Groundbreaking for program that replaces trailers with houses

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MOUNT VERNON, Ky. — The goal of replacing old, dilapidated manufactured housing units with homes that appreciate in value and meet or exceed local building codes is closer to becoming a reality.

The Kentucky Highlands Community Development Corporation’s ROOTS initiative (Recycling Our Outdated Trailer Sites) broke ground Tuesday for three new homes on a site in Rockcastle County that had 21 single-wide rental sites.

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Through its partner Highlands Housing Corporation, it will redevelop a portion of the community by replacing those units with homes built on site. 

Kentucky Highlands says the initiative could become a statewide or national model for attacking a huge problem without needing a large federal investment. In Kentucky, there are more than 49,000 mobile homes currently occupied that were built before 1980.

The redevelopment plans will include de-commissioning as many as five of the old single-wide units and constructing eight new energy-efficient homes that meet local building codes and Energy Star rated.

Some of the families will be moving from pre-1976 trailers, which are notoriously expensive to heat and cool. Homebuyers often find that their monthly mortgage, interest, taxes and insurance plus utility costs are far lower than their rent plus utility costs had been.  

The project is funded through grant funds from JP Morgan Chase and Rural LISC. Other partners are Tamara Cox, Daniel Boone Community Action Agency; Community Ventures; Mount Vernon Mayor Michael Bryant; FAHE; MACED; Appalachian Community Federal Credit Union; Doug Gooch and Marty Spears, AGE Engineering, Stanford, Ky.; Jace Burris, JCB Architects; Cumberland Valley ADD; Brownfield Project; Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati; and Jackson Energy.