Over 200 Homes Preserved During Housing Crisis

July 6, 2021 – In June three manufactured housing communities in Central Washington were added to the ROC Northwest portfolio of Resident Owned Communities (ROC), preserving over 200 affordable homes. Bringing the grand total to 20 ROCs in Washington. A ROC is a housing cooperative business comprised of resident members that own their homes. Collectively they democratically manage the business using lot fees to cover the cost of maintaining the property. In total an estimated 450 people, including adults and children, will benefit from these acquisitions.

Residents of Royal Coachman Homeowners Cooperative have been fighting for their community since 2015 when they filed a class action lawsuit with support from Colombia Legal Services. Residents were dealing with unfair housing practices and the City was close to turning off community water due to an outstanding debt owed by the community owner. After several years they won their battle in court, requiring the community to be managed by a bankruptcy trustee. After nearly a year of dispute and several last-minute funding challenges, the Homeowners Cooperative was able to finally purchase their community.

“This didn’t feel possible,” said Francisco Jaimes, Royal Coachman Homeowners Cooperative, Interim Board of Directors President. “We can now live in peace and know that our children can live here for as long as they need.”

Quail Run Homeowners Cooperative and Selah Hills Homeowners Cooperative were acquired from the same investor owner as part of a portfolio purchase. The residents of these communities are committed to resident ownership and are eager to make critical improvements to deferred system maintenance.

“Preserving affordable housing in Central Washington helps set the standard for all of Washington,” said Diane Gasaway, Executive Director, Northwest Cooperative Development Center. “The ROC USA model allows us to work with residents and empower them to form a sustainable housing cooperative, taking control over their communities.”

The mission of the ROC Northwest program of Northwest Cooperative Development Center in Olympia is to purchase communities and convert investor-owned manufactured housing communities to resident-owned housing cooperatives. According to National Low Income Housing Coalition, 68% of extremely low-income Washingtonians renters are extremely cost-burdened. On average investor-owned communities annually increase lot rent by 3 percent more compared to ROCs. For example, if rent is $475 dollars at the time of conversion. After 15 years rent would be about $840 in an investor-owned community compared to about $540, saving that homeowner over $22,000 during that period.