CONCORD, N.H. – After receiving a grant from NeighborWorks® America for participating in the Excellence in Governance program, the ROC Association Directors knew they wanted to invest that money back into the communities they’re elected to represent.
The ROC Association Directors created a new Re-Branding Grant Program for ROCs with a goal of addressing stigma in manufactured home communities and helping ROCs improve their reputation. The grants will help fund ROCs that want to make concrete changes that contribute to a better brand image, or reputation, for their community.
“We need to do a better job at erasing the stigma around manufactured housing,” said Kim Capen, ROC Association Director for New England. “We need to fight the myth that these homes are something you hook up to the back of pick-up truck when you move away. We felt strongly that we needed to support the communities in this work.”
Nearly two-dozen applications were sent in, a testament to the dedication of the volunteer leaders to their ROCs, Capen said.
Nine winners were chosen to receive a portion of the grant funding available to communities:
- Heritage Association in Warren, Mass. Heritage Association will be putting a $1,200 grant toward building a new sign at the front of the community to showcase its ROC status. The project is expected to be finished early next year.
- Lakeview Cooperative in Shelburne, Vt. Lakeview Cooperative will be getting a new sign for the community after receiving a $1,150 grant. The sign will let the town know the ROC’s new name adopted after the residents purchased in February. The project is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
- West-Side Pines Cooperative in Bend, Ore. West-Side Pines will be getting a new set of signs for the entrances in the neighborhood. Along with showcasing pride in the community, the signs will also fit into the overall aesthetic of the area and be more durable than the current ones. The project is expected to cost $2,400, half of which comes from the grant funding, and will be finished within the next few months.
- Conifer Green Homeowners Association in Kingston, Mass. Conifer Green will be cleaning up signs at the entrances of the community. The project is expected to be complete in the next few weeks.
- Halifax Estates in Halifax, Mass. Halifax Estates will be adding new signage to the front of the community. This will indicate that the neighborhood is 55 plus, resident-owned and showcase the new name. The $1,200 project will be entirely grant-funded and finished by the end of November.
- Charter Oaks Village Cooperative in Arundel, Maine. Charter Oaks Village will be buying a lighted sign to showcase its cooperative status and community to the town. Of the $3,340 cost of the project, $1,200 will come from the Re-Branding Grant. The sign will be up by the end of the year.
- BT, Inc. in Rock Tavern, N.Y. BT, Inc. (Brittany Terrace) will be using a $1,200 grant to build new signs to showcase the fact that the community is 55 plus and resident-owned. The ROC will also be building a marketing website to share about the ROC with the community at large. The project should be completed by October.
- Marilla Country Village in Alden, N.Y. Marilla Country Village will be replacing the broken sign in the community to update where the homes are and showcase the name Members adopted when they voted to purchase in 2011. In all, the project is expected to cost $6,000, of which $1,200 comes from the grant and the rest comes from savings in the budget. The project is expected to be finished by late fall.
- Two Rivers Homeowners Cooperative in Gladstone, Ore. Two Rivers Homeowners Cooperative will be installing a new sign with the new name on to instill pride of ownership in the community and change the perception of the ROC with the community at large. The project is expected to cost up to $3,000, of which $1,200 will be grant funded.
Projects like these can bolster the pride of ownership that’s already been fostered in the ROCs, Capen said.
“We need the outside world to take this seriously,” he said. “ROCs are self-sustaining, affordable, take care of people and give them a home they can take pride in.”
Awardees were eligible for up to $1,200 in funding. In all, there was $10,000 available. The money for the grant program was given to the ROC Association Directors after they completed an Excellence in Governance training. The course is run by NeighborWorks America, and designed to strengthen the work between the Association Directors and the ROC USA Board.