Co-op's rents low, standards high

Shirley Hooker has lived in the same manufactured housing community in Tilton since 1975. She has seen a lot of changes.

“When I first moved here, the lot rent was $50 a month. But it kept going up, close to $200,” said Shirley, a retired massage therapist. She said the park's former owner did little to maintain it.

Shirley Hooker“Everything was minimal,” she said. “He used the cheapest materials and that’s why everything kept breaking.”

Tenants got a break in 1993. They formed Windy Hill Manufactured Housing Park Co-op, beat out a competing buyer, and purchased the 48-site community with loans from the Community Loan Fund and a local bank. Shirley became the board’s secretary.

In nine years after the conversion to a resident-owned community, lot rents increased once – by $5 – while septic systems were replaced, roads repaved and well systems improved.

“The co-op is such a wonderful idea,” said Shirley. “That we have low-cost living is such a nice situation.”