Homeowners Purchase MHC with Collaboration from the City of Golden
If you would have told Golden Hills Community Cooperative Board Treasurer Art Erwin earlier this year that his community would be resident owned, he would not have believed it. He and his neighbors bought the park on July 11 after three previous attempts to purchase their community. Sticking together is what made this purchase possible, and they know that is what will help this community navigate their future as a resident owned cooperative.
“While we have had several previous attempts to purchase Golden Hills fail,” Erwin said. “It feels great to not have given up and to now say, ‘WE OWN IT!’ I entered this effort to help my neighbors and keep control of our own future.”
“This is a really inspiring story of perseverance that has paid off with long-term security for a group of homeowners in a market that has experienced more extreme price pressures,” said ROC USA President Paul Bradley. “This community will serve generations of low-income homeowners in Golden.”
Financing for Golden Hills was provided by ROC USA® Capital, a Treasury-certified Community Development Financial Institution. Golden Hills is another community to utilize a new financing vehicle that brought together nine organizations to create a below-market-rate pool of community acquisition capital for Colorado. Financing includes funds not only to purchase the land, but also to make necessary infrastructure repairs or upgrades. Capital partnered with Thistle and the following investors to bring $6.56 million to the table: Colorado Housing Finance Agency, Colorado Health Foundation, Colorado Trust, Ally Bank, Key Bank, Mercy Community Capital and JPMorgan Chase. ROC USA Capital will also provide a $1.1 million, 2.5 percent interest only construction loan to Golden Hills Community Cooperative.
"ROC USA Capital is extremely pleased to provide this financing package to Golden Hills and to work in partnership with Thistle to enable the Co-op to purchase and substantially improve its community," said Michael Sloss, managing director of ROC USA Capital. "We’re also pleased to be working with the City of Golden which has made a substantial investment in these homeowners. This public/private partnership is an excellent example of affordable homeownership preservation.”
Prior to purchase, like most manufactured home communities, residents of Golden Hills owned their homes, but not the land beneath them. This arrangement made homeowners vulnerable to rent increases and eviction, a risk that can increase when the properties are put on the market. By purchasing the property, themselves, homeowners are now in control of major decisions like community rules, infrastructure projects, and lot rent. It is this last piece that has put a spotlight on resident ownership of manufactured home communities as one solution to the affordable housing crisis. On average, resident-owned communities raise site fees minimally compared to the industry average. For homeowners in Golden Hills, this long-term affordability means long-term stability.
“It's really exciting that our community is becoming resident owned,” said Joyce Tanner, Board President of Golden Hills. “It's been a long journey to get here, and we are so thankful for the help we've had along the way. Knowing we live in a city that is supportive of affordable housing and our neighborhood is very meaningful. The financial assistance from the city and county is crucial in being able to stabilize lot rents and avoiding resident displacement. Our co-op Board and Members have volunteered countless hours over the last two years. Having the support of the city and local nonprofits has helped keep us moving forward. We are truly grateful.”
“It has been wonderful to support them as they worked through this process,” said Program Director Tim Townsend. “Their hard work paid off, and now they can celebrate achieving their goal of maintaining their community as an affordable option for current and future GHCC residents.” Taylor Berry, technical assistance provider to the community, also praised the community, sharing that, “Golden Hills has been a dream community to work with. They’ve embraced the cooperative model with enthusiasm, which was evident when 100% of the members present voted to purchase the park!”
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