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

November 2nd, 2018 Comments off

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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 That’s because of outdated notions about the quality of the houses, the communities where they’re located and the people who live in them.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.

 

InfographicMobileManufacturedHomeManufacturedHousingIndustryFactsDataResearchMobileManufacturedHomeLivingNews

 

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

 

 

 

Another New Hampshire Manufactured Home Community becomes Resident-owned

April 16th, 2016 Comments off

new_hampshire__ward_s_park_roc__jason_moon_nhpr__creditThe 15 home site manufactured home community, Ward’s Park, in Portsmouth, New Hampshire is the most recent manufactured home community (MHC) in the state to become a resident-owned community, as nhpr.org tells MHProNews.

New Hampshire is one of a handful of states with a right-to-purchase law that gives residents of an MHC 60 days to match the offer on a community when the owner chooses to sell. This does not obligate the owner to sell to the residents, but the law requires the offer to be made.

With the help of the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund (NHCLF), the residents have now organized into the Woodbury Cooperative, and as Jo Ann Paradis, the vice president said, “We had to set up committees; we had to contact snow-removal companies, trash removal companies; we had to have all these engineers come in and test the ground – we were busy.”

Noting that two months is not a long time for low income folks to raise funds to purchase an MHC, NHCLF’s Tara Reardon said resident-owned communities are New Hampshire’s answer to a lack of affordable housing. “The average price for a manufactured house in the state of New Hampshire is $60,000,” says Reardon. “And the average price for a stick-built house is $270,000.”

The rent for each home site had been $240 a month, but now with ownership they would each have a mortgage payment of $550 a month. The residents point out that a two-bedroom apartment in Portsmouth is $1300/month. Moreover, it is better than moving.

Since 1984 the NHCLF has assisted 119 MHCs become resident-owned, and five more are currently in the wings. ##

(Photo credit: NHPR/Jason Moon–Woodbury Cooperative, formerly Ward’s Park)

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

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.