Creating Stability through Cooperative Park Ownership
ROC USA Helps Manufactured-Home Resident Put Down Financial Roots
Manufactured homes (also known as factory-made or mobile homes) make up a large portion of affordable housing in the United States, providing home to about 17 million Americans. But increasing land values and other factors are causing many mobile home parks to close. And, while manufactured homes are technically mobile, they can be expensive to move — if additional park space is even available. Such challenges threaten to displace the vulnerable, low-income homeowners, who have few, if any, other places to live. That’s where ROC USA comes in.
The ROC USA Network comprises 10 external groups that act as co-op developers, searching for manufactured home parks that are for sale. With the consent of the current landowners, they contact residents and propose a route to cooperative ownership. ROC USA then helps build the foundation of a successful co-op from scratch, from finding surveyors and lawyers to preparing and coaching a well-trained board.
Waiting to support these newly formed co-ops is ROC USA Capital, which lends solely to co-ops formed by the network. ROC USA Capital loans up to 110 percent of the park property’s value, which ensures that low-income people can afford to buy a share and become co-op members.
ROC USA pays its technical assistance providers in a unique way: They get a payment for closing a park purchase and, if the purchase is financed through ROC USA Capital, they receive a portion of the interest rate margin from the loan. This ongoing payment is critical, because these providers often continue to assist a co-op throughout the life of its loan, which can be 10 to 15 years, and their assistance improves the likelihood of full repayment.
The communities themselves see several benefits as well. Cooperative ownership allows residents to reduce the risk of losing their homes, and also control their monthly housing cost. In addition, their homes can sell faster and for a higher price than those in investor-owned manufactured home park communities.