ROC USA is a non-profit organization with a mission of making quality resident ownership possible nationwide.
When Paul Bradley was studying economics in university, he became interested in cooperative business models. “It immediately appealed to me,” he told me. “By its structure, it’s a more broadly distributing form of business ownership. Resources are shared more broadly among workers, among members and among consumers of the cooperatives.”
Paul was also interested in development work, spending time in Central America. When he returned to his home in Concord, New Hampshire, he found the opportunity to work in development work in his own neighborhood. He worked with the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund where he organized mobile home park residents.
In the United States, there are around 50,000 mobile home parks. The residents, many of whom are low-income, often own the home in which they live, but they do not own the land on which the home sits. It can be quite expensive to move a mobile home to another lot.
Because mobile home owners do not own the lot, they do not have control over the lot rent. Rent can go up significantly with as little as sixty days’ notice.
Some mobile home park owners do not properly maintain the infrastructure such as roads and sewage. This can cause homeowners to be held captive in unsafe and deteriorating conditions.
Mobile home owners also lack the security of land tenure. A mobile home community can be closed with very little notice. This often happens when the value of the land has gone up significantly, and the land owner chooses to turn the land to another use. Homeowners who may have been paying rent for decades can suddenly lose their home.
ROC USA helps homeowners form a cooperative, and to purchase land in order to preserve and improve the community. Each homeowner owns one share in the cooperative that owns the land.
There are two barriers that keep mobile home owners from forming cooperatives and purchasing their land. One is technical know-how. The other is access to capital. ROC USA addresses both of these challenges.
ROC USA has scaled a model of resident ownership in manufactured home communities, building a network of more than 10,000 secure and affordable homes with partners in 14 states.