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Residents in Golden deal with the aftermath of a private company buying their mobile home park
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Ken Erwin, left, and Allan Wilkie, right, at Golden Hills Mobile Home Park.

GOLDEN, Colo. — On any given day, Ken Erwin is looking for odd jobs for his neighbors to do. 

He’s trying to help them make some money to pay for their increasing rent. 

Erwin owns a home in Golden Hills Mobile Home Park, in Golden, Colorado, which Harmony Communities purchased about a year ago. The company, based in California, owns several mobile home parks across the country, according to their website. 

Since Harmony took over, Erwin and some of his neighbors say everything changed.

Arthur Erwin, Ken’s neighbor and cousin, was afraid that if a large company purchased the park — something that is happening across the state — then rents would go up. That is why he helped organize the community with the goal of the residents buying the land, but those efforts failed.

Now, Arthur said they’re living through those consequences.  

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“It changed hands, the owners came in with a whole list of rules that kind of changed everything,” Arthur said. 

Arthur continued: “They’re talking about getting us to market rate, which in Golden I think right now is over a thousand dollars a month just for the park rent."

Golden Hills Mobile Home Park is a few blocks away from downtown Golden and minutes away from Route 6 and Highway 93.  According to RentCafe, average rent in Golden is $2,048, which is about $200/month more than Denver as of June 2022.

In June, Arthur said he was paying $795 a month in lot rent. Before Harmony purchased the park, he was paying $550 per month. Rocky Mountain PBS was not able to independently confirm the lot rent with Harmony Communities because the company did not respond to our questions.

While the rent increase is one Arthur said he can handle as an HR manager for a nearby car dealership, it’s a lot more challenging for many of his neighbors.

Peg Strong owns a home in Golden Hills Mobile Home Park. She told Rocky Mountain PBS she retired in 2017 and had saved enough money to live there comfortably. But she hadn’t anticipated the rent hikes.

“I was trying to find another place to live but not having much luck,” Strong said, adding that she will have to be extra careful with her money in order to make it last.

Allan Wilkie also lived in Golden Hills Mobile Home Park. He said he lived there for free in exchange for work around the park.

“I had this little house, and it was mine, and now they’ve priced me out,” Wilkie said.

He and Ken were a team; Ken said they managed the park together for 30 years. When Harmony took over, Ken said the company offered to let him stay on as property manager, but not Wilkie.

We reached out to Harmony for a response but didn’t hear back from them in time for the publication deadline for this story. 

Ken said both men ended up losing their jobs at Golden Hills Mobile Home Park. Luckily, Ken has another house in the mountains where he said he will house Allan for the rest of his life — something Ken said is just the right thing to do.

“[It’s] a sense of responsibility to your fellow man, it’s not just about how much can I get this particular month from you,” said Ken.


Sonia Gutierrez is a multimedia journalist with Rocky Mountain PBS. You can reach her at soniagutirrez@rmpbs.org  

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