Homeowners in the 212-home Town and Country Estates mobile home park took a big step toward securing their financial futures when they collectively bought their neighborhood as a resident corporation last week.
The Town & Country Kingston Estates Cooperative Corporation Board of Directors said they have learned so much during the purchase process and are already focused on keeping costs down in the future.
“Purchasing the park is a dream come true, this is an attractive place where residents want to put down roots,” said Board Secretary Roberta Love. “Now that we own it, we’re going to work hard to keep the budget in good shape so our neighbors can continue their retirement here without behind forced out.”
The resident association purchased the community April 24 for $7.2 million with assistance from Cooperative Development Institute. CDI is a certified technical assistance provider with ROC USA® Network, a national non-profit organization that works to help residents of for-sale mobile home parks form resident corporations and buy their communities cooperatively. Technical assistance will continue to be provided by CDI to the association for the length of the mortgage — a minimum of 10 years.
Town and Country is the 16th Massachusetts community supported by ROC USA Network. CDI and ROC USA have helped more than 1,800 homeowners purchase those parks since 2010. In these democratic resident-owned communities (ROCs), homeowners each buy one low-cost membership interest. 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.
Andy Danforth, Director of CDI’s New England Resident Owned Communities (NEROC) Program, said resident ownership is a growing trend in Massachusetts.
“This is a historic conversion, representing ROC USA’s 200th conversion nation-wide. The Cooperative Development Institute is a proud partner in working with ROC USA and ROC USA Capital to assist the Town & Country manufactured home park to become the latest fully resident-owned community in Massachusetts,” Danforth said. “Now 212 more residents are in control of their long-term housing security and can decide together how to best manage their community.”
Financing for the project came from ROC USA Capital. ROC USA Capital is a wholly-owned subsidiary of ROC USA and a U.S. Department of Treasury-certified Community Development Financial Institution. ROC USA Capital provided a $7,227,000 first mortgage through its National Senior Debt Program (equal participations of $2,628,000 by both MetLife and National Co-op Bank) and a subordinate mortgage of $117,000.
Cooperative ownership of mobile home parks as a way of preserving affordable communities is a priority for several national non-profit organizations that in 2008 formed ROC USA to make resident-owned communities viable nationwide. ROC USA is sponsored by the Ford Foundation, NeighborWorks® America, Capital Impact Partners, the Corporation for Enterprise Development, and the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund.
ROC USA is a non-profit organization with a national network of nine organizations such as CDI and a national financing source for resident-owned communities. “We solve the two basic barriers to resident ownership – access to expert technical assistance and financing to help homeowners become buyers when their community is for sale,” said Paul Bradley, ROC USA’s founding president.
ROC USA Network has helped 109 communities preserve 7,344 homes in 14 states since its launch in May 2008.
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 is involved in cooperative housing as well as agriculture, consumer, worker-owner, energy, and fishing cooperatives. For rural senior co-op development, CDI received support from the Cooperative Development Foundation.