Too often, however, the costs of replacing failing infrastructure systems can preclude resident purchase / park preservation—as it did at Lowry Grove, Antonia’s community. An NCF bill now before the Minnesota Legislature (HF876 / SF1215) would help resident organizations, local governments, and nonprofits replace failing infrastructure in Minnesota parks. Please help us spread the word that passage of this bill would help reduce tragedies like the one faced by Antonia and her neighbors.
...I envisioned a resource that would be both accessible and practical for those interested in the cooperative model, a resource that would provide a holistic picture of entrepreneurship and insight into both the “hard” skills of starting cooperatives (e.g. how to make a budget) but also the more nuanced work of keeping a group together and functional during the ups and downs of starting an organization. And so, “Collecting Ourselves” was born.
Some read NPR reporter Daniel Zwerdling’s recent investigative story as an indictment of investor-ownership. We do not. Mr. Zwerdling’s story importantly highlighted an extreme situation in Idaho. In our experience, the majority of community owners provide good and critically needed workforce housing opportunities in their land-lease communities.
Like most consumers, residents of manufactured housing communities tend to have little control over their energy, with the high cost of energy bills being a major cost burden. That's why NCF has partnered with Cooperative Energy Futures (CEF), an energy cooperative based in South Minneapolis, to bring cooperatively-owned community solar to Hillcrest Community Cooperative in Clarks Grove, MN. The 1 Megawatt community solar garden will be located 2 miles northwest of the Hillcrest community.
On November 22, 2016, the purchase agreement expired that would have allowed members of Eagle’s View, Inc. to purchase the Sartell MHP (163 lots) in Sartell, Minnesota. The deal was scuttled because NCF was unable to arrange financing for $1.5 million in water and sewer system improvements needed in the park.
Earlier this month, our Executive Director, Warren Kramer, shared the following in an email to our friends and supporters.
Dear friends and supporters of NCF’s co-op conversion work here in the Midwest:
Here are two stories we thought you might find interesting. First, Al Jazeera America recently did a story featuring one of the nation’s largest community owners (Frank Rolfe) and his aggressive business model:
Second, is an article by Frank Rolfe, published in the most recent issue of the industry’s trade magazine, MH Journal, celebrating sale to residents as a good and reasonable exit strategy for investor-owners. Mr. Rolfe is describing sale of the 90-unit Clarks Grove property to its residents, our last resident purchase. (Click here for the article attachment.)
Taken together, these stories neatly tell (1) why we do the work that we do and (2) the prominence and increasing acceptance that manufactured housing community sales to the residents have taken in the industry as a whole. We are close to having another project in central MN, under contract, our largest to date, with Frank Rolfe and his partner, Dave Reynolds.
Clarks Grove, MN (November 18, 2015) – Members of Hillcrest Community Cooperative in Clarks Grove, Minnesota are celebrating a new milestone in affordable homeownership and community empowerment in Minnesota – the state’s eighth manufactured home park cooperative. Staff members from Northcountry Cooperative Foundation (NCF), a nonprofit organization supported the residents’ efforts to buy their community. NCF is part of a national network of cooperative development organizations called ROC USA Network. NCF has worked closely with residents since May 2015 to help them organize the cooperative, negotiate for, evaluate, and finance the purchase of the commercial property. As of yesterday, Hillcrest Community Cooperative now owns and will operate the 97-unit manufactured housing community. The Cooperative’s property includes a storage shed, office, four apartment units and an underground storm shelter. With this purchase, there are now close to 600 home sites in resident-owned manufactured housing communities between Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Fridley, MN (November 13, 2015) – Members of Park Plaza Cooperative in Fridley, Minnesota had something extra to smile about at this year’s Annual Meeting held in the Fridley branch of the Anoka County Library on Saturday, November 14. After close to five years of resident ownership, Park Plaza Cooperative, an 88-unit manufactured housing community in the heart of Fridley, Minnesota, celebrated the completion of a major infrastructure project reflecting nearly $1 million in capital improvements to its community.
We're excited to share that we recently received awards in response to both our USDA RCDG grant ($200,000) and our Socially Disadvantaged Grant (SDG - $175,000) applications. Thank you to Naomi Lenz for making us aware of the Socially Disadvantaged Grant program, which appears to be a good fit for a number of our rural co-op clients
This past week we had the pleasure of working with the Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation of MN and the Public News Service on a media opportunity to educate the public on the economic advantages and social benefits for manufactured home residents who own their park.
You can read (and listen) to the article here – http://www.publicnewsservice.org/2015-10-26/health-issues/taking-control-mn-mobile-home-residents-seek-park-ownership/a48495-1