CDI recently helped more than 100 community members in Burlington who were at risk of losing their homes earlier this fall find an innovative way to keep them. Vermont Public Radio caught up with residents to discuss how they formed North Ave Co-op and the first of its kind financing deal that made it possible.
As we described previously, North Ave Co-op “joins a growing number of manufactured home parks securing their financial futures and improving their neighborhoods by forming cooperatives.”
North Ave Co-op is the sixth Vermont community converted by CDI, its 21st overall, and one of 171 nationwide in the ROC USA network. In these resident-owned communities, homeowners in the community each buy one low-cost share. Each household has one vote on matters of the community. 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. While there are existing practices for converting from traditional ownership to a co-op, the North Avenue story required some out-of-the-box thinking and innovative business practices.
We helped North Ave negotiate a below-market price for the purchase and helped the new co-op to secure a municipal bond issued by the Vermont State Housing Authority.
Longtime North Ave resident Rik Fenton told VPR that other mobile home parks should also consider converting. “If you get a chance to make a co-op, do it,” he said. “There’s nothing better than the feeling of knowing that your landlord is yourself.”