The Solution to Maintaining Affordability in Colorado Mobile Home Parks


Resident Owned Communities
ROC USA President Paul Bradley speaks to a ROC community

ROC (Resident Owned Communities) USA, a national 501(c)3, has converted 250 mobile home communities in 17 states to resident ownership, thus preserving affordability and promoting self-determination for more than 17,000 families. ROC’s cooperative housing business model transitions mobile home communities (MHC’s) to resident-owned communities by providing financing and technical assistance so that the existing residents can acquire the mobile home park land from the owner and self-determine their future.

ROC USA is comprised of two subsidiaries, ROC USA Network and ROC USA® Capital, a community development financial institution (CDFI) that makes loans for community purchase, rehabilitation, refinancing, and pre-purchase due diligence. The formation of a resident cooperative is the first step, as the resident cooperative purchases the property directly from owners, followed by completing the site due diligence and obtaining ROC financing. After going through the process and closing the purchase of the Mobile Home Community (MHC), the resident cooperative becomes the governing body of the park. Unification of land and housing ensures community owners’ self-determination.


Thistle is a CTAP in the ROC USA network

In 2017 Thistle became a ROC Certified Technical Assistance Provider (CTAP) and we are actively seeking MHCs in Colorado to transition from private ownership to resident-owned communities. Thistle works to coalesce the resident community into a viable decision-making entity while at the same time delivering a market-rate offer to the owner of the MHC. After purchase, Thistle provides ongoing technical assistance to the MHC’s Board of Directors on governance and financial capacity. To date, Thistle has assisted in creating 3 Resident Owned Cooperatives in 5 mobile home parks in the State of Colorado, helping to preserve over 119 homesites in Fremont and Boulder County.

Thistle has a deep understanding of the ROC initiative. Since 2004 Thistle has owned Mapleton Mobile Home Park, a 135-site residential community on 14.5 acres in the heart of Boulder, CO. Thus Thistle is launching the Colorado ROC USA initiative from a position of strength after successfully owning and operating Mapleton for over 14 years.

Thistle’s ROC initiative is a natural extension of the successful model pioneered by ROC since 2008. No other organization is doing this work in Colorado. Thistle sees an opportunity to fulfill our mission, expand the number of people we serve and develop a new line of business.


Affordable housing is scarce in the Front Range: The median home value in the metro Denver area is now $487K according to Zillow, up 10.3% in the last year due to population, strong economy, lack of construction of new units.

Colorado is losing this affordable housing resource. From 2012-2013, the total of manufactured housing units in CO decreased by 2.2% or 2,000 units. Since 2000, the total change is -9%.
The present stock of MHCs desperately needs improvement: 45% of manufactured homes in CO were built in 1979 or earlier, making them likely to have structural problems and unable to be relocated. (Source: I’M HOME.)

MHCs provide a significant source of market-rate affordable housing and help preserve community diversity in many categories, including race, ethnicity, age and familial status. MHCs are affordable for older adults to age in place.

Many mobile home communities are in need of infrastructure upgrades. ROC Capital financing can help with this need.

MHCs also provide a detached housing option for low-to-moderate-income households, which are underserved by the homeownership market. In Thistle’s Mapleton Mobile Home Park, lots are permanently affordable to households earning 30% AMI and 83% of lots are affordable to households earning up to 50% AMI.

Stabilizing MHCs through resident ownership expands affordable housing. Current mobile homeowners have limited options when lot rents increase. It costs thousands of dollars to move a home to another community, and even if a mobile homeowner could afford to do so, there are very few manufactured housing communities that will accept older homes from outside the community. If homeowners “abandon” their home, they lose all their investment. Also when moving, MHC residents lose their sense of community, neighbors, and other social capital gained during the time in the community. This is a typical scenario for mobile homeowners.

Thistle is proud to take up the cause of preserving low-income mobile home parks. By saving low-income homeownership opportunities such as MHCs we are helping to keep our communities diverse and inclusive.

Sample ROC Process Timeline

0-30 days   MHC for ROC purchase identified; Seller contacted by Thistle; Seller gives permission to meet with residents

Resident Owned Communities
Residents meet to form a coop and elect directors

30-60 days   First resident meeting; residents form a cooperative; interim Board elected

60-120 days   Financing scenarios are reviewed with Board of Directors; reasonable purchase offer developed; offer accepted by Seller

90-150 days   Due diligence completed; financing confirmed; negotiations completed; residents purchase!

If you are:
• A Mobile Home Community resident interested in purchasing your mobile home park OR
• A Public Housing Agency OR
• A News Reporter OR
• A Mobile Home Community Owner Interested in Selling Your Mobile Home Park

Contact Andy Kadlec, Program Director Thistle ROC, at 303-443-0007 ext. 130 or click to email.

• Visit the website or call 603-513-2791