Manufactured Home Residents Own and Run Their Community

Frank Ellis, a 73-year-old semi-retired machinist, and his wife Joanne, 71, were looking for a quiet place to live after their kids moved out. They quickly found a "quiet, close-knit community" of manufactured homes in Raymond, New Hampshire.

In addition to the solitude, the Ellis' were attracted to the fact that they could not only own the home, but also the land beneath it - thanks to the Lilac Drive Co-op. Roughly one-third of the 17 million Americans who own manufactured homes do not own the land their house sits on. As a result, residents are often evicted under short notice leaving them in financial turmoil or homeless.

The Lilac Drive Co-op was established by the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund (NHCLF), an organization that provides the financing and support that people with low and moderate incomes need to have affordable housing. Frank Ellis is the president of the Lilac Drive Co-op. Prosperity Now, NHCLF, Ford Foundation, Fannie Mae, NeighborWorks America and NCB Capital Impact all helped in the formation of ROC USA in 2008.

Aside from eviction, manufactured homeowners - many of whom function on low incomes - are vulnerable to excessive rent hikes on land, exorbitant home financing rates and home value depreciation.

"There's people in here on a fixed income," said Frank. "We don't have a lot of finance options for things like if a water heater goes."

But the new co-op has provided Frank with hope that all of that will change.

"Now they're gonna get better interest rates and be able to borrow," he said. "We feel even though the housing market is down, the investment we made to move here is going to pay off."

Related Content