Housing Co-op Development

Taken at the 2012 TCI for housing co-op board members, Hampton Inn, Maple Grove, Minn.

Taken at the 2012 TCI for housing co-op board members, Hampton Inn, Maple Grove, Minn.

To date, NCF has assisted residents of nine (9) manufactured home communities in Minnesota and Wisconsin form cooperatives and purchase their communities from private owners. Post purchase, NCF provides continuing support to the boards of directors that govern these co-ops. NCF continues to offer short training sessions to housing co-op boards of directors on topics related to governance, membership development and operational skill-building. Session topics, format and location are developed in partnership with the board of each co-op.

Training & Education

TRAVELING COOPERATIVE INSTITUTE

NCF sponsors the Traveling Cooperative Institute (TCI), a series of cooperative education and development workshops aimed at youth and young adults. The TCI’s goal is to instill a culture of cooperation that motivates young people to civic engagement, help combat high unemployment, sustain community assets owned by retiring business owners, and slow both the exodus of young people from rural communities and the decreasing ownership stake young producers have in America’s rural areas.

TCI created three different cooperative development curricula with focuses on Entrepreneurship (community organizing, business planning), Intrapreneurship (training for young people working within existing cooperatives), and Conversion (consultations for Baby Boomer business owners who are interested in converting to employee ownership). Custom-tailored trainings are also available upon request

The 2016 program focuses on providing consultation for cooperative development projects that evolve from previous consulting and education sessions. Additionally, we support those trainees who have completed the Train the Trainer program and are interested in bringing cooperative culture and education to their home communities.

Small and Strong Initiative

customized Support for small food coops

There are a number of small and startup food cooperatives in the Upper Midwest that, because of their size, do not qualify for membership in National Cooperative Grocers (NCG), and thus do not have access to regular training or peer support. NCF is partnering with Cooperative Development Services (CDS), Shared Capital (formerly NCDF), the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives, and the Food Co-op Initiative to provide training and support to board members and staff of these small and startup co-ops.

 The partners’ first collaborative event was the Small and Strong conference in November 2015, which offered board members and staff a chance to acquire new governance and store operation skills, and discuss items of mutual concern. During Summer 2016, we are offering a series of free webinars for board and staff, focusing on topics identified as priorities during the November 2015 conference. Participants who successfully complete webinars can apply for one-on-one consulting time with consultants from the CDS Consulting Co-op. We will once again offer a one-day Small and Strong conference on November 12, 2016. 

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New Development Projects

NCF is exploring development of new manufactured housing communities that would use best-practice design, community solar projects, and where practicable, city-owned streets and other infrastructure.  NCF would pursue projects in partnership with an experienced Low Income Housing Tax Credit developer.  Based on preliminary models, project financing would rely on a combination of HUD 221(d)4 financing with 4% Low Income Housing Tax Credits.  The projects would be structured initially as a leasehold cooperative, where residents would be renting both the homes and the land beneath the homes through the 15-year compliance period.  At Year 15, the residents would purchase the homes and the land beneath their homes and become owners of their own communities. 

Special Projects

Once a community of households is organized into a cooperative, the cooperative can use its strengthened position in the market to buy discounted goods and services for its members. ROC USA has negotiated for discounts for members of myROCUSA.org, a discount buying club for residents and members of manufactured housing cooperatives across the country. ROC USA and NCF have partnered with property management service providers and insurance companies to secure better rates on their services for cooperatives. All of NCF’s initiatives build on the power and influence of an organized community to deliver value and savings to its members.   

Preliminary plan for Madelia Mobile Village Cooperative's new storm shelter/community center, to be built in late 2015 or early 2016.

Our client cooperatives pursue many other special projects that are closer to home. Having completed construction of six additional parking garages and a bus shelter, Madelia Mobile Village Cooperative is pursuing funding for construction of a storm shelter and community center.  Within the first couple months of its resident purchase, Sunrise Villa Cooperative replaced its playground with a new one and converted a storage shed to a bus stop for the community’s children. Park Plaza Cooperative completed a nearly million-dollar upgrade of its water, sewer, storm water, and street systems in its community in 2015. Bennett Park Cooperative will be investing close to $250,000 in upgrades and replacement of its streets, rehabilitation of its community center, replacement of its pole barn storage facility for its equipment. Often using volunteer labor, Prairie Lake Estates Homeowners Cooperative replaced its community cookout firebrick, added kayak spaces, improved drainage swales, replaced damaged lengths of concrete driveway, roadway, and sidewalk, and used an innovative and cost-effective foam-jacking technique to shore up its walkways. Stonegate Cooperative finished out its community center space, improved drainage and repainted its below-grade storm shelter, and created new Board meeting space.