Posted by Adelaide Kumi, MARIETTA, GA – When people think of Marietta, a northern suburb of Atlanta, they normally think of mostly white middle class residents commuting back and forth from the city in heavy traffic. But Marietta has its share of poor non-commuters as well like the Latino residents of Pine Haven. Pine Haven is a mobile home park with more than 100 households. The homes are affordable. According to one of the residents, the monthly rents range from $450 to $550. The average mobile home has two bedrooms, a small living room, a kitchen and a bathroom, and they are in relatively good condition.
Fortunately for the Pine Haven residents being in the suburbs doesn't mean isolation from needed amenities or employment opportunities. There is a small plaza adjacent to Pine Haven with a variety of stores including a beauty salon, Family Dollar, a farmers market, a pawn shop, a beauty products store, and even a night club. A coin laundry facility and mechanic are close by as well. Almost all these retail outlets are Latino (and a few Asian) owned, which gives members of the community a sense of belonging. The stores also provide jobs to residents of the Pine Heaven community. All the workers in the plaza come from the community and those without work stand in the plaza waiting for day labor opportunities without being harassed by the store owners.
While outsiders might view a mobile home park with a nearby pawn shop, coin laundry facility that sells Lotto tickets, and what looks like a rundown nightclub as signs of neighborhood dereliction, the crime rate is minimal because this is a tight knit community. One resident told me there is hardly any police presence because nothing bad ever happens. So the Pine Haven community may seem to those that don’t know it as just another low income neighborhood with all the problems such neighborhoods are assumed to have, only this one doesn’t because it’s a real community.
Adelaide Kumi is a Sociology Major at Georgia State University. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.