Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, ROC USA is committed to promoting positive stories from our communities. ROCs are Better Together, and these stories are great examples of community.
What’s going on in your neighborhood? Have your neighbors been cooking meals, sewing masks for medical workers, or participating in the community bear hunt craze? To feature your ROC on this list, email Sammi Chickering, digital media specialist, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Conifer Green – Kingston, Mass.
At Conifer Green in Kingston, Mass., Members completed their first successful Membership vote amid state regulations preventing in-person meetings. They needed a Membership vote to approve a $20,000 expenditure to repair leaks and mold in the clubhouse.
Ten days before the vote, the Board sent an email with an explanation about the issue and the vote. The email provided contact information for people to call with questions or concerns.
Then, the Board put in place a series of robocalls using DialMyCalls.com. The first call informed residents a time frame in which ballots would be dropped off on each resident’s steps.
A second call 24 hours later informed residents when to leave their completed ballots outside for pickup by the Board. The third call announced the result of the vote, which was approved by an overwhelming majority.
The board was very pleased with the result of the vote – out of 63 households, they received votes from 58 (92%), easily surpassing the 51 percent in-favor requirement.
Deanbrook Village Co-op – Groveton, N.H.
A Member of Deanbrook Village Co-op in Groveton, N.H., recently gave the Board a donation of close to $1,200. The Member, Reardon said, asked just two things of the Board: to keep his donation anonymous and to use to help people who were in trouble.
The Board has used the generous gift to help 3 of the ROC’s 40 families. They applied it to the rent of parents who had just come home with a new baby, helped an elderly Member who needed pricey auto repairs and a single mom in need of rent assistance for the month.
Exeter-Hampton Cooperative – Exeter, N.H.
EHC has been hosting nightly “distance” walks. Each evening, community members head outdoors for a walk at the same time, maintaining distance from other households but using the opportunity to get some exercise and socialization. A few of their walks have even been themed – crazy hats, pajamas, and an upcoming spring parade.
Exeter River Cooperative – Exeter, N.H.
At Exeter River Cooperative, a group of thoughtful residents worked together to provide over 90 children in the community with a visit from the Easter bunny on Sunday! The bunny hitched a ride through the community’s eight miles of roads and stopped in driveways to wave to his biggest fans. The bunny team took extra precautions by sanitizing the candy left by the Easter bunny.
Halifax Estates – Halifax, Mass.
At Halifax Estates, a group of residents sewed face masks and assembled care packages for each of the 430 homes in their community.
At Lakeville Village, the social committee built a list of resources called “Helping Hands.” The list provides information about restaurants doing takeout and grocery stores that have senior shopping hours. The Helping Hands list also has a list of residents who are willing to run errands for others. The list also provides contact information for the local hospital. The social committee is making sure the list is updated regularly.
Lakeville Village also has a lending library kiosk on site and they are encouraging their residents to check out books.
The residents at Medalia Mobile Village participated in a town-wide parade, featuring the town’s firefighters, police department, highway department, EMS workers, and teachers. The parade rolled right through the Medalia MV community, and the community’s children loved seeing and waving to their teachers. Social distancing has been particularly hard on the children in this community who are used to playing together – the community playground has also been shut down – so the parade was a memorable experience.
At the Medvil Cooperative in Goffstown, N.H., residents are taking the novel coronavirus COVID-19 very seriously. As a 55-and-over community, many residents find themselves in the category of the most vulnerable, and are taking precautions to keep one another safe. At the community’s most recent Board of Directors meeting, the Medvil leadership maintained safe distances from one another as they worked through the best ways to serve their community.
Sadly, all 34 scheduled events for the year have been postponed until further notice. Additionally, the clubhouses have been closed, which is a hit to the community’s many informal game clubs. From an administrative standpoint, the board encouraged its office, membership, and real estate staff to prioritize phone and internet communications and limit interactions with the public.
Northlake Community Homeowners Co-op – Bremerton, Wash.
Northlake Community Homeowners Cooperative in Bremerton was able to offer some relief to its members in the month of April. With many members having lost income due to Covid-19, the co-op board of directors approved a referendum to cut April rents in half and to pay for this out of the co-op reserves. This proposal was then sent out for a ballot vote of the membership where the majority of households voted unanimously to approve the relief. Northlake made this decision with careful consideration of their financial state and made all decisions either on video conference or by drop off ballot vote to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
At Oak Hill Taunton Residents Association in Taunton, Mass., the Board of Directors spent an afternoon calling residents in at-risk categories – those over 65, people with health issues, and residents who live alone or who don’t have a car.
From the phone calls, the board was able to build an errands list to help residents obtain prescriptions, over-the-counter medicines and small food orders.
Pammel Creek Estates – La Crosse, Wash.
Pammel Creek Estates Board Treasurer Geri Bjergum sewed 100 masks for residents of their 54-site community. The onsite manager, Peggy Claflin, enlisted the help of kids in the La Crosse community by driving the golf cart while the kids dropped masks off to each of the 56 homes.
Says Peggy, “We want to thank our residents for their cooperation in following the guidelines and helping keep everyone safe.” Residents were very appreciative of the masks, and Geri is reportedly glad to be done with sewing for a while!
Soda Brook Cooperative – Northfield, N.H.
Last year, Soda Brook Cooperative had some logging work completed that made $17,000 for the co-op. The Board of the 25-unit ROC decided then to set aside the money and decide how to best use it down the road. Fast-forward to April, where the Board voted to give every household a rent holiday because they knew people were struggling financially. Rents totaled about $7,000, so the co-op still has money left over after delivering for every Member.
Prior to COVID-19, Westbury Homeowners Association in Colchester, Vt., was planning on hosting a Member meeting to vote on a set of rules. But the pandemic disrupted the capability to have the meeting, and the co-op needed to look at other options.
With the help of their technical assistance provider, the Cooperative Development Institute, the co-op created a SurveyMonkey poll. They were able to turn off IP address tracking to maintain anonymity and to regulate the poll to one vote per email address, so each household got just one vote.
Admins are able to see who has voted, but not how they voted, which allows for “remember to vote!” follow up emails to be sent to those who haven’t voted yet.
Westbury sees this as an “early voting” option, and so far, 114 of 218 households have cast their votes. Once the cutoff date is reached, the remaining households will receive paper ballots.
(Note: CDI is using a paid version of SurveyMonkey. Some of the features mentioned are not available on the free version.)