Nonprofits  August 2, 2022

Nonprofit helps residents buy mobile-home park

FORT COLLINS – Residents of a mobile home park in Fort Collins have formed a nonprofit and purchased the park in a move to preserve affordable housing and secure self-governance.

The $6.8 million purchase of Parklane Mobile Home Park by the new nonprofit, United Neighbors/Vecinos Unidos, was announced Monday.

Parklane, a community of 68 mobile homes established in 1958 and located north of Mulberry Avenue and east of Link Lane, just east of Fort Collins’ city limits, is home to approximately 200 adults and more than 100 children. Many families and individuals have lived in the park for more than 20 years.

Parklane is one of only six mobile home parks in Colorado to move to resident governance

or resident ownership since Colorado’s Mobile Home Park Act was updated in June 2020 to expand opportunities for residents to purchase their communities. Since the amendment went into effect, 69 mobile home parks have sold throughout Colorado. Although the legislation makes it more attainable for residents to purchase, only about 9% of these parks have been sold to residents.

From January 2020 through last July in Larimer County, about 30% of mobile homes – approximately 2,000 out of about 5,700 – are located in parks that have sold to new owners. Until now, none of these parks was sold to residents or resident representatives.

When their landlord notified residents last December that Parklane Mobile Home Park would go up for sale, they gathered to discuss the possibility of purchasing the park. They wanted to remain in their community but feared that a sale would mean rent increases or that the park would be replaced with another development.

Two local nonprofits, The Genesis Project and The Matthews House, helped residents navigate the complex process of making a purchase offer and securing financing. Residents then took the first step, forming a new nonprofit to represent them and naming it United Neighbors/Vecinos Unidos.

The nonprofit, along with residents and many community entities, worked for seven months before the sale became official Monday. Financing included a $1 million forgivable loan from Larimer County, a $2.8 million loan from the Bohemian Foundation and a $3 million loan from the Impact Development Fund.

“We hope that resident ownership and resident governance will become less rare, and that

this sale will inspire residents of other parks,” said UN/VU board member Adry Santiago, an equity-resource specialist with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. “Our Colorado legislators and our community nonprofits recognize that maintaining affordable housing is one of the largest and most important challenges we must tackle.”

Also on the UN/VU board are park resident Sarah Bolduc, a staff member at The Genesis Project and a social worker in the Poudre School District; Matthews House executive director Nicole Armstrong; and Tommi Sue Cox, the principal of Laurel Elementary School, which serves children who live in the mobile-home park.

The next job for residents will be setting up self-governance, including determining rent levels, utility services and maintenance. In the future, they have the option to transition to resident ownership, rather than ownership by the nonprofit ownership.

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