Paradise Village Co-op is Colorado’s seventh resident owned community (ROC)
Tim Townsend, Program Director, Thistle-ROC, ttownsendROC@thistle.us
Mike Bullard, VP of Communications, ROC USA, firstname.lastname@example.org
Kelly Jensen, President of Paradise Village Cooperative, email@example.com, 970-396-6476
Homeowners purchase manufactured home community for $3.7 Million
JOHNSTOWN, Colo.– If you would have told Paradise Village Cooperative (PVC) Board President Kelly Jensen earlier this year that her community would be resident owned, she wouldn’t have believed it.
Paradise Village Board Directors Kelly Jensen, Maria Mendoza and Doug Gifford pictured at closing on 10/07/22
But after she and her neighbors bought the park on Oct. 7, Kelly exclaimed, “We made it! And we did it thanks to the residents and a board that stuck together.” Sticking together is what made this purchase possible and it’s what will help this community navigate their future as a resident-owned cooperative.
Prior to purchase, like most manufactured home communities, residents of Paradise Village owned their homes, but not the land beneath them. This arrangement made homeowners vulnerable to rent increases and eviction, a risk that can increase when the properties are put on the market. By purchasing the property themselves, homeowners are now in control of major decisions like rules, infrastructure projects, and the price of lot rent.
It’s this last piece that has put a spotlight on resident ownership of manufactured home communities as one solution to the affordable housing crisis. On average, resident-owned communities raise site fees less than 25 percent of the industry average. For residents and families living in the 40 homes at Paradise Village, this long-term affordability means everything, and it was accomplished by a small group of wholeheartedly committed residents.
This purchase was also made possible, in part, by legislation in Colorado signed in 2020 that mandates residents in manufactured home communities are given the opportunity to purchase the land their community sits on. However, the difference between opportunity and reality in hot real estate markets has often proven stark. In fact, nationwide, resident-owned communities make up less than 2.4% of manufactured housing communities and of the 800+ manufactured housing communities in Colorado, Paradise Village is now one of seven that are currently resident-owned and operated. For Paradise Village Board Directors, Kelly Jensen, Shawna Kadoun, Maria Mendoza, Douglas Gifford and Victor Robles, becoming resident-owned meant their community could take that opportunity and turn it into a reality.
The residents of Paradise Village also worked with Thistle, a non-profit based in Boulder, Colo., who coached them through the purchase process and will continue to provide technical assistance to the co-op for at least the length of the 10-year purchase loan. Program Director Tim Townsend praised the community’s ability to stick together.
“It has been wonderful to support them as they worked through this process,” Townsend said. “Their hard work paid off and now they can celebrate achieving their goal of maintaining their community as an affordable option for current and future PVC residents.”
Brittany Roy, technical assistance provider to the community, also praised the sellers’ desire to sell their community to the residents of Paradise Village, noting that “selling to the residents is a way to create a legacy that supports perpetual affordability, agency and collective power within the community.”
Leaders of the co-op have spent the purchase process learning more about their neighborhood and skills to manage their multi-million-dollar business moving forward.
“This is a wonderful group of driven and passionate people, they are going to do great things,” Roy said.
Thistle Executive Director Paul D’Angelo agrees and sees Paradise Village’s purchase as a huge win for affordable housing in Colorado.
“We here at Thistle Community Housing are working on welcoming individuals and families into our communities as affordable renters, while charting a path for them to become homeowners if they so choose, land and all. We believe in the economic opportunity, wealth building and the empowerment of homeownership.”
“Land and all” is exactly what resident ownership of manufactured home communities is all about. Paradise Village Board Operations Manager Doug Gifford “never would have thought he’d be a 1/40 owner of a mobile home park,” but in this model, that’s precisely what happens. Homeowners each buy one low-cost share of the cooperative that owns the land beneath the entire community. With their share, they are able to become voting members of the business, elect a Board of Directors to act on day-to-day issues and vote on larger matters like the annual budget, bylaws and community rules.
Financing for the now resident owned community (ROC) was provided by ROC USA® Capital, a Community Development Financial Institution that focuses on providing financing to homeowners looking to purchase their communities. Paradise Village is the first community to utilize a new financing vehicle that brought together nine organizations to create a below-market-rate pool of community acquisition capital for Colorado. Financing includes funds not only to purchase the land, but also to make necessary infrastructure repairs or upgrades. ROC USA Capital is a subsidiary of ROC USA®, a non-profit social venture that has been successfully scaling resident ownership of manufactured home communities for 14 years. ROC USA President Paul Bradley commended the hard work of Paradise Village Members and the staffs at Thistle and ROC USA.
“Homeowners in manufactured home communities across the country understand the benefits of owning the land beneath their neighborhood and Paradise Village is evidence of that,” Bradley said, pointing to the overwhelming number of Members who voted to purchase. “The landowner holds the power and now 40 more families in Colorado can sleep better knowing they control their futures.”
Manufactured home communities are a critical source of affordable housing. Transitioning into resident-ownership is a reliable solution to fortify operational longevity, and to safeguard and build opportunities for the homeowners. Thistle ROC is excited to welcome Paradise Village Cooperative into the growing movement of Colorado ROCs!
About the Partners
Thistle is a private non-profit organization in Boulder County that develops, manages and preserves permanently affordable rental and ownership homes. Since out founding in 1985, we’ve created over 1,000 affordable homes and, with our valued partners, have invested to preserve and enhance over $45 million in community assets.
ROC USA (rocusa.org) is a non-profit social venture with a national network of organizations (such as Thistle) and a national financing source for resident corporations. ROC USA® is sponsored by the Ford Foundation, NeighborWorks® America, Capital Impact Partners, Prosperity Now, and the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund. The Community Loan Fund, a non-profit community development financial institution in New Hampshire, leveraged its experience with 90 resident-owned communities at the time to launch ROC USA with national partners in May 2008. All told, ROC USA Network has helped below-market-rate pool of community acquisition capital The capital pool used in this purchase includes The Colorado Health Foundation, The Colorado Trust, the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA), Mercy Community Capital, and other national partners.
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