Washington Journal of Social & Environmental Justice



As global warming intensifies, ensuring that its impacts do not disproportionately burden disadvantaged populations has become a growing policy concern. Within the United States, mobile home residents increasingly face climate injustices but are often overlooked in climate policy discussions. Even after accounting for income and race, mobile home residents experience substantially higher indoor heat risks than single-family home residents. Mobile home residents also comprise a disproportionately high percentage of indoor heat deaths. The heat vulnerability of these Americans is even greater for those living in the numerous sparsely-shaded mobile home parks occupying cities and towns throughout the country’s Sun Belt region. These residents typically do not own the land beneath their homes and often lack resources to combat indoor heat risks or to have a meaningful voice in driving policy changes capable of addressing their plight. Although mobile homes built in the United States today must conform to federal building standards that require better insulation, millions of Americans still reside in older mobile homes that are poorly suited to protect them from rising temperatures. This paper highlights the emerging mobile home heat crisis in the United States and identifies specific short-term and longer-term policy strategies capable of addressing it. Greatly improving mobile home residents’ access to home weatherization and utility assistance programs, requiring mobile home park landscaping and designs to better combat heat island effects, and ultimately phasing out nonconforming mobile homes will all be necessary to ensure that millions of vulnerable Americans can seek comfortable refuge as climate change worsens in the coming decades.