Mobile Home Parks and Cooperatives

On the same day that The Guardian reports on the plight of mobile home owners about to lose their rental real estate, the 99% Invisible podcast reports on a very similar situation in Utah that was ultimately resolved when the residents, with external support, united in a cooperative and acquired the land themselves.

Shirlene and the other residents of Applewood fought for several years to stay in their homes. There were a lot of twists and turns, late nights and a whole lot of emails, but eventually, after a lot of public pressure, the development company gave up on the project, and decided to put Applewood up for sale, so Shirlene called ROC USA.

R O C stands for resident-owned communities,” explains Paul Bradley, the President of ROC USA, “and we help homeowners in mobile home parks buy their communities as a co-op.” Bradley has been organizing mobile home co-ops since the 1980s. In New Hampshire, where ROC is based, they even got legislation passed that gives mobile home owners a first option to purchase the land whenever a park goes up for sale. Today, over 25% of mobile home parks in the state are resident-owned.

If there is any place in Canada primed for a movement like this to take hold, surely it’s Prince Edward Island, one of the cradles of the cooperative movement in the country.