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Tara Reardon, ROC’s-On Sharing Manufactured Home Solution with Thousands

November 2nd, 2018 Comments off

TaraReardonROCsonSharingManufacturedHomeSolutoinWithShousandsDailyBsuinessNewMHproNews

 

It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.”

– motto of the Christopher’s

 

There are good reasons to be open to concepts from across the left-right divide, as pro-free enterprise, pro-Constitutionally limited government MHProNews has exemplified for years.

Among the stronger voices for successfully promoting manufactured homes in a positive light has been those coming from the ROCs, or Resident Owned Communities.

Resident ownership isn’t the only solution for affordable quality living, as Paul Bradley has told MHProNews, but ROCs are a proven one.

As one reads this op-ed by Tara Reardon, consider doing your own letter-to-the-editor, at least once a year in your own market(s).  Don’t make it a plug for your business, or the odds are good it won’t be published.

Do make such a letter educational, as Reardon has done.

 

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Finally, ask yourself.  Why is it that the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) has for some 15 years failed at this same task, a point that their own prior president, Chris Stinebert has made, among others.

Reardon’s letter was originally posted at this link here.

NHBusinessReviewManufacturedHousingSolutionAffordableHousingTaraReardonDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Manufactured (or mobile, as most people call them) homes represent the largest stock of unsubsidized affordable housing in the United States, with nearly 18 million Americans calling them home.

Their modern amenities and affordable prices make them an attractive option for people wanting to own their first homes, or to downsize.

But despite their clear economic and lifestyle advantages, some people consider manufactured homes a last resort, rather than a great choice. That’s because of outdated notions about the quality of the houses, the communities where they’re located and the people who live in them.

The mention of manufactured homes often conjures visions of old dilapidated trailers, and it’s true that they still dot New Hampshire’s landscape. It’s also true that you’ll find broken-down and neglected site-built homes along many a country road.

Modern manufactured homes are built to federal code, in a controlled environment, and can contain all the modern amenities that we HGTV-watchers dream of. These homes are not only well-built and attractive — they’re also affordable. The average cost to build a manufactured home is 50 percent less expensive per square foot than a comparable site-built home, excluding land cost.

My family recently moved from a big home where we raised kids and held large-family gatherings, with plenty of space and bathrooms, and a large lawn that required lots of upkeep, to a smaller downtown home on a 0.11 acre lot. I, like many empty-nesters, am relieved not to have to heat and light all that
extra space, not to mention the yard work and the clutter we accumulated just because we had the room.

My neighbors are just feet away, and we happily coexist in the dense urban block. I see and greet my neighbors far more often. I knew when Frank got a new knee and what time the kids leave for school. Chester and his dog, Honey, greet me on my way by. If they needed help, or something were amiss, I would know instantly. We now walk to our jobs and to Main Street. That is what I love about living in my neighborhood.

So why do we have this vision in our heads that living in a manufactured-home community is undesirable?

I work with folks in New Hampshire’s 126 resident-owned communities (ROCs). Their homes are small, but more than adequate for their needs. Their utilities are affordable and their space comfortable, on one level and easy to maintain. Their car is quickly accessible, parked right next to their homes. They own their homes and pay taxes on them just like I do.

These homeowners collectively, as a cooperative, own the land under their homes and manage their communities. They know if an elderly person’s shades aren’t raised in the morning, help might be needed. Their streets are private and more narrow, perfect for walking or bike riding.

My experience has shown me what a great housing option this is for more than 7,200 New Hampshire households. Yet some towns’ zoning ordinances include their manufactured-home regulations in the section that deals with campgrounds!

Worse yet, some towns require that manufactured homes be located at least 25 feet from the property line (a typical restriction) unless the adjacent property is zoned residential. Then the setback requirement doubles to 50 feet!

We have an affordable-housing shortage, and folks way smarter than I have pointed to manufactured housing as one solution. It makes sense, and for this housing to realize its potential, professionals who sit on planning and zoning boards, city councils and select boards owe it to their communities to understand the realities of modern manufactured homes. They’re likely to be surprised that they’re not the “trailers” they remember.

Manufactured-home communities combine the practical aspects of the tiny house and cluster development trends that have drawn a lot of positive attention. It is time to honestly consider all housing options, and not only consider manufactured housing as a component of the solution we are looking for, but to start planning our communities to include this common-sense housing choice.

Tara Reardon is director of ROC-NH, a program of the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund.

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To give a fuller understanding of the ROC pitch, see their video below. Note that the ROC video below uses some outdated statistics.  More accurate information will be found on the infographic, immediately below.

 

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That’s this morning’s “News Tips, and Views Pros Can Use,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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Related Reports:

“Girls of Steel,” 3 Untold Stories of Job Creation, Growing Opportunities for MHVille

Fair and Balanced on CFED – plus – Another View On Rent Control

 

Due Credit, Warren Buffett, Media, and Manufactured Housing’s Historic Achievement

 

 

 

Manufactured Housing Co-operative Member Honored for Outstanding Community Service

May 13th, 2016 Comments off

new_hampshire__fosters_slash_kate_harris_photography__above_and_beyond_award_roc_nhRick Cantu, of Emerald Acres Cooperative, one of 119 resident-owned manufactured home communities in New Hampshire, was honored by ROC-NH’s (resident-owned communities-New Hampshire) Co-ops Celebrating Community for his outstanding volunteer work in his community, receiving the Above and Beyond award.

He was nominated by his neighbors, one of whom wrote: “Rick is a certified Well Operator that volunteers his time to help manage our Co-Op’s water system. He ensures the Co-Op is complaint by taking the time to handle all required paperwork for the state as well as personally going door to door to hand out water compliance paperwork.”

As fosters informs MHProNews, Emerald Acres in Barrington, NH converted to resident ownership in 2006. ROC-NHs’ Above and Beyond Award honors residents of New Hampshire’s manufactured home co-operatives who go above and beyond in assisting the operations of their communities. ##

(Photo credit: fosters/Kate Harris Photography–Nick Cantu receives the award from Tara Reardon, ROC-NH director.)

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-comArticle submitted by Matthew J. Silver to Daily Business News-MHProNews.

Manufactured Home Community becomes Co-op in New Hampshire

January 1st, 2016 Comments off

new_hampshire_green_meadows_is_now_fredom_village_co-op__concordmonitor__creditAdding to the growing number of resident-owned manufactured home communities (MHC) in New Hampshire, Green Meadows Mobile Home Park in Concord has become Freedom Village Cooperative after the residents banded together and purchased the community for $4.25 million, the same price a third party had offered owners James and Kathy Grappone.

State law requires the owner of an MHC to inform residents if the property is for sale, and if an agreement is signed, the owner must allow 60 days for the residents to form a co-op and make a counter offer, according to concordmonitor.

While residents do not have to join the cooperative, Freedom Village Board President Bill Stetson, a 30-year plus resident of the community, said 85 of the 90 current households did join. ROC-NH (resident-owned communities—New Hampshire) helped secure the mortgage from the Community Loan Fund, which has helped many of the 115 of the 400 MHCs in NH become resident-owned. ROC-NH will continue to help Freedom Village set their budget and plan for capital projects.

The co-op, for 55-and-older, has already set their budget and will increase monthly site rent from $440 to $450. The community has about 20 home sites of 109 vacant, and as MHProNews understands, once they are occupied the community may be able to lower site rent.

Stetson, noting members have to be active in the community, says, They really have to step up and take control. I would tell them to be ready for a lot of work, but it’s worth it in the end.” ##

Residents of Land Lease Community may Seek Co-operative Ownership

September 8th, 2015 Comments off

new_hampshire__green_meadows__geoff_forester_concordmonitor__creditIf Bill Stetson and other residents at Green Meadows Mobile Home Park in Concord, New Hampshire so choose, they may become the 114th co-operative owners of their own manufactured home community (MHC) in the state. A resident of Green Meadows for 31 years, he said, “This is an opportunity that comes up very seldom, for the residents to purchase their mobile home parks. There are a lot of residents that are interested in it.

As concordmonitor tells MHProNews, New Hampshire law requires an MHC owner to give first rights of refusal to the residents before they offer it for sale to anyone else. If an offer is signed, residents have 60 days to form a co-op and make an offer to buy the community.

ROC-NH (resident owned communities-New Hampshire) is a non-profit program of the Community Loan Fund that helps residents through the process, including finding appropriate financing. Tara Reardon, director of ROC-NH, says, “For the residents, it ensures secure, affordable housing for them for perpetuity.

Green Meadows has 90 residents among the 109 home sites. Owners Kathy and James Grappone sent notice in August of their intent to sell the community at a price of $4.25 million. The newly-formed co-operative has until Dec. 15 to make an offer. If an agreement is reached, ROC-NH assists the co-op in setting up policies and organizing the finances. ##

(Photo credit: concordmonitor/Geoff Forester-Green Meadows Mobile Mobile Home Park)

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-comArticle submitted by Matthew J. Silver to Daily Business News-MHProNews.

Residents of Co-operatively Owned MHCs Awarded for Volunteer Efforts

June 26th, 2014 Comments off

Five members of ROC-NH’s (resident-owned-communities-New Hampshire’s) have been honored with the organization’s Above & Beyond awards for outstanding volunteer work in their respective co-op communities across the state, according to communityloanfund.org. Neighbors at Windswept Acres Cooperative said of Raymond Davis and Roger Hebert they clear doors and shovel snow off roofs during snowstorms. Sugar River residents nominated James R. Hanlon because he loans his tools out, helps disabled people carry groceries into their homes, and shovels driveways. At Pleasant Valley Estates, residents praise Natalie Sheldon because “She plants flowers and keeps the beds weeded. Natalie always responds with compassion and caring to residents that call or stop by at all times with pressing issues and concerns. She covers whenever our regular office secretary isn’t available.”

Kim Woods was nominated at Aberdeen West for her selflessness. “Kim has crawled under homes, repaired roofs, and saved our cooperative and members time and money. She uses her own truck and tools to cut down tree limbs and haul debris to the dump. If someone is sick, Kim is always willing to help out with transportation or in any way. Kim is the ‘unsung hero’ of our community.” MHProNews.com understands ROC-NH™ provides financial and technical support to manufactured home communities as they convert to resident-owned co-ops, and assists them in developing leadership, strengthening their communities and building equity. There are 109 resident-owned-communities in New Hampshire. ##

(Photo credit: Kate Harris–l-r, ROC Trainer Gary Faucher, Kim Woods, Natalie Sheldon, James R. Hanlon, Robert Hebert and Raymond Davis)