A Press Release From PNW Co-Ops
July 6, 2021 – In June three manufactured housing communities in Central Washington were added to the ROC Northwest portfolio of Resident Owned Communities (ROC), preserving over 200 affordable homes. Bringing the grand total to 20 ROCs in Washington. A ROC is a housing cooperative business comprised of resident members that own their homes. Collectively they democratically manage the business using lot fees to cover the cost of maintaining the property. In total an estimated 450 people, including adults and children, will benefit from these acquisitions.
· Royal Coachman Homeowners Cooperative, in Royal City, closed on June 8 preserving 59 total units.
· Quail Run Homeowners Cooperative, in Moses Lake, closed on June 9 preserving 66 total units.
· Selah Hills Homeowners Cooperative, in Selah, closed on June 30 preserving 104 total units.
Residents of Royal Coachman Homeowners Cooperative have been fighting for their community since 2015 when they filed a class action lawsuit with support from Colombia Legal Services. Residents were dealing with unfair housing practices and the City was close to turning off community water due to an outstanding debt owed by the community owner. After several years they won their battle in court, requiring the community to be managed by a bankruptcy trustee. After nearly a year of dispute and several last-minute funding challenges, the Homeowners Cooperative was able to finally purchase their community.
“This didn’t feel possible,” said Francisco Jaimes, Royal Coachman Homeowners Cooperative, Interim Board of Directors President. “We can now live in peace and know that our children can live here for as long as they need.”
Quail Run Homeowners Cooperative and Selah Hills Homeowners Cooperative were acquired from the same investor owner as part of a portfolio purchase. The residents of these communities are committed to resident ownership and are eager to make critical improvements to deferred system maintenance.
“Preserving affordable housing in Central Washington helps set the standard for all of Washington,” said Diane Gasaway, Executive Director, Northwest Cooperative Development Center. “The ROC USA model allows us to work with residents and empower them to form a sustainable housing cooperative, taking control over their communities.”
The mission of the ROC Northwest program of Northwest Cooperative Development Center in Olympia is to purchase communities and convert investor-owned manufactured housing communities to resident owned housing cooperatives. According to National Low Income Housing Coalition, 68% of extremely low income Washingtonians renters are extremely cost burdened. On average investor-owned communities annually increase lot rent 3 percent more compared to ROCs. For example, if rent is $475 dollars at the time of conversion. After 15 years rent would be about $840 in an investor-owned community compared to about $540, saving that homeowner over $22,000 during that period.
Inslee announces eviction moratorium “bridge”
June 24, 2021Story Gov. Jay Inslee announced a “bridge” proclamation today between the eviction moratorium and the housing stability programs put in place by the Legislature. The bridge is effective July 1 through September 30.
More than $650 million of federal relief dollars allocated to assist renters is predicted to be available beginning in July. This is in addition to the $500 million dollars previously released by the Department of Commerce to local governments for rental assistance and will help more than 80,000 landlords and renters.
“As we all know, COVID has had a significant economic impact on our state and a lot of Washingtonians are still experiencing financial hardships. That is why I put an eviction moratorium in place last year,” Inslee said during a press conference Thursday. “These are all reasonable steps and will help ensure that renters and landlords have the opportunity to receive support and resources that are available to them.”
The eviction moratorium bridge will allow for a transition to the tenant protections established in SB 5160, including the Eviction Resolution pilot programs and the Right to Counsel program for indigent tenants.
The bridge is not an extension of the existing eviction moratorium, first declared in March 2020. Under the new order, new provisions will support renters and landlords until resources and programs become available.
For past rent due from Feb. 29, 2020 through July 31, 2021, landlords are prohibited from evicting a tenant until there is an operational rental assistance program and eviction resolution program in place in their county. Additionally, landlords are prohibited from treating past unpaid rent or other charges as an enforceable debt until the landlord and tenant have been provided with an opportunity to resolve nonpayment through an eviction resolution pilot program.
Beginning August 1, renters are expected to pay full rent, reduced rent negotiated with landlord, or actively seek rental assistance funding. Landlords may only evict a tenant if none of those actions are being taken but must offer the tenant a reasonable re-payment plan before beginning the eviction process. Tenants must also be provided, in writing, the services and support available.
Hotels and motels, Airbnbs, long-term care facilities and other non-traditional housing are exempt from the order.
The full proclamation and details will be available in the coming days.