Woodbury Cooperative

A Portsmouth neighborhood needs your help

Project will add affordable homes near downtown

Five years ago, the homeowners in Woodbury Cooperative, located in the heart of Portsmouth, N.H., avoided eviction by becoming a resident-owned community (ROC).

Buying their community saved their 12 manufactured homes, three apartments, and three unused commercial buildings. The cooperative has long-term residents, all of whom have very low or fixed incomes. A few deliver newspapers or drive a taxi to help ends meet. But the cooperative’s leadership is strong.

This neighborhood needs your help. When a fire broke out in one of its homes, the fire department had to tear down a fence and drive through an adjoining property to get to it. Woodbury Cooperative Board President Leslie Williams, who has lived there for over 20 years, says “The road is too narrow and is a hazard. If we had to get all of our residents out in an emergency there would be a big problem.”

The resident-owned community faces other immediate challenges as well, including:

  • Removing abandoned, dilapidated commercial buildings that came with the park when the co-op bought it, and which the co-op pays taxes on;
  • Replacing the water and sewer lines;
  • Reorienting two homes for fire safety; and
  • Widening the shared driveway to accommodate emergency vehicles.

Read the Portsmouth Herald's coverage and a letter to the editor.

Maybe best of all, the project will add four affordable homes, improve the neighborhood’s safety and appeal, and enhance residents’ pride in homeownership. With the addition of the housing units and the removal of the abandoned buildings they are paying taxes on, the cooperative’s lot rents will remain low.

Portsmouth is a desirable city with high rents and few housing options for people with low incomes. The Woodbury Cooperative project will increase the number of affordable-housing units in the city and expand its tax base. Once the infrastructure is upgraded, the ROC will not need ongoing subsidies and will be forever affordable under cooperative ownership.

During the five years since the residents acquired the property, the Community Loan Fund and Woodbury Cooperative have worked together to assess the ROC’s property needs, plan improvements, and gain city approvals. Unfortunately, public resources are unavailable for these critical improvements, so private money needs to be raised.

“Keeping lot rents low is important. Otherwise, some of our
residents will live on the streets or fall back on the city.”

That’s where you come in.

Five years ago, we helped the homeowners in Woodbury Cooperative avoid eviction and buy their park. This ROC provides much-needed affordable housing in Portsmouth.

Your donation, of any size, will help them revitalize their community. Thank you.

Donate now to the NH Community Loan Fund

Additional support for this project comes from a Community Development Block Grant in partnership with the City of Portsmouth and the U.S. Dept . of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the NH Housing Finance Authority, and a HUD Community Project Funding Grant.

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