Friday, December 17, 2010

Coverage by WFCR of the Quabbin Sunrise Cooperative conversion, 12/14/10

WFCR, the public radio station for Western Massachusetts, aired the following story during its Tuesday morning news program on December 14, 2010.
"An organization that funds cooperative housing ventures is announcing a new resident owned mobile home park in western Massachusetts. Residents of the Oakwood Mobile Home Park in Ware recently bought the development where many of them had been living in their own trailers for years and paying rent to a land-owner. A nonprofit called ROC-USA loaned residents 1.75 million dollars for the 100- acre property, so they could form what's called the Quabbin Sunrise Cooperative. Cooperative treasurer Steve Varnum -- who's lived in his mobile home almost 30 years -- says residents were tired of having no control over maintenance issues and rent increases. He says about half of the 65 residents bought into the coop -- by paying a one-time fee of a hundred dollars.
Steve Varnum: "We have control over everything we can do, that's what we wanted, once we found out the place was for sale. And several of us thought this would be a great idea."
Varnum says each cooperative member pays $345 a month in rent, which is the same rent they used to pay to their landlord. Non-members pay $20 more. While the cooperative pays about 7 percent interest to ROC-USA, there was no down payment. The deal was facilitated by the Cooperative Development Institute -- or CDI -- which is holding workshops to help the new owners learn how to take care of their property and to work together."

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