Tara Reardon

One year, eight new co-ops, 474 secure and affordable homes

By Tara Reardon

There's a lot of satisfaction in knowing that nearly 500 more households won't have to abandon or move their manufactured homes.

A majority of people living in manufactured homes have low-to-moderate incomes. Like most households today, they live paycheck to paycheck. They often need several full- or part-time jobs to meet the household’s expenses.

For many, an unforeseen or unplanned event, like a furnace or car repair, can wreak havoc with the budget.

But even those are minor expenses compared to having to move your home, or abandon it. Either of those can happen when a privately owned manufactured-home park closes, or when an increase in lot rent (the fee homeowners pay to use  the land their home sits on) is more than a fixed income can bear.

Over the last 12 months, the ROC-NH™ team here has worked with the residents of eight manufactured-home communities to alleviate—and eliminate—some of those possibilities. Since April 1, 2015, eight new resident-owned communities (ROCs) containing 474 households have joined the ROC movement, insuring safe, stable and affordable housing by forming a cooperative and buying the community in which their homes are located.

We knew that it had been a busy year, with a lot of ROC board and membership meetings, but hadn't stopped to do the math. Only when our communications guy was preparing the notice of our newest ROC—Woodbury Cooperative in Portsmouth—did those numbers appear.

Impressive. Four hundred seventy-four households can cross the worry of receiving that closure notice off their lists, and know they will have a say in what their co-op's rent will be moving forward.

On April 30 we will hold our biennial conference—Co-ops Celebrating Community—a great day of workshops, awards, food and raffles. The day is an opportunity for residents to share their stories and experiences and learn and support each other.

I'm looking forward to that fun Saturday in April both to celebrate the overwhelming satisfaction of the past year’s work with new and long-time residents of ROCs, but also with an eye toward the next lucky communities that will join their ranks.

Tara Reardon is the Director of ROC-NH.

ROC-NH™ is a program of the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund, Inc. and a ROC USA® Certified Technical Assistance Provider.
ROC-NH is a registered service mark of ROC USA, LLC.