The plan for a mobile home cooperative is about to be financed by city bonds

San Antonio – The City of San Antonio plans to use a portion of its first housing bond to help establish the city’s first RV park cooperative.

As part of the second round of proposals to use bonds and federal dollars, city officials on Wednesday recommended helping fund a plan to purchase a South Side RV park and convert it into a cooperative. This means that the tenants of the 56-site Riverside Terrace on Mission Road would then own the park and have the power to set rents and make any improvements.

City officials recommended approving just under $2.9 million of the $150 million housing loan along with $250,000 in fee waivers. The City Council is scheduled to vote on the $3.1 million grant on June 8. The total development cost of the project is US$5.5 million.

The non-profit ROC USA would assist in the purchase of the mobile home park and its conversion into a cooperative. It currently works with 308 “resident communities” in 21 states.

Angela Romeo, ROC vice president of acquisitions, said mobile and manufactured homes in the United States are a hybrid of homeownership and rentals. Residents of the parks often own their homes but must rent the underlying property, which is currently the case with Riverside Terrace.

That leaves homeowners vulnerable to rent increases in this situation and also to a lack of investment in the park, she said. So the biggest advantages of a cooperative are security and control.

“And so all the money that they’re raising in the form of property rents goes back into the community itself,” Romeo said. “You have a voice and control and a say in the improvements made. If they want to set up a playground for children or install sidewalks, they don’t have to go to the landlord and ask them to make those improvements.”

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ROC plans to speak to residents of Riverside Terrace next week.

Romeo said this is the first cooperative RV park in San Antonio and only the third in Texas. In 2020, ROC announced that an Austin RV park was the second to go cooperative.

Veronica Garcia, director of the Neighborhood and Housing Services Division, said it was the only plan the staff recommended for acquiring a mobile home park under the bond. Should another similar project come about, city officials would have to recommend part of the additional bond funds earmarked for pursuing other “creative projects.”

Half of the housing loan is earmarked for the construction or maintenance of affordable rental housing. In addition, money is earmarked for the renovation and maintenance of their own houses, a small amount for the construction of new houses and a portion for permanent housing for people affected by homelessness.

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