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Abandoned Mobile Homes Litter NC Landscape Despite State Effort

Steve Partridge

North Carolina is littered with tens of thousands of abandoned mobile homes. And a UNC researcher says a state program designed to get rid of these eyesores has barely made a dent in the problem.

North Carolina implemented its Abandoned Manufactured Homes Program in 2009. Since then, it’s removed fewer than 600 mobile homes out of more than 109,000. The majority of that activity took place in just five counties.  


“Although the program was well intentioned, there was never enough money in it to match the scale of the problem,” said Brian Dabson, a research fellow at UNC Chapel Hill.


Dabson recently wrote a blog post analyzing the shortfalls of the program. One of those shortfalls, according to Dabson, is that funding for the program has been on a downward trajectory for the past decade.


Last year, the state allocated $35,500 for projects, which is enough to remove about 17 homes.

These abandoned properties are eyesores that can make it hard for rural towns to attract investment, according to Dabson. But they also give a bad name to one of the most effective forms of affordable housing.

“It’s really hard for us to think about them positively when we’re faced with all these abandoned wrecks around the place,” Dabson said.


The problem will most likely get worse before it gets better, according to Dabson. That's because an estimated 200,000 mobile homes are in such poor condition they may soon be deserted as well.


James Morrison is a national award-winning broadcast reporter with more than seven years experience working in radio and podcasts. His work has been featured on NPR, Marketplace, Here & Now and multiple other radio outlets and podcasts. His reporting focuses on environmental and health issues, with a focus on the opioid epidemic and sustainable food systems. He was recognized with a national award for a story he reported for NPR on locally-sourced oyster farming. He also received a national award for his daily news coverage of firefighters killed in the line of duty. A podcast he produced about the fall of Saigon during the Vietnam War was accepted into the Hearsay International Audio Arts Festival.
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