2022 Saw Significant Progress with More to Come in 2023
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
Welcome 2023 and all that you will bring.
And thank you 2022 for all that you brought.
First, we welcome the 17 new ROCs of 2022 to the national network. We are delighted you’ve joined us and the now 304 ROCs in 21 states from coast to coast!
This year’s class includes Paradise Village in Johnstown, Colo. The homeowners there acquired their 40-home community from an owner who acted outside of the state’s Opportunity to Purchase law to give the homeowners a chance to purchase it. These long-time Coloradans acted decisively and bought their community. Since 2020, that’s how it has been: When provided a viable opportunity to purchase, homeowners are voting in record numbers to “Go Co-op.”
These votes are in the face of record prices for communities as commercial investors have poured into the “mobile home park” market through the last decade. Escalating prices for communities are putting much more pressure on co-ops and therefore on ROC USA® and our Network of Technical Assistance affiliates to generate more lower cost funds for co-ops.
That Colorado community was provided a 4.77% first mortgage by ROC USA® Capital at a time when market rates for traditional first mortgages were close to 6.7%. Keep in mind, ROC USA Capital is providing a first mortgage that covers all that a co-op needs compared to a traditional loan that caps at 80% of the value of the community.
That product was made possible by two foundations, the state’s Housing Finance Authority, two banks and two CDFIs, including ROC USA Capital who organized a $55 million pool of funds. The development of the funds was done in close partnership with our TA affiliate in Colorado, Thistle Community Housing.
This is the type of work we’re having to do to drive down the cost of borrowing for co-ops in light of high prices for communities.
Elsewhere, that support took the form of a $1.9 million grant from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to the Royal Crest Residents Association in West Wareham for their purchase last summer. This is the first public investment in a Massachusetts ROC purchase.
The grant came into play after ROC Association Director Deb Winiewicz spoke at an event in Cambridge, Mass., last spring. On the heels of that speech, State Sen. Marc Pacheco would ask key state officials, “Why are we not helping these people?”
Co-op leader voice really works!
Don’t believe me? Well, read this:
The year concluded with a record win brought about by co-op leaders. For two years, the Policy & Advocacy Committee of the ROC Association and its Board have been working on an infrastructure investment bill in Congress. The goal was a $500 million investment in health and safety and community resiliency grants to shared equity MHC co-ops.
Co-op leaders hosted meetings in their communities and visited Capitol Hill to make their cases. While co-ops themselves are community-led and democratic organizations – there’s an extra level of effort required to join with other ROC leaders and jointly push for legislation, especially federal legislation.
Now and again, it works. Co-op leaders were vital in winning the PRICE Fund – a $225 million infrastructure fund – in the federal budget bill passed into law on Dec. 22, 2022. The Fund is named for Rep. David Price from North Carolina who “wanted to make resident ownership his legacy in Congress.” He recently retired after 28 years of public service.
He went out with a bang!
There were a lot of supporters from both parties for this bill. ROCs and ROC leaders won some hearts and minds.
More news will follow on funding later in 2023 but for now, we celebrate the Association and the many ROC leaders who made this historic win and investment possible. Great job everyone!
There’s more coming in 2023, too – other exciting news that I’ll return to after we’ve done some early and important work on ensuring the PRICE Fund is programmed to meet the intended needs in resident owned communities!
Welcome 2023! I’m glad you’re here and that we are here together! Better Together in 2023!