Fisherville Mobile Home Park
CDFI: New Hampshire Community Loan Fund
Loan type: Land trust

In New Hampshire, as in many states, some of the most affordable living situations, especially for families, are mobile home parks. The only problem is that mobile home owners traditionally do not have any control over the land on which their homes reside. Rents can be doubled without warning, and residents can be evicted to make room for commercial development or high-priced condominiums.

The Fisherville park had been deteriorating for some time, but residents were galvanized to action when the owner announced he was going to sell to another operator who had an even worse reputation. Some of the residents heard about the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund, a CDFI that specializes in financing limited-equity takeovers in which the residents of mobile home parks purchase the land.

According to Robin Cutter, one of the residents who spearheaded the drive to buy the park, "About 80% of our tenants fall below the low-income guidelines for this county. We didn't even have a pot to piss in! But then we heard about the work of the New Hampshire Loan Fund, and now, after much organizing, bake sales to help pay lawyers bills, and endless meetings, we actually own the park! It’s home now to 56 families, over 50 children, and at last count, 38 dogs and 87 cats! And no one can throw us out!"

It took three years. But since the Fisherville tenants created a land trust to buy the park, they have repaired sewer, water, and electrical services and rehabilitated an abandoned trailer to serve as a community center. The sense of security and community has inspired many residents to give attention to the aesthetics of their own spaces. Monthly payments are no higher than their old rents, and a new-found sense of community is evident.

Read other real stories
Go to home page