Sherwood Village a success story for mobile home owners

Herald reporter Aina de Lapparent Alvarez’s article Wednesday about Sherwood Village shows the transformative impact of resident ownership in manufactured home communities (“How Mill Creek residents bought the land under their feet,” The Herald, Feb. 21). At Sherwood, once the homeowners purchased the land beneath their neighborhood, they were able to vote on changes to make the community work better for them. As Linda Coleman said, she previously felt like a “partial homeowner because I didn’t have any control over the property.”

Putting your home — your largest asset — on land someone else controls seems like a non-starter in most neighborhoods. But it’s the norm for most manufactured home communities, where the landowner is not only responsible for maintaining infrastructure like water, sewer and roads, but also makes the community rules, decides who can move in, and sets the monthly rent.

This is where the impact of resident ownership is particularly tangible. ROC USA recently commissioned appraisals for two communities we helped become resident-owned 10 years ago. The first, in Middleborough, Mass., enjoys monthly fees 25 percent below market rate. The second, in Missoula, Mont., has fees 36 percent below market. These aren’t outliers; this is what happens when communities are removed from the speculative real estate market.

These success stories underscore the resilience and positive impact of resident ownership on neighborhood economics. It’s a proven model in Washington state, where hardworking homeowners, Northwest Cooperative Development Center, ROC USA and financing partners like Washington State Housing Finance Commission have helped preserve almost 1,400 homes in 25 resident owned communities. Nationwide, there are another 21,000 homes in almost 300 more ROCs. When affordable housing is plentiful, more people can participate and contribute, and that benefits us all.

Mike Bullard

ROC USA

Concord, N.H.

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