Affordable housing is much easier to achieve when tenants—and not outside investors—own their land. Our New England Resident-Owned Communities (NEROC) program offers financial security and peace of mind to owners of manufactured homes who live in rental communities. NEROC secures and protects affordable housing by uniting neighbors to buy the land they currently rent and manage it cooperatively. In this way we’ve helped to protect thousands of homes across New England, and this successful model is spreading.
CDI recently brought on two new Housing Program Specialists to assist with the NEROC program. Thomas Choate and Jeanee Wright are experienced in cooperative and real estate development. They bring a wide range and significant depth of experience to our work. Their bios are below and can also be found on our staff page.
Jeanne reports that she is “excited to be working as a NEROC Housing Program Specialist focusing my work with Resident Owned co-ops in Maine,” adding:
I come to CDI with experience working with co-ops in New Hampshire where I spent a good deal of my time working with residents who were dealing with aged and failing infrastructure systems. Bringing community leaders together to first find a good solution, and then helping them put the plan together with all of the resources available to get the project done, is a rewarding thing to witness. Some see it as fixing the infrastructure, however those involved know it is more about building the whole community. I am excited to be sharing that experience here in Maine and building new relationships and resources to connect people to solutions. There are many parks in Maine that are not resident-owned and I am hoping that many more of them will join the movement to cooperative ownership!
“The NEROC approach to technical assistance is inspiring both in its sophistication as well as in its responsiveness and flexibility for working with our client communities,” Thomas shares. “Coming from a background in real estate and community consulting, I appreciate the care and talents that CDI, NEROC, and our partners in the ROC network bring to wealth building through affordable housing, and to each other as colleagues.”
|Thomas Choate is a Housing Program Specialist in CDI’s NEROC Program. Thomas’s background includes time as a research analyst, natural builder, carpenter, and a developer. This has included work with the Reinvestment Fund Development Partners, Dr. Susan Wachter, co-director of Penn Institute for Urban Research and Professor of Real Estate at Wharton, QBL Real Estate, a national consultancy for municipal and cultural development partnerships, and Carolina Common Enterprise. Most recently, he provided business planning, investor relations, project management, and “deep green” land planning as a consultant for community-minded real estate developments, large and small, and similar projects in Asheville, NC. Originally from Austin, Texas, Thomas studied Latin American Politics at Southwestern University and received a masters in City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania. He enjoys time with his family, cooking, fermenting, dancing, gardening, and music.|
|Jeanee Wright is a Housing Program Specialist in CDI’s NEROC Program, focusing in Maine. She has over 20 years of training experience and ten years of cooperative development experience. Prior to joining CDI, she spent 7 years serving on the Board of Directors in her cooperative, where she led a committee to plan and execute a project to replace failing water, sewer and electrical systems in the community. Her involvement and knowledge from that experience led her to a position as an Organizational Development Specialist with ROC-NH (ROC-NH provides assistance with funding, training and education to more than 120 resident-owned communities in New Hampshire) where she focused on developing leaders in other resident-owned communities to identify, plan, fund and construct projects that ultimately stabilized community infrastructure. She also collaborated on and facilitated boot camp curricula designed to strengthen tools and processes to manage the role of operations managers and other maintenance volunteers. Jeanee is also experienced in acquisition, financing and post-purchase technical assistance. She is passionate about leading others to solutions through good action planning and commitment.|