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Oak Crest residents band together

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COEUR DALENE — “One Dollar Hope”

These words are written on the outside of the binder, next to the map of Oak Crest. Oak Crest is a mobile home community in Coeur d’Alene with nearly half of its nearly 500 residents agreeing to form a cooperative in hopes of one day buying the park.

The initial enrollment fee is just $1.

Michael Colm, who has been a resident of Oak Crest since 2019, said:

The move started last August when Utah-based investment firm Havenpark Communities acquired Oak Crest. Residents say rents have increased significantly since then, with many struggling to maintain.

“Everyone is nervous,” said Marie Howell, a widow who has lived in Oak Crest for six years. “I love the park. It’s beautiful. I’m happy wherever I am. But it’s getting very difficult.”

Howell lives on Social Security benefits. There are many people like her in Orc Crest, she said.

Forming a cooperative with her neighbors is an effort to secure their future.

“To protect us all,” she said.

An organization can be formed if 51% of the residents agree to participate. Idaho law requires the seller to notify the organization if the park is put up for sale in the future.

That’s where ROC Northwest comes in. Affiliated with ROC USA, a non-profit organization that helps residents buy their own manufactured housing communities.

ROC Northwest helped facilitate the purchase of over 20 community-owned communities in Washington and Idaho. In these communities he has more than 1,000 people.

In this model, homeowners form a community and collectively own a manufactured housing community. The cooperative is responsible for maintenance, overseeing the annual budget, and managing the vendors. Members continue to own private homes as well as equal shares of land.

Colm said neighbors aren’t forming co-ops to condemn Haven Park.

“We want to have a positive relationship with the current owners,” he said, adding that the park’s management recognizes their efforts.

Since Oak Crest residents began organizing, residents of seven other local mobile home communities have reached out to Victoria O’Banion along with ROC Northwest.

“They are very enthusiastic about becoming a housing cooperative,” O’Banion said. “Some of them have good relationships with their owners and see this as a real possibility.”

More than 100 local mobile home residents attended a resource fair on Saturday at the Coeur d’Alene Public Library, provided by ROC Northwest.

Among them was a heathered shirt. The Mountain where she lives Her View is a 173-unit community in Rathdrum, where residents have recently been given 90 days notice to remove unauthorized structures or face possible eviction. I was.

That included a shirt porch that had been built long before the mobile home was purchased.

“We weren’t going to tear it down and start over,” she said, adding that many of the neighbors would be out of compliance within 90 days.

The Commonwealth Real Estate Service has since given the resident a temporary reprieve, Shirt said.

But the experience has highlighted the precarious position of many mobile home residents.

Apartment dwellers can move in the face of rent increases and other changes, but it’s more complicated for those living in manufactured homes.

“You can’t do that,” said another Oak Crest resident, Turns to the East. “We have to move out. We will lose our home.”

Manufactured homes built after 1976 are expensive and difficult to move once placed. So when rents go up or parks close, many residents are forced to sell their homes.

Shirt owns her home and can afford the $450 monthly rent. But neighbors remember just a few years ago, when her rent was $320 a month, she said.

She hears costs are rising in communities like Oak Crest and wonders what the future holds.

“This was an affordable way for me to keep my own home,” she said. “That’s why most of us are there because it’s affordable.”

Currently, less than 50 residents are required to agree to join a housing cooperative. The column is optimistic. His neighbor accepted.

“I think we’ll get there,” he said with a smile.

Information: Victoria O’Banion (308-991-5663) or [email protected]

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