When John Egan excused himself from a meeting for a moment as his community was discussing becoming a co-op, he didn’t expect to come back and hear himself announced as the President of the community’s interim Board. But that’s exactly what happened at what is now Animas View MHP Co-op in Durango, Colorado. And after that abrupt entry into ROC leadership, here he is now, almost two years later, joining us as one of three ROC Association Board Directors! In this episode of Ownership Matters, John takes us through what inspired him to put his hat in the ring for Board Director, his involvement in government and how that experience helped his community in the process of becoming a resident owned community, his passion for helping other people, and more.
Episode: Working Toward Better with ROC Association’s John Egan
Welcome to the Ownership Matters podcast, where hosts Paul Bradley and Mike Bullard of ROC USA highlight the stories of people at the heart of the resident ownership movement! In today’s episode, Paul and Mike welcome guest John Egan.
0:12 – Today’s episode and guest introduced
Today’s guest is another co-op leader, this time located in Durango, Colorado. John Egan serves as director of the Mountain West region of ROC Association. He is a leader, organizer, meeting facilitator and an advocate for equality and social justice. He and his wife live in Animas View MHP Cooperative in Durango, where he was instrumental in the community through the purchase process. Animas View is an all ages, 120 site community that became a ROC in June of 2021. John was elected city councilor in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he also served as President of the Santa Fe Lodging Association, the Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce and Santa Fe Chapter of Skull and New Mexico North Association. As the Director of Transportation for County, Colorado, he worked to make public transportation for the disabled, low income and working class population more available and reliable. He led efforts to rebuild and rebrand the local bus system and ridership increased.
2:57 – John introduces himself and his ROC
Several years back, Animas View received a notice that their mobile home park was being sold and residents would see a $50 increase in rent. Outside of that, the residents had no idea the park was even for sale. Thanks to state laws, the owner had to notify residents that the park was for sale and they had the opportunity to make an offer to purchase it, which they did.
6:12 – Reflecting on rent increases
During the height of the pandemic, the state of Colorado saw an enormous population increase, leading to rent spikes. After determining how much of a rent increase residents would experience upon becoming a co-op, Animas View’s Board of Directors went door to door to share the predictions. John shares his surprise at the number of residents who supported the decision, even though it meant they would not be able to afford the new cost and would ultimately have to leave their homes. However, they made a pact not to lose a single resident through these price increases. As it turned out in the end, the rent increased by just $83.
8:54 – How John showed up legally for his community
Animas View was up for purchase as part of a 95-community portfolio owned by two hedge funds. The only reason Animas View and another community in Boulder had the opportunity to purchase was thanks to Colorado’s Opportunity to Purchase legislation. Otherwise, most of the other communities simply sold in a single day to a single buyer. In light of this, John met with the city of Durango and other public officials to represent his community. Listen as John shares about his previous experience in the legal world and how it benefited Animas View MHP Co-op. He goes on to express pride for his community and neighbors, who are able to care for their homes in a way they likely never could if they did not own them.
14:34 – John’s motivation to step up and serve on the ROC Association Board
John is a huge believer in paying forward. If you have good fortune, he believes you need to share that good fortune with others. When ROC Association announced they were looking for a new Board member, John felt called to put in for it. He was stunned to be offered the position and is so pleased to be part of ROC Association. It is his wish to help other communities find the same good fortune he experienced with Animas View.
18:32 – John’s work as the liaison to the Policy and Advocacy Committee of ROC Association
This branch of ROC Association is working hard to convince members of Congress to include an existing $500 billion in the 2023 budget. If this happens, the money will trickle down into manufactured housing communities to help them solve various infrastructure issues.* Next, he identifies common misconceptions he often hears from legal officials.
26:10 – John’s top takeaways from listener sessions
Generally, John has observed that many people are simply looking for the kind of support that ROC USA can offer. Additionally, every park needs more residents of the park to help out with common chores and serving on boards and committees. He sees the lack of participation as a serious problem ROC USA will have to face across the board.
29:13 – Reinforcing the importance that communicating with residents is vitally important
In order to create an environment in which people actually want to participate in their communities, this communication is key.
* This episode was recorded before the PRICE Fund was included in the omnibus government spending bill on December 23, 2022.
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