I am writing today to ask readers to reach out to state legislators for full support for L.D. 1338, an Act to Create and Sustain Jobs through Development of Cooperatives and Employee-owned Businesses. By providing some tax relief to business and mobile home park owners, this bill would encourage them to sell to workers or residents.

Resident-owned cooperatives give residents the opportunity for ownership and empower them to take pride in that ownership. It gives us all a sense of accomplishment, new friends, safety and security. Resident-owned cooperatives give the residents control of their future. They operate with an all-volunteer board of directors made up of residents elected by the members.

Most privately held mobile home parks are governed by their profit margin or how much they increase their portfolio value. A co-op’s expenses are budgeted and paid out of the operating funds generated by rent collections.

There is no profit; the money goes back into the park. We aren’t in this to make money, but to provide the best possible living situations for years to come.

We are all aware of the shortage of affordable housing, a place where seniors can age in place in the comfort of their own home, an affordable place for veterans to live, and a place for young couples just starting on life’s journey to begin their trek. Our cooperative is a mixture of all these groups – neighbors helping neighbors.

Giving all mobile home parks the opportunity to become resident-owned when the current owners are ready to sell is a good, sound investment for the state of Maine, and a much-needed shot in the arm for affordable housing.

Dale E. Whitmore

Freeport