Resident-owned communities offer a secure housing option, especially for low- and moderate-income households. And Resident Ownership Capital LLC – supported by Praxis investments – is preserving homes and making a difference in people’s lives.
Formed in 2008, ROC USA helps resident corporations buy their manufactured home communities from private community owners. Through their tested process, ROC USA hopes to preserve and improve affordable communities, build assets for low- and moderate-income families and individuals, and bolster mutually supportive communities and leaders.
ROC USA has helped dozens of manufactured home communities in 14 states become resident-owned, preserving 10,000 homes as permanently affordable. In addition to delivering/leveraging more than $140 million for community purchases, the ROC USA network of communities has made more than $26 million in community improvements since 2008. On average, ROC assists a resident group purchase its community every 32 days.
ROC gives Colleen the stability of a home
Colleen Preston was ready to slow down in 2010 when she moved to a manufactured home park. She had sold the bookstore she ran for 25 years, cut back on her freelance work at a newspaper, and downsized from a 10-room house built in 1792 to a more modest home in the 55+ Cranberry Village in Carver, Massachusetts. But not long she moved into the 280-home community, word started to spread that Cranberry Village was being sold.
“It was shocking, and a lot of people just assumed the worst,” Colleen said, adding that most people assumed if the residents could buy the community, they would have to come up with $10,000-$20,000 for a down payment. “There was just no way that could happen, and we started seeing for-sale signs go up. Then a couple people here heard about ROC USA. Next thing we knew, we had meeting at the high school to discuss the purchase — it all happened very quickly.”
Just a few months later, Colleen was elected president of the new ROC’s board of directors.
“I never thought that at this point in my life, just when I thought I was winding down, I would suddenly find something that I am so completely committed to. I want to see this movement survive and thrive,” she said.
Without the help of ROC USA and Cooperative Development Institute (her community’s Certified Technical Assistance Provider), she’s not sure what life would be like in Cranberry Village today. Instead of uncertainty about rent, for example, she and her neighbors decide what the rent will be and what to spend money on.
Colleen was so impressed with the resident ownership movement that she applied for and landed a job with Cooperative Development Institute. Now she’s helping other communities make the transition to resident ownership. She will be the second TA Provider staffer in the network who lives in a ROC.
“This mission is important because it really matters,” she said. “It’s a housing alternative that suddenly gives lower-income families and seniors a real shot at controlling their own futures in a way that is not only affordable – it’s exciting.”
Praxis Mutual Funds®, a fund family of Everence®, supports organizations such as ROC through investments in Calvert Impact Capital, an impact-investing institution that helps people around the world through community development financing. It’s part of the Praxis commitment to place approximately 1% of each of its funds to benefit neighborhoods and individuals through community development investments.