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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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