Manufactured Housing Slum Finally Closed

Updating a story MHProNews last covered March 25, 2013 regarding the closure of a manufactured housing community slum in California, after a decade of legal battles the 4,000 resident community is set to finally close June 30, 2013. Located in the Coachella Valley just west of Joshua Tree National Park, but next door to a toxic waste dump that caused illness among its residents, Duroville was notorious for raw sewage in the streets, brown tap water, feral dogs and tangled wiring. The 40-acre site is on the reservation of the Torres-Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians and therefore beyond the reach of state and local jurisdictions. A 2003 federal court order to close the community because of danger to the inhabitants was stayed because a judge feared a

“major humanitarian crisis” would erupt for the residents, most of whom are minimum-wage-earning farmworkers who had no other place to live. A receiver appointed by a federal judge to oversee the community for the last four years, Tom Flynn, said, “A lot of the issues we dealt with were Third World safety and health issues. I’d never seen that in the United States,” noted Flynn, who at one time was part of the U.S. mission to the United Nations. Opened in 1998 and now mostly empty, the majority of the homes were 40-60 years old, and crumbled at the first touch of the bulldozer. According to, many of the residents have relocated to Mountain View Estates, a government-subsidized development of 181 new modular homes ten minutes away.

(Photo credit: top, Stan Lim/— Duroville’s last stand; bottom, Omar Ornales/thedesertsun–Mountain View Estates)

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