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Homes and Community Renewal

NYS Homes and Community Renewal, ROC USA® Capital and PathStone Help Hornell Residents Buy Their Manufactured Home Park

August 4, 2016

Purchase preserves 94 Southern Tier Homes as Affordable Housing; The Woodlands Community Residents Proclaim “We Own It!”

$4.1 Million Buys Cooperative Ownership; Major Infrastructure Improvements at The Woodlands Community/Green Acres Manufactured Home Park

 

Woodlands We Own It

 

Hornell, NY August 4, 2016: New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR), ROC USA and PathStone today announced that thanks to a $4.1 million loan, homeowners in the 94-acre site Green Acres Manufactured Home Park – now renamed The Woodlands Community – took a big step toward securing their financial futures when they purchased the land beneath their homes. Residents of the park, which had fallen into foreclosure, were facing an uncertain future, confronting major infrastructure deficiencies including failing sanitary systems, inadequate water and electrical systems and deteriorating roadways. The funds will finance the land acquisition and conversion to cooperative ownership along with critical infrastructure improvements.
                                           
The Woodlands Community in Steuben County is part of Governor Cuomo’s unprecedented commitment to affordable housing and community renewal, which includes $20 billion in the 2016-17 state budget for comprehensive statewide affordable housing and homelessness action plans.

“Many of the owners in this manufactured home park were watching in fear as their investment in their homes drained away as much of the community’s critical infrastructure fell into disrepair,” said HCR Commissioner James S. Rubin. “HCR staff worked with ROC USA, PathStone, the homeowners and the former mortgagee to broker this cooperative agreement. The residents’ rallying cry: “We Own It” has come true – they are in control of not only their homes but the land beneath those homes and now have the power to make decisions and changes that will ensure that those homes are sustainable, viable, and supported by an infrastructure that will not fail them.”

In most manufactured home communities (also known as “mobile home parks”), residents own their homes, but not the land beneath them—making them vulnerable to site rent increases and even eviction, especially if the land should change hands. But when Green Acres came up for sale, the community formed a cooperative-style residents association to purchase the land. The land will belong to the resident corporation’s Members in perpetuity — while preserving affordable housing in a prime Southern Tier location.

ROC USA, a national non-profit organization that helps residents of for-sale manufactured home parks form resident corporations and buy their communities, provided the first mortgage. ROC USA Capital Managing Director Michael Sloss said: “The Woodlands Community is a lovely community, but there are major infrastructure needs that need to be addressed.  HCR really stepped up to the plate by committing to lend up to $4.1 million if public grant funding does not become available for the various projects, which include sewer, water and electrical infrastructure. We also wish to congratulate The Woodlands Community’s Board of Directors, who have been working very hard for about the last year in order to make resident ownership of their community a reality. They are extremely dedicated to making their community a better place for the families that live there, and to preserving it for the long haul.”     

Currently, 71 of The Woodlands Community homes are owner-occupied; the other 20 are owned by the Park and will now be owned by the cooperative and offered for sale to current renters, giving them the opportunity to become owners and members of the cooperative. The lot rents are $325 per month for all home sites. Each home has cable, electric, and telephone service, all separately paid by the residents. Heating and cooking are fueled by either electricity or gas. Each unit has a driveway with room for at least two vehicles, accessible by a paved, two-lane, private roadway. The Park has concrete sidewalks, lighting, patios, carports, utility hookups, limited landscaping, fencing and signage. In addition, there are four community buildings including an office, central mail box location and utility building.

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A December, 2015 survey of the property found that much of the Park's infrastructure needs upgrading. There are six to eight different sanitary systems that have failed recently and are in urgent need of repair. Each system now requires monthly or biweekly septic tank pumping. Under the terms of the loan, these systems will be replaced by hooking the entire community up to the public sewer system as part of the planned capital improvements expected to be completed within approximately three years of the acquisition. Other planned capital improvements include replacing the undersized, poorly maintained water system and the inadequate electrical system, along with repairing deteriorating roads

PathStone Corporation, a certified technical assistance provider with ROC USA® Network, is providing advice and technical assistance to the new cooperative, under the terms of the transaction. Assistance includes continuous co-op board training, leadership transition assistance, help working with professional management agents, and other kinds of operational technical assistance over the long term. PathStone is a regional non-profit organization that helps residents of for-sale manufactured home parks form resident corporations and buy their communities. PathStone will continue to provide technical assistance to the co-op for the length of the mortgage—at least 10 years.

Financing for the total $5.05 million transaction came from ROC USA Capital which provided the first mortgage on the new cooperative. HCR’s Housing Finance Agency (HFA) through its Manufactured Home Cooperative Fund Program (MHCFP), which provided a 10-year second mortgage loan of $1.6 million to help the homeowners association purchase the community.  Up to $2.5 million more can be drawn down from the HFA loan in order to make necessary capital improvements over the next several years. HFA also provided a $470,000 grant through the Infrastructure Development Demonstration Program (IDDP) to fund the repair and replacement of community infrastructure.

Stuart J Mitchell, PathStone President and CEO stated: "PathStone Corporation is honored to be a member of the team that has created a new and transformational life for the Green Acres Mobile Home Park. Because of the extraordinary leadership of a team of community leaders, elected officials, NYS Homes & Community Renewal and persistent, expert leadership from PathStone Corporation and ROC USA staff, Green Acres is now owned by the people who raise their families in the park. It was their vision, leadership, tenacity and entrepreneurial drive that made this conversion from private ownership to co-op ownership possible. We are committed to support the Board of Directors of Green Acres Mobile Home Park as they work together, invest significant financial and personal resources in order to restore the beauty and financial sustainability of this critically important community asset. For the first time families living in this community will experience a real return on their investment."

Randy Gerow, president of the community’s interim Board of Directors, said the neighborhood was quick to pounce on the purchase opportunity. “PathStone came in and wanted to set up a meeting with us. Andrea Miller from PathStone told us about resident ownership and two of us really grabbed it and went with it,” Gerow said. “Soon after we decided it was time to get on the stick and get people involved and next thing you know we had a full board of directors.”

This is the fifth manufactured home cooperative that PathStone and ROC USA – in partnership with HCR – have assisted in New York. Others are: Marilla Country Gardens in Alden, Erie County; Champion Homes in Elbridge, Onondaga County; Meadow Valley in Unadilla, Otsego County; and Venture Lake Estates in Hyde Park, Dutchess County. With the closing of The Woodlands Community, PathStone and ROC USA have helped a total of 518 New York manufactured home residences benefit from cooperative ownership. In this model, homeowners in the community each buy one low-cost share and become members of the resident corporation, with one vote on matters of the community. They elect a Board of Directors to act on day-to-day issues and vote on larger matters like the annual budget, by-laws and community rules.

The State’s Manufactured Home Cooperative Fund Program (MHCFP), is a revolving loan program created to assist residents in manufactured home parks to purchase the land underlying their homes, make infrastructure improvements, and form cooperatives. By owning and managing their parks, residents are able to take greater control over their housing costs and living conditions. The MHCFP was created in 1988 and to date, 19 loans totaling more than $25.3 million in MHCFP funds have assisted more than 1,380 families move to cooperative ownership of their parks.

 

About the Partners

New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) includes the Affordable Housing Corporation, the Division of Housing and Community Renewal, the Housing Finance Agency, State of New York Mortgage Agency, Housing Trust Fund Corporation and others. 2016 marks the fourth year of Governor Cuomo’s $1 billion statewide House NY program, whose goal is to create or preserve 14,300 affordable units by 2018. In 2015, HCR set a record for financing the creation or preservation of more than 11,000 affordable homes and apartments and was the #1 bond issuer in the nation with $2.5 billion issued. The agency stands ready to make good on the Governor’s new $10 billion 100,000 unit House NY 2020 commitment. For more information on HCR programs and initiatives, please visit: http://www.nyshcr.org/.

ROC USA (www.rocusa.org) is a non-profit organization with a national network of eight organizations (such as PathStone) and a national financing source for co-ops. ROC USA® is sponsored by the Ford Foundation, NeighborWorks® America, NCB Capital Impact, the Corporation for Enterprise Development, and the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund. The Community Loan Fund, a non-profit community development financial institution in New Hampshire, leveraged its experience with 108 resident-owned communities in that state to launch ROC USA with national partners in May 2008. Since then, ROC USA Network has helped 99 communities preserve 6,516 homes in 14 states.

Begun in 1969, PathStone (www.pathstone.org) is a private, not-for-profit regional community development and human service organization providing services to farmworkers, low-income families and economically depressed communities throughout New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio, Indiana, Vermont, Virginia and Puerto Rico. PathStone has successfully operated a wide array of programs funded by federal, state, local, faith-based and private sources.