the message the first time. I will not spell out the reason why the use of this term in this context above was offensive, because I imagine CK knew exactly what he/she was implying. I would also like to point out here that both of CK’s lengthy, derisive and divisive posts were completely off-topic. What, exactly, does Floyd’s trailer park have to do with socialism? It appears to me that CK will take any opportunity to name call and espouse his/her political opinions, regardless of how inflammatory, inappropriate, and unwelcome (to me, at least) they may be. There. Done.

  • Are we in Austin?

  • Wow… what a dialogue this has been. Guess some need to be reminded that these folks have lived in the ‘hood longer than you. I have to say to all who find the trailers offensive – don’t build next to them – piece of cake… Gentrification sounds elegant but it’s again the case where Wealth moves into a neighborhood that was once diverse and funky and simply ruins it for the rest of us who lived here when it wasn’t “The Prime Location”. I’m saddened by the odd lots moving into the Heights with these McMansions and killing the area for everyone who doesn’t have an income to support their homes anymore. Why can’t you folks with half a million to burn build a bungalow and try and at least fit in a little bit with the neighborhood???

  • Does anyone know if the trailer park is still open or if they closed it?