State Senate bill would doom
successful affordable housing
movement

Read a commentary about SB210 by Steve Saltzman, the Community Loan Fund's President and CEO.

Senate Bill 210, currently being considered by New Hampshire's state Senate, would make it impossible to convert manufactured-home parks to resident-owned communities. We’re asking all of our supporters to call their state Senators and ask them to vote Inexpedient to Legislate on SB 210. Click here to find out who your Senator is and how to contact them.

About the bill

  • SB 210 (bill text) would set an unreachable standard for the number of park residents needed to vote to purchase their communities.
  • Currently, the vote to purchase is held at a meeting of the park’s resident-cooperative. A simple majority (one vote per household) of co-op members present at the meeting decides whether to proceed with the purchase.
  • SB 210 would require more than half of the households in a community to vote in favor of an offer to purchase. It’s the same as requiring approval of 51% of all potential voters—not just those who show up to vote to win a town or city election. If that was the law, no one would ever get elected. Municipal elections rarely turn out 50% of registered voters, and never 50% of potential voters.
  • Passage of SB 210 will destroy this self-help option for residents of manufactured-home parks.

Residents of Lilac Drive celebrate becoming a resident-owned communityTalking points
You can cut and paste any of these into a message, or put them in your own words.

  • Resident ownership of manufactured-home communities (ROCs) is New Hampshire’s most successful and prolonged affordable-housing effort. It has preserved nearly 8,500 homes in 140 ROCs over the last 36 years. Passage of this bill would mean the end of this initiative.
  • The current system works well.
    • Under current law, 140 groups of manufactured-home-park residents have purchased their communities and run them as cooperatives, or ROCs (resident-owned communities). The New Hampshire Community Loan Fund, often in partnership with local banks, finances these purchases, and its ROC-NH program supplies training and technical assistance to the resident-owners.
    • Not one resident-owned community in 36 years has reverted to private ownership.
    • Even without the proposed 51% voting requirement, the current system is fair to residents who oppose buying their parks. Of the 14 resident groups the Community Loan Fund has worked with in the past six months, only five have voted to become ROCs.
  • Resident ownership preserves an important source of affordable housing by eliminating the profit motive and putting budget decisions directly in homeowners’ hands. ROCs are not-for-profits and increase lot rents only when necessary to meet cost increases in services.
  • Resident ownership helps the people who most need it
    • Three-quarters of the homeowners in NH’s ROCs qualify as low or moderate income. Because they cooperatively control the land under their homes, their homes are secure and permanently affordable.
    • ROCs are populated by NH’s workforce: essential workers including teachers, firefighters, service workers, truck drivers, and restaurant and retail staff.
    • Because manufactured homes are one-story and compact, they’re also ideal for seniors and people with disabilities.
  • Resident-owned communities are a self-help solution to the lack of affordable housing. Each operates as a mini-democracy; members elect boards of directors to oversee the community, and vote on rules and budgets and the rent they pay to the cooperative.
  • Pre-sale ROC residents’ meetings rarely reach the 51% threshold of total homeowners, but post-purchase, all 140 of the current ROCs have nearly 100% membership. Co-op membership isn’t a requirement in resident-owned communities.
  • There are a variety of reasons larger numbers of residents don’t immediately join their co-ops
    • Residents fear retaliation if the cooperative’s purchase doesn’t succeed.
    • People with limited incomes often work 2nd and 3rd shifts, or on weekends.
    • Most parks don’t have meeting spaces, so the meetings are held off-site. Homeowners may lack transportation or the ability to drive at night.
    • Many homeowners need to care for their children and/or grandchildren.
    • Initially, at least, homeowners are often skeptical that buying their multi-million park is a possibility.
  • The winners in the passage of SB 210 are wealthy out-of-state hedge funds. This makes it quicker and easier for them to acquire communities and suck money out of NH’s economy.
  • Manufactured-home park owners have nothing to gain by the passage of this bill. The cooperative meets the price of a Purchase and Sale agreement the owner has previously received. The owner gets the exact same amount of money/profit at closing whether the buyer is an investor owner or the residents.
  • Why would we destroy a home-grown NH self-help option, one that has spread across the US, to send our dollars elsewhere?

Please call or write your state Senator today!

We will post information about the Senate Commerce Committee hearing on SB 210 when it is available.

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