Community Ownership of Communities

A segment on National Public Radio (NPR) highlights the problem MHC residents may face if the MHC owner decides to sell his community, causing residents to lose a home that may no longer be mobile, and thus their financial investment. Where some people may see this as a huge boulder that cannot be moved, ROC (Resident Owned Communities) USA, a non-profit based in Concord, New Hampshire sees an opportunity for community residents to purchase the land their homes sit on as a co-operative. When a community comes up for sale, Paul Bradley, president of ROC, and his team help residents form an entity to make a bid on the land. If the bid is accepted, ROC helps the co-op find investors. To date he has received backing from several foundations, but he hopes to tap into the deep well of commercial markets, much like the $13 million Bank of America has invested. B of A’s’ Dan Latendere says ROC has a good business model. Says Bradley, “On over $200 million worth of total lending, not a single lender has lost a single dollar over the course of the last 30 years.” He sees MHCs as affordable housing for people of low to moderate incomes, and co-ops as the opportunity to control their destiny. MHProNews.com has learned community owner George Allen was quoted as supporting the ROC option. “ROC USA has helped 2,200 homeowners in 35 communities purchase their parks and gain economic security,” says Bradley. He adds, “I want resident ownership to be available to every homeowner group in the country that wants to buy their community.”

(Image credit: National Public Radio)

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