November 29, 2018
Residents gain lifelong security, affordability after purchasing Meadowbrook Community neighborhood
This weekend, residents at Meadowbrook, the newest resident owned community, will celebrate their $8.25 million purchase with the local chamber of commerce, friends, and neighbors. The 193-site of Hudson, Massachusetts is set up to enjoy self-control over their rent, infrastructure and destiny for generations to come.
Board President, Wayne Grant, said buy-in came easily from the residents. An overwhelming majority of residents voted to become resident owned. Before that vote took place in late October, Grant answered questions while walking throughout the neighborhood about the purchase process and about resident-ownership. “I tried to go around and make this personal,” he said. “It helped people feel more at ease. We had a lot of people on our side.”
These visits weren’t the first to introduce residents to the idea of owning their neighborhood. Shortly after receiving the letters that their community was for sale, Sandy Overlook from National Manufactured Homeowners Association came to speak with Meadowbrook residents.
Overlook, who lives in a ROC herself, explained the process of becoming a ROC and the benefits of resident ownership with Meadowbrook residents and put them in touch with CDI, a nonprofit that assists manufactured housing residents in purchasing their communities and becoming self-owned and operated.
Over the last five months, Wayne, as one of several other members of the democratically elected Board of Directors, worked to achieve that security by purchasing their neighborhood and becoming a resident-owned cooperative.
Buchanan said that everyone on the Board worked hard over the last few months in order to ensure the success of the purchase. “It was such a team,” he said. “We all worked together. Everyone had their own specialty or talent that they put into it.”
Grant agreed. “Our team did such a great job at doing this,” he said.
Diane Buchanan said that there’s a strong sense of community throughout the neighborhood. “Everyone comes to each other’s aid” without hesitation.
Now that this goal has been achieved, the focus will now be on getting ready for their celebration on December 2nd at the Hudson/Concord Elks Lodge at 91 Main Street, Hudson, MA 01749, 12-4pm.
Buchanan worked on other Boards for community service groups in the past, but she said this process takes the cake. “I just think this is about the best thing I was a part of,” she said. “Doing this surpasses it all.”
Residents purchased their neighborhood for $8.25 million on November 15th. Staff at CDI will continue to work with residents throughout the life of their loan — at least 10 years, at which point the community will refinance. Most commercial loans refinance after five years.
Meadowbrook is the 22nd ROC in Massachusetts and the 42nd overall that CDI works with. Massachusetts also has around 20 high-equity, or “market-rate,” resident owned communities.
“We at CDI are proud to have assisted the 193 families in their successful purchase of their community, securing permanent control over their homesteads,” said Andy Danforth, director of CDI’s New England Resident Owned Communities (NEROC) Program. “We look forward to supporting them for many years to come.”
Homeowners are able to buy one low-cost member interest in these democratic ROCs. An elected Board of Directors acts on day-to-day issues. Members vote on larger matters, such as the annual budget, bylaws, and community rules.
Cooperative ownership of manufactured (aka “mobile”) home parks, as a way of preserving affordable communities, is a priority for a hand full of national non-profit organizations. In 2008 this group formed ROC USA® as a resource to make affordable communities owned and operated by residents something viable for MH residents across the country. ROC USA is sponsored by the Ford Foundation, NeighborWorks® America, Capital Impact Partners, Prosperity Now, and the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund.
ROC USA as a non-profit, works with a national network of nine regional organizations, such as CDI, and acts as a national financing source for resident-owned communities.
“We help residents overcome the two hurdles to resident ownership by giving them access to expert technical assistance and financing to help homeowners purchase their community when it’s for sale,” said Paul Bradley, ROC USA’s founding president.
ROC USA Network affiliates such as CDI have helped 226 communities preserve over 14,500 homes in 15 states since 1984. www.rocusa.org
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 is involved in cooperative housing as well as agriculture, consumer, worker-owner, energy, and fishing cooperatives. More information about CDI, and the New England Resident Owned Communities program can be found on their website at www.cdi.coop.