Kevin Walker: We Own it! The Promise, Impact, and Lessons of Resident Ownership in Manufactured Housing Communities
CRP 2015 Spring Colloquium Series
Kevin Walker (M.R.P. '00) serves as housing development director of Northcountry Cooperative Foundation. In that capacity, he has worked on conversions of eight manufactured housing communities to resident ownership in transactions totaling over $20 million in development costs. He has also helped lead placement, lease-up, and sale of close to $2 million worth of manufactured homes, mostly in Minnesota resident-owned communities.
In between engagements with Northcountry and another nonprofit engaged in cooperative development, Walker served as a senior project coordinator and then manager of multifamily housing for the City of Minneapolis. During his time in Cornell's master's program of city and regional planning, Walker was an active leader, representing his class in the Graduate and Professional Students Assembly. He also reorganized the Graduate Student Forum to invite speakers to contribute to the academic and professional life of the CRP program. Upon graduation, he received the Thomas MacKesey Prize and Peter Andrews Memorial Thesis Prize. Walker graduated from Swarthmore College with high honors in political science in 1995.
Nationally, there are nearly nine million manufactured homes in the U.S.; nearly two-thirds of these are owner-occupied. Throughout the country, residents have organized cooperatives so as to obtain direct ownership and control of the land beneath their homes. In short, resident ownership, by shifting collective tenure closer to fee-simple ownership, has provided a basis for low- and moderate-income households to attain long-term security, support investment over disinvestment, and build assets over time.
In this presentation, Walker reflects on the promise, impact, and lessons of resident ownership as sponsored by his small nonprofit organization in Minneapolis in eight co-op conversions affecting roughly 500 households in Minnesota and Wisconsin.