A business which began in Cedaredge 10 years ago has expanded to be the fifth largest chain of mobile home parks in the United States, with a company focus of offering safe, clean, affordable housing.
RV Horizons was started by Dave Reynolds in 2007 out of his garage in Cedaredge with one mobile home park. The company still has its headquarters here, as well as an office in Denver. "But it's really a Cedaredge-incubated company," said Daniel Roacho, the regional sales manager. "The company has really grown out of this community."
And grown it has. From one mobile home park 10 years ago, the company today manages 272 communities in 29 different states. On the Western Slope, it manages five communities in Durango, Grand Junction, Montrose, Bayfield and Pagosa Springs.
What sets RV Horizons apart from its competition is its dedication to offering its tenants access to affordable housing, Roacho said. "We focus on owning and managing manufactured housing communities, and for us that means basically providing an avenue for affordable housing wherever that location may be," he said. There is a huge shortage of affordable housing options in the U.S., and RV Horizons is trying to combat that problem one community at a time. "We pride ourselves on giving avenues for affordable housing for our residents," Roacho said. "We give the opportunity for homeownership and we help people achieve that dream of home ownership. Affordability is definitely something we believe in firmly."
The company addresses the problem on several different angles, but all come down to just one thing: making sure its tenants are able to live in a home they can afford, a home that is safe, clean, comfortable and reliable, surrounded by neighbors they know and trust -- all those pieces of the American Dream of homeownership, which everyone should have access to, Roacho said.
The communities managed by the company offer both rental homes and homes for purchase. If people own their own manufactured home, RV Horizons can rent out space in one of its communities. The company focuses on buying properties that have been neglected by a previous owner, and rehabilitating the property into something that offers better living conditions. They buy either individual homes or entire parks or communities, bring them back to desirable living quarters, and then rent or sell those homes, always keeping the rents or mortgages low enough to allow people from all income levels to get into a home of their own.
"We have folks at all income levels," Roacho said. Some are squeaking by on Social Security; others may have past credit issues who don't qualify with traditional mortgage lenders. He said they also see people who self-deny their ability to buy a home -- people who simply think their income or credit issues aren't good enough to purchase their own home, so they don't even try. "What we find often times that we're able to help them," he said. "We have people who come from a lot of different situations who are able to buy a home with us."
The company has its own funding programs and consumer-friendly programs in place to help with purchasing or rent-to-own, and also works with the Section 8 voucher program, which just recently expanded to include purchase options. Tenants who seek to live in one of the communities managed by RV Horizons must go through a background check as well as meet certain income requirements.
Another cool component of the company is the many ways it gives back to the community, Roacho said. For instance, in one park they manage, one of the tenants was unable to afford some minor refurbishing projects in his home. Staffers in that local community spent a weekend sprucing up the man's yard and painting his home - all at no cost to the tenant. That program is called Hug A Home. The company, on a few occasions, has been able to out and out give a home to someone, usually a veteran. The company also organizes park events and celebrations for its tenants. Locally, Reynolds mentors a handful of Cedaredge High School students each year through an internship program.
"I'm very proud of the company and what we've been able to do, all while also keeping the very important option of affordable housing for our residents," Roacho said.
Locally, RV Horizons employs 50 people in the Cedaredge office, 131 people in the state, and nationwide almost 750 people.