Monday, February 25, 2013

New Resident-Owned Community in Plymouth, MA

For Immediate Release
Feb. 20, 2013
West Wood Village Resident Association Inc.
Homeowners purchase 66-site Plymouth park; join growing
Mass. trend of resident-owned manufactured home communities

Bob Howard, President, West Wood Village Resident Association (774) 283-2878
Andy Danforth, Housing Program Director, CDI (401) 439-9795
Michael Sloss, Managing Director, ROC USA® Capital: (202) 595-2690
Paul Bradley, President, ROC USA, LLC (603) 856-0709

Plymouth, Mass. – Homeowners in this 66-home manufactured housing community took a big step toward securing their financial futures when they collectively bought their neighborhood as a resident corporation today.
Bob Howard, interim association president, said the board of directors is focused on providing good services, including a staff person to perform maintenance and upkeep around West Wood Village.
”I think the overall feeling is one of happiness with becoming a resident-owned community and being able to run our own lives,” said Howard, a retired chemical engineer. “We now have control of our destiny. Before we were all living on a month-to-month lease, and there was always the possibility of being sold.
“It’s getting rid of the unknown. We know now that we as the community are running the community.”
The resident association purchased the community Feb. 20 for $3.83 million with assistance from the 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 cooperatives and buy their communities. Technical assistance will continue to be provided by CDI to the association for the length of the mortgage — a minimum of 10 years.
“I’d say the partnership with ROC USA has been excellent,” Howard said. “They’re very supportive and CDI has been very supportive. I know we couldn’t have done this without them.”
West Wood Village is the fifth Massachusetts community in the ROC USA Network. CDI and ROC USA helped more than 450 homeowners in two Carver communities purchase their parks in June. In these democratic associations, 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.
Andy Danforth, Director of CDI’s New England Resident Owned Communities (NEROC) Program, said, “It’s very rewarding to work with residents all over the state who are working hard to bring more economic stability to their lives through this process of democratic ownership.”
Financing for the project came from ROC USA Capital and CDI. 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 Managing Director Michael Sloss pointed to the community’s prime location near a large shopping center, historic downtown Plymouth, and major roads to Boston, Cape Cod and Providence, R.I.
“ROC USA Capital was very pleased to partner with the homeowners at this community and CDI to preserve 66 affordable homes in Plymouth,” Sloss said. “To deliver long-term affordable fixed-rate permanent financing while promoting preservation of this attractive neighborhood represents tremendous community impact.”
West Wood Village just finished digging out from winter storm Nemo, a blizzard for the record books. Howard said the 30 inches of snow that fell in Plymouth was compounded by gusty winds, which knocked out power. With drifts well up onto the windows of homes, many of the elderly residents were essentially trapped.
A year from now, Howard said the community will be better equipped to handle such a storm.
“We’re purchasing the right equipment, we’ve got the right attitude and we should be in good shape to handle it,” Howard said, noting that as residents have gotten to know one another better through the purchase process, they’ve become more apt to help out their neighbors. “We have a plan to handle that type of situation, we’ll just hire additional people plus the person we have working here to take care of it.”
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, NCB Capital Impact, the Corporation for Enterprise Development, and the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund. The Community Loan Fund, a non-profit community development financial institution in New Hampshire, leveraged its experience with 103 resident-owned communities in that state to launch ROC USA with national partners in 2008.
ROC USA is a non-profit organization with a national network of eight 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 45 communities preserve nearly 3,000 homes in 13 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.


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