Homeowners in Maine buy their neighborhood as a resident-owned cooperative


Homeowners in the 40-unit Charter Oaks Village Cooperative say they now own their land and their futures. [photo: ROC USA®]
Homeowners in the 40-unit Charter Oaks Village Cooperative in Arundel, Maine took a big step toward securing their financial futures by collectively buying their neighborhood as a resident cooperative.

Nolan Gauttier, the democratically-elected president of the Charter Oaks Board, moved to the community with his wife and young family five years ago, looking to establish more permanent roots in the community after renting.

“Owning a home after renting previously allowed us to build some economic security, whereas most young families in our area cannot afford to own a home,” Gauttier. said. “We now feel great about owning a home in a secure, affordable community where we can invest more money into activities that promote health, development and well-being for our children.”

Residents of the newly formed cooperative are proud to have secured long-term affordability and stability in the co-op for generations to come.

“This is an exciting time for everyone in our community. Adding stability and local control to a demographic that generally doesn’t have it is a powerful and wonderful gift,” Gauttier said.

The purchasing process and the formation of a resident-owned cooperative has brought the community closer together.

“Becoming a Resident-Owned Community (ROC) has given us a new purpose in our park. We have become more friendly with our neighbors by getting to know and interact with them on a more personal level. We now know that we have a common goal to work toward together, [we are] united to make it a better place for our future generation. We control our land and our future now,” said James Lantagne, Vice President of Charter Oaks Village.

“We control our land and our future now.” – James Lantagne, Vice President, Charter Oaks Village

Jeanee Wright, Cooperative Housing Specialist with the Cooperative Development Institute (CDI) provided acquisition support and technical assistance to the community as they considered converting to a cooperative. She is glad that the residents seized the opportunity to purchase their community and looks forward to working with the resident owners to build their financial security and support the community towards long term success.

“The resident homeowners of Charter Oaks Village saw this opportunity and worked hard, with many residents contributing efforts to make the deal successful. Their primary motivation was long term control over the land and keeping the park affordable long term,” Wright said.

CDI is a certified technical assistance provider with ROC USA® Network, a national nonprofit organization that works to help residents of for-sale manufactured home parks form resident corporations and buy their communities cooperatively. Technical assistance will continue to be provided by CDI to the association for the length of the mortgage—a minimum of 10 years.

The residents of Charter Oaks Village purchased the community on June 11, 2019 for $1,170,000 with financing provided by the Genesis Community Loan Fund.

“Helping a new a new resident-owned community finance the purchase of the park they live in is one of the best ways to preserve affordability into the future. From all of us at the Genesis Fund, congratulations to Charter Oaks Village Cooperative,” said Bill Floyd, executive director of the Genesis Community Loan Fund.

Charter Oaks Village joins eight Maine manufactured housing communities supported by CDI and financed by Genesis, representing 358 homes now under their residents’ control.

Andy Danforth, director of CDI’s New England Resident-Owned Communities (NEROC) Program, said resident ownership is a growing trend in the Northeast. He hopes that more Maine manufactured housing communities see the benefit of becoming resident owned.

“Residents understand the insecurity of owning their home atop rented land, especially in areas like York County where development pressure and the price of housing are accelerating, often outpacing household income. When offered the chance to collectively purchase that land, residents are excited to find options to secure it for their families,” Danforth said. “For CDI, it’s very rewarding assisting residents who are working hard to bring more economic stability and security to their lives through this process of democratic ownership.”

Nationwide, ROC USA® and its nine affiliates work with 238 ROCs made up of more than 15,500 homes in 16 states.

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