USDA Rural Development Oregon State Director Vicki Walker has announced the award of a $121,030 USDA technical assistance grant to help rural residents own and manage their manufactured housing communities as cooperatives.
“By forming cooperatives, residents have the opportunity to purchase and operate the parks where they live,” Walker said. “Control of the land under their homes allows residents to make their own decisions about infrastructure upgrades, health and safety improvements, and the reinvestment of profits to enhance their quality of life.”
The grant was awarded to the nonprofit CASA of Oregon, which will provide technical assistance to five rural manufactured housing cooperatives and expand services to help additional resident groups successfully purchase and operate their manufactured housing parks. The current grant was preceded by $147,200 in USDA funding to CASA of Oregon in 2013 to assist the following rural Oregon manufactured housing communities:
- Horizon Homeowners Cooperative, McMinnville, OR
- Green Pastures Senior Cooperative, Redmond, OR
- Saunders Creek Homeowners Cooperative, Gold Beach, OR
- Vida Lea Community Cooperative, Leaburg, OR
- Bella Vista Estates Cooperative, Boardman, OR
CASA of Oregon’s work with these housing cooperatives was featured in the recent edition of Rural Cooperatives Magazine.
The USDA funding for this effort is provided through the Rural Cooperative Development Grant (RCDG) program. Nationwide, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced $5.8 million in RCDG awards to 32 recipients assisting a variety of agricultural, fishery, grocery, housing, health care, and other rural cooperatives. Funding is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the loan or grant agreement.
Rural Cooperative Development Grants are awarded to nonprofit groups and higher education institutions. The recipients will use the funds to operate centers to develop or expand rural businesses, especially cooperatives and mutually-owned businesses. The funding can be used to conduct feasibility studies, create and implement business plans, offer technical assistance, establish low-interest loans, and help rural businesses develop new markets for their products and services.
President Obama's historic investments in rural America have made our rural communities stronger. Under his leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America's economy, small towns and rural communities.