For Immediate Release
Maureen Carroll, Cooperative Development Institute, Cooperative Development Specialist, 413-665-1271 (ext. 16), email@example.com
Two Massachusetts Communities Become Resident-Owned Co-ops In A Single Day
Residents are using the democratic ownership and governance model to take control over issues of health and rent
Middleborough and Lakeville, MA: Home-owners in two 55-and-older, back-to-back manufactured-home associations took a major step towards securing their financial futures by collectively buying their respective communities on May 29th. The two new co-ops are Edgeway Homeowner’s Association, with 52 homes, in the town of Middleborough and Twin Coach Estates Homeowners Association, with 64 homes, in Lakeville. Edgeway was purchased for $685,000 and Twin Coach for $1,095,000.
“I am most looking forward to improving the park,” says Gerry Moran, a resident of Twin Coach and Adviser on the Board. “I hope to make it the kind of place you never want to leave. I also look forward to the community becoming more involved and taking pride in their neighborhood.”
In Edgeway, residents were driven to the idea of cooperative ownership by the rapidly deteriorating conditions in their manufactured-home community. The community’s infrastructure had not been consistently maintained, bringing unsanitary, brown water into faucets and bathtubs. But now that the residents are in control, they are choosing to upgrade and fix the dilapidated water lines. Residents of Twin Coach, meanwhile, are doing away with rent practices that had some residents paying far more than others. Now with the democratic model, residents are choosing to have their rents equalized. The local town governments of both Middleborough and Lakeville were major proponents of the conversions and played significant roles in the process.
Edgeway and Twin Coach also received dedicated assistance from the Shelburne Falls, MA-based Cooperative Development Institute. CDI is a certified technical assistance provider with the ROC USA® Network, a national non-profit organization that works to help residents of for-sale manufactured-home communities form cooperatives and buy their communities. The Cooperative Development Institute is a regional cooperative-development center, founded in 1994, which has assisted dozens of new and existing cooperatives throughout New England and New York. It develops cooperative housing as well as co-ops in other industries such as farmer co-ops, worker co-ops, grocery co-ops, fishing co-ops, and more.
Twin Coach and Edgeway are the 15th and 16th housing communities that CDI has helped through the purchase process in the last 40 months and the 10th and 11th in Massachusetts. This is a considerable achievement, and demonstrates CDI’s commitment to spreading the Resident-Owned Community model throughout the region.
“When people form cooperatives to manage important aspects of their lives, such as their housing, jobs, or food, they gain greater control and take on greater responsibility for finding solutions that work,” says CDI’s Executive Director, Noemi Giszpenc. “That’s the essence of a strong American democracy.”
In democratically-owned communities, which are known as cooperatives, homeowners each buy one (and only one) low-cost share of the co-op. The members elect a Board of Directors to act on day-to-day issues and vote as a membership on larger matters like the annual budget, by-laws, and community rules. In addition to creating democratic solutions to community issues, co-ops are an important model for maintaining affordable and desirable living opportunities while our nation continues to reel from the housing crises. Now that both Edgeway and Twin Coach are Resident-Owned-Communities, the people residing there will be able to play a deciding role in their living conditions and costs. As a result, those will only improve.