ROC Northwest looking to bring power of scale to the regional level
MOSES LAKE, Wash. — ROC USA’s tagline, Better Together, is something we talk about often, be it our partnerships with affiliates, events like ROC Leadership Institute at which we gather to learn and share, and plenty more.
But it also speaks to the benefits of scale: the efficiencies and savings made possible by working from the same script, using the same platforms and doing one thing one way really well —making resident ownership viable from coast to coast.
That cooperative mentality shaped ROC USA from the start as a way to allow affiliates to do the same work thousands of miles apart without reinventing the wheel at each turn. But a technical assistance provider in Washington is putting those same principles to work in Moses Lake, a city of about 20,000.
With the residents’ purchase of Upper Lake Shore in October, Moses Lake and the immediate surrounding area is now home to five ROCs. Cristina Klatovsky sees this as an opportunity for each community to save and strengthen their collective voice. She said the ROC leaders see opportunities to approach the governments, vendors and more.
“You’ve got 200 households that are takin action in affordable housing and preserving it for themselves,” Klatovsky said. “How can you support them and celebrate what they have done?”
Moses Lake is in an isolated part of the state, with long drives in either direction through vast deserts, she said, leaving these ROCs isolated from their counterparts in western and eastern Washington. Leaders say they want to use their strength in numbers to negotiate discounts, for example, with Moses lake vendors the way ROC USA does on a national level.
“They want to be able to negotiate preferred vendors,” Klatovsky said. “If they use same septic, lawyer, plumber, etc., would they extend a benefit to these ROC homeowners?”
She said the ROC population in Moses Lake is largely Hispanic farmworker immigrants — young families with 3 to 4 kids. They are very tight-knot neighborhoods whose Members are eager to help one another, despite being exhausted from demanding field work, which can be a 7-days-a-week proposition. Leaders want to be able to better help their neighbors with home repairs, for example, and Klatovsky sees an opportunity for them to come together for training.
“We could find someone to teach them the basics of home improvement,” she said. “We have the volunteers, but not the expertise. They can’t do it alone, but they’re very willing to help with some guidance.”