BURLINGTON, Vt. – Vermont is home to 12 ROCs and now a major milestone in the ROC Movement: the 15,000th home in ROCs nationwide sits in one of the three new ROCs purchased in just over a month this year.
Dozens of ROC Members, the Technical Assistance Providers from the Cooperative Development Institute (CDI), local officials and members from the greater cooperative sector came out for the Thursday night celebration for all Vermont ROCs.
While celebrating the milestone, ROC Members were able to network with their peers and hear about the work they’ve done in their communities. This shared experience and being able to learn from others doing the same work are some of the more valuable resources ROC Leaders and Members have.
“That’s really the value of getting together,” said ROC USA® President Paul Bradley.
Since February, three Vermont communities have converted to resident ownership, nearly doubling the number of homes in ROCs in the state: Lakeview Cooperative in Shelburne, home to the 15,000th house in a ROC nationwide; Westbury Home Owners Association in Colchester and Sunset Lake Cooperative in Hinesburg.
The Vermont ROCs are a part of the 236 total ROCs in 16 states. The ROC model was pioneered by the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund in the 1980s before it was taken to scale nationally in 2008 with the launch of ROC USA. The growth among the Network has been strong over the last decade, accelerating as the Network has expanded and matured.
“You can just see the growth rate and the number of people coming on,” Bradley said. “It really is a growing national movement.”
Leaders from both the new and previously established communities were able to speak about the highlights of their neighborhoods and what resident ownership has meant for them.
Sean Moran, President of Lakeview Cooperative, said after learning that the neighborhood was for sale, having the neighbors purchase it themselves seemed like the best option. He said the experience has really brought his 64-home neighborhood together.
“We’re very happy to be a part of the family that sustains affordable housing,” he said.
ROC USA presented Lakeview with a local nursery gift card to celebrate the 15,000th home in their neighborhood.
Jamie Stanis, who lives in Shelburnewood Mobile Home Cooperative, said he’s one of the newer residents in his cooperative, but he’s thrilled to be a part of it. The group became resident owned in September 2015.
“I actually moved there because I heard we were going co-op,” he said.
Another Vermont community is expected to become resident-owned in the next week.
Vermont ROCs work with staff from the Cooperative Development Institute – a ROC USA® Network Certified Technical Assistance Provider – during the pre- and post-purchase process.
Annik Paul, a Cooperative Development Specialist with the CDI who works on the Vermont team, said she’s incredibly proud of the work ROC Leaders have put in to become resident owned and the ongoing efforts they make benefit their neighborhoods.
Along with Vermont, the group also works with communities in Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York. Of the 236 ROCs, 45 of them work with CDI. This accounts for more than 4,000 homeowners in the network.
“It’s a significant amount of homes,” Paul said.
Having TA providers to support and coach the leaders in the community is the key to success for the ROC Movement, Bradley said.
“This work really relies on local people,” he said. “We greatly appreciate them being here and working hand in hand with you.”
“We couldn’t be in better hands,” Moran said.