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Sunrise Park: Rebuilding a Community

AARP Foundation grant helps prevent displacement

Sunrise Trailer Court, in the heart of Charlottesville, Virginia, was a mobile home park on its last legs. There were 16 units in a prime location, and developers were anxious to take it over, displace the elderly residents and redevelop the land.

Just as the residents were facing eviction, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville stepped in with a plan to redevelop without displacement. With the assistance of a $1,195,000 grant from AARP Foundation, supported by the John W. Kluge Foundation, Sunrise Trailer Court became Sunrise Park, a mixed-income, multi-generational community, complete with a community center and other gathering spaces to turn the area into a real neighborhood. The remaining residents of Sunrise Trailer Court were part of the new mix.

This video tells the story of how Sunrise Park came to be.

What's next? AARP Foundation has developed a resource guide (pdf, 21.2 MB) that, building on the lessons learned at Sunrise Park, offers tools and strategies enabling both organizations and individuals to transform mobile home parks into successful communities like Sunrise Park without displacing those who can least afford to be uprooted. And at a recent meeting hosted by the Foundation, executives from the top national nonprofit housing organizations came together to think collectively and collaboratively about solutions to the ongoing issue of inadequate housing, and how to create more affordable and sustainable housing for those most in need, particularly vulnerable seniors. Through such partnerships, more Sunrise Parks all around the nation may be just over the horizon, waiting to dawn.

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Programs & Services

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Housing Solutions Center

This program offers free HUD-certified counseling and assistance to 50-plus homeowners who are at risk of foreclosure. Go

AARP Tax Aide

AARP Foundation Tax-Aide

This program offers free assistance with tax-return preparation. Go

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AARP Benefits QuickLink

See if you qualify for public assistance and you can save money on health care, medication, food, utilities, and more! Go

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AARP Drive to End Hunger

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Older People And

Whether people 50+ own or rent, the repercussions from the recession are severe - abandoned neighborhoods, rent increases and a decrease in affordable, subsidized housing. Millions of homeowners can neither sell their homes nor receive approval to refinance their mortgages at today’s much lower interest rates. 



  • 19 million adults 50+ live in unaffordable or unsafe housing
  • Nearly 25% of household mortgages are underwater - meaning the mortgage is larger than the current value of the house.
  • Foreclosures have been at record levels.