Responding to a Community Crisis

A concerned citizen notified officials in the Prince William County zoning office that they felt there were building violations in the Marumsco Mobile Home Park. Because the County had received a complaint, they were obligated to investigate. In the end, the County levied 39 citations in the community of 45 homes. The violations were ones that had occurred primarily out of necessity…structures were added over the years that made the resident’s living arrangements more suitable to their family size or provided storage for the tools of their livelihoods. However, in many cases the structures were added after the flood plain was designated. And they were not allowable in the flood plain.

Families facing criminal charges

The County had to issue citations for the removal of the structures. Most of the violations were taken care of by the home owner’s themselves but a few residents needed help. Others were just at a loss for what to do as the additional space was vitally needed to make living in the community justifiable. Yet, anyone who hadn’t abated the violations by mid-December faced potential criminal violations with up to $2,500 in fines per occurrence or even possibly jail time.

The community responded

Woodbridge District Supervisor Frank Principi pulled together Habitat for Humanity Prince William County, VOICE, the Woodbridge Workers Committee and Grace Lutheran Church to work with the neighborhood and help them respond to the citations before criminal charges were assessed. The group organized numerous workdays in the community to help with demo and to build new 3 x 3 landings and steps into the homes as needed.

There was outstanding support for the project. Fifty-nine volunteers completed the tasks needed so that residents avoided citations and built new sheds outside of the flood plain, replacing the storage the families lost. They worked 569 hours over five weeks on the effort.

Thank you for your support. Let’s move on to the next steps

Twenty-two sheds are now in place. But, this community still faces tough times. The owner of the property plans to redevelop the land in two to five years. Finding affordable housing is a major new concern for the residents of this community. Habitat plans to continue its support for the family’s in this neighborhood by helping them find new housing.

Your donations make work like this possible. If you are able, please send a check to Habitat for Humanity Prince William County, P.O. Box 3111, Manassas, VA, 20108 or give online at www.habitatpwc.org/give. Your donation will be used for all of our projects in the community in the coming year.

Your support helps families achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves.

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