Residents of the 54-unit Big W Mobile Home Park in Derry recently purchased their park, making it New Hampshire’s 100th resident-owned manufactured-housing community.
Using funding from the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund and education and technical assistance and training from the Community Loan Fund’s ROC-NH program, residents organized and formed the Foxy Terrace Cooperative in January 2007 to convert their privately owned manufactured home park to resident-ownership.
To Foxy Terrace President Russell Brooks, the purchase means the residents will have control of their own community, deciding together “what needs to get fixed, what gets fixed first and how it’s going to be fixed.” And because the purpose of the cooperative isn’t to profit from the park, he said, “we can actually put the money into making it a better community … a community everybody wants to be proud to live in.”
Vice President John Regal said he is already seeing people “opening up” to their neighbors and to the fact that they’re now in charge. “To me, it’s the greatest thing walking around and seeing this happen, seeing the looks on their faces, and seeing people spending a lot more time talking with each other,” he said.
Residents of investor-owned manufactured-housing parks own the buildings they live in, but not the land beneath them. Because of that, they miss out on most of the usual benefits of homeownership, including conventional mortgage terms, tax deductions, the appreciation of their home’s value and the availability of equity loans.
“Residents who purchase and run their communities are protected against excessive rent hikes and park closures, and often feel greater pride and investment in their homes and surroundings,” says Community Loan Fund President Juliana Eades.
The Community Loan Fund helped convert its first park in Meredith in 1984. Since then, our ROC-NH cooperative assistance team has developed a conversion strategy, an annual leadership program, a bi-annual conference and a management guide for cooperatives. Its strategy is now being applied nationally by a spinoff organization, ROC USA.
Foxy Terrace is the third resident-owned community in Derry, joining Frost Residents Cooperative and Running Brook Cooperative.