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Salvador Alverez sits in his rented home in Frontier Land trailer park, checking his phone while waiting to go to work in Gunnison, Colorado on Aug. 25, 2023. Residents of the mobile home park were notified July 25 they would have to move by Sept. 1. The current owner will remove the trailers and put in new ones. (Dean Krakel, Special to The Colorado Sun)

A community already grappling with very slim pickings for affordable rentals is pulling together to house 50 or so low-income workers and children who are suddenly being displaced from a trailer park. 

The City of Gunnison, Gunnison County, the Gunnison Valley Regional Housing Authority, the towns of Crested Butte and Mt. Crested Butte, and a web of local service organizations have been working together for the past several weeks to find housing for the residents of the Frontier Land mobile home park.  

The residents of the park — most of them who speak only Spanish or Cora, an indigenous language of Mexico — were notified recently that they had to move out by September. The surprising announcement came just as school is beginning for the many kids in the park, and as returning university students are squeezing an already tight rental market with a vacancy rate that overs around 1%. 

“We have everybody covered as of today,” housing authority executive director Andy Kadlec said Wednesday after a community meeting with Frontier Land residents. “This Gunnison community is more interconnected and resilient than some people know.” 

The housing emergency came to light after the residents of the ramshackle Frontier Land mobile home park returned home from jobs July 25 to find notices posted on their rented trailers stating that they would have to vacate the park in just over a month. The park has long been home to workers from Mexico, particularly Cora who have come to Gunnison over many decades from one small town in a mountainous area in Western Mexico. Some of them have lived in the park for more than a decade.   

In this image from August 2022 a woman helps her child climb out of window in Frontier Land mobile home park. Residents of the mobile home park were notified on July 25th that would have to move by Sept. 1. About half the 50 residents of the park are chldren. The Gunnison Valley Regional Housing Authority is finding alternative housing for the residents, many of whom are Cora people, an indigenous ethnic group from Mexico, who work as laborers in Gunnison County. (Dean Krakel, Special to The Colorado Sun)

Their future in the tiny Gunnison park that is stuffed into a quarter-acre had been shaky since the park was listed for sale last summer.  

The service industry workers who occupy the park didn’t have the means to take advantage of the Mobile Home Park Act and other state reforms instituted in the past several years to help mobile home park residents buy their parks when they are being sold. Frontier Land was listed initially for $1.375 million. The owner, CCNB Properties LLC of Almont, later dropped the price to $890,000. 

No one associated with CCNB could be reached for comment. 

Purchase by local housing authority collapsed

The housing authority has been trying to help since the park was listed for sale. The agency entered into a contract in January that would give the authority time to try to pull together funding to purchase the park and also to hire an engineer and inspector to examine the park’s infrastructure. 

That housing authority deal, which relied on a city contribution and Colorado Department of Local Affairs grant funds, fell through late in June over concerns about the park’s failing infrastructure and the possibility of asbestos and lead contamination in some of the trailers that are more than 50 years old. 

The residents, some of whom are in the country without legal status, had not complained about the decrepit state of the park and their rented mobile homes as they crumbled and sagged around them. They feared they could lose their jobs and their homes or be deported. The state of their homes wasn’t widely known until the park was listed for sale.  

The residents had lived in limbo from the time the “For Sale” sign went up until the notices terminating residents’ leases were posted in July.  CCNB Properties announced then that the mobile homes would be scraped off the site and eventually replaced with new units once a faulty sewer system and other infrastructure was upgraded.   

Residents would be given a chance to purchase the new units. But mortgages for those units, coupled with rental for the spaces, would likely be unaffordable for most of the residents. The mortgages could be upward of $1,000 per month, Kadlec said.  

“They were very upset when they found out,” said Marketa Zubkova, director of the Gunnison Hispanic Affairs Project, one of many groups in the community working to help the residents, most of whom work in construction, in restaurants, on ranches, or in hotels. About half the residents are school-age kids. 

Residents of the Frontier Land mobile home park in Gunnison, Colorado were notified on July 25, 2023, that would have to move by Sept. 1. When the Gunnison Valley Regional Housing Authority attempted to buy the trailer park as affordable housing for the approximately 50 residents who live there, it was found to be in need of too much repair work to make the purchase viable. (Dean Krakel, Special to The Colorado Sun)

Zubkova has been working with the residents since the park was listed for sale and the rent for the sagging and leaking trailers jumped to $600 per month from around $42.  

The turquoise and white trailers may have looked like decaying shanties from the outside, she said, but they were homes and were all that stood between having a roof over their heads and homelessness for many of the residents. Kids’ bikes and toys were scattered around the dirt driveway in the middle of the park. Hanging flower baskets brightened some of the tiny yards. And a few handy residents had built fences and sturdy wooden porches. 

How to keep the kids in school in Gunnison

The fact that so many children lived in the park made the sudden housing loss even more unsettling for residents and more difficult for those trying to secure temporary housing. 

“There are so many kiddos in this park that we want to keep in Gunnison for school,” Kadlec said. 

A few offers for housing units have come from the Crested Butte Mountain Resort more than 30 miles to the north. The Town of Crested Butte also offered a few short-term units designated for seasonal employees. Both of those options would require a change of schools. Both would be temporary. 


The Rural Transportation Authority has offered five of its presently empty employee housing units at the Lazy K affordable housing complex in Gunnison. That location would allow families with kids to remain in the schools they are already attending.  

Kadlec said getting the residents into immediate housing is what he considers Phase I of dealing with this crisis. He said Phase II will involve helping the residents with more long-term solutions.  

As part of the next phase, Kadlec said he hopes Gunnison will take a broader look at mobile home park problems and ask “how we as a community are ensuring these parks are staying in safe, habitable conditions.” 

At this point, he said Gunnison doesn’t have the staff resources to dedicate to overseeing mobile home parks. He said oversight of these parks could eliminate having to deal with mobile home park emergencies on a regular basis. 

Frontier Land is the second Gunnison mobile home park to be cast into crisis by a sale or potential sale. In 2022, The Country Meadows mobile home park was sold and the new owner raised the rent 73%. Residents there tried but failed to purchase the park, which was in need of improvements such as a reliable water system and road maintenance. The residents used lawsuits to force the new owners to make those improvements.