PORTLAND, Ore. – With nearly 300 people in attendance, this year’s annual conference to celebrate the innovations and successes in the manufactured housing sector was the biggest yet.
For the last 15 years, I’M HOME has been hosted by Prosperity Now, bringing together those who work in the sector from builders to policy makers to homeowners from 35 states.
“Thank you for joining us – more than ever before,” said Doug Ryan, Senior Fellow at Prosperity Now. “I’m convinced it’s going to be the best one yet.”
In four of the breakout sessions, panelists were able to discuss the importance of resident-owned communities in preserving the housing stock and its affordability.
Mary O’Hara, Director of ROC USA® Network, and Tara Reardon, executive director of ROC-NH, a program of the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund, spoke about how the ROC model fits into the manufactured sector during their afternoon session, celebrating the ROC Members who drive the movement.
Kaia Peterson, Assistant Director of NeighborWorks® Montana, Miles Nowlin, a Cooperative Housing Specialist for ROC Northwest, and Natividad Seefeld, the ROC Association Director for the East, Midwest and South and Board Vice President for the All Parks Alliance for Change, spoke on a panel about policy wins over the last year. These include right of first refusal and tax credits in Minnesota in order to benefit ROCs.
“It’s not just about getting bills passed,” Peterson said. “It’s about getting work done for the people who need it.”
Attendees were able to hear from ROC Leaders themselves as well. Moderated by ROC USA® Founding President Paul Bradley, three ROC Leaders – Tom Powers, Board President for Clackamas River Community Cooperative in Clackamas, Ore., Gayle Parrish, resident of Colorado Lake Cooperative in Corvallis, Ore. and a Real Estate and Cooperative Development Technical Assistance Manager for CASA of Oregon, and Marco Montes, Operations Director of Horizon Homeowners Cooperative in McMinnville, Ore. – spoke about the benefits of resident ownership and the journeys that their communities undertook.
“You don’t have to worry when you live in a co-op,” said Parrish. “We’re in it for the long haul because we have the chance to be in it for the long haul.”
ROC USA’s Digital Media Manager, Melissa Proulx, spoke on a panel about messaging around manufactured housing. She highlighted the Noble Homes Video Competition as well as the Re-Branding Grants from the ROC Association Directors as ways that ROC Members are being lifted up as the faces and voices of the movement, and how they are being empowered to share their stories.
Aja Tessier from the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund spoke about the Veterans First Program, which provides low-cost, affordable housing to veterans coming out of transitional living.