Benefits of Housing Cooperatives

Control and stability:

      • By operating under the principle of one member one vote co-ops bring control and housing stability back. They return decision-making and ownership to the collective hands of the residents. This ensures that the co-op will continue to serve the needs of its members and it also ensures livable housing conditions and fair treatment as long as the co-op exists.

2. Affordability

      • Cooperatives make housing more affordable by removing the profit motive out of the housing industry and prioritising the needs of its members. Since housing cooperatives operate under a non-for profit structure, any money left is usually reinvested into the organisation itself either to improve its conditions or invest in new appliances; or it is divided amongst members according to user fees. Furthermore, the cost of rent is set to cover all necessary expenses without the need to make a profit margin.

3. Security

      1. A member’s right to live in the co-op is protected as they can live in the cooperative for as long as the want given that they adhere to the rules and pay their housing fees on time. Tenants of a housing cooperative will never be evicted for profit so members can live there for extended periods of time. This not only promotes a sense of security but also has the side effect of fostering community engagement since individuals know they will be a part of that neighbourhood for a long time.

4. Education

      1. Cooperatives make life skills and education available to their members through facilitating training and workshops, and consequently by teaching its members how to direct and oversee the day-to-day management of the co-op. Bookkeeping, maintenance, and community outreach are all skills that co-op members end up learning through their lived experiences.

5. Community Engagement & Social Cohesion

      1. As previously mentioned, because housing cooperatives provide a sense of security it also indirectly fosters community engagement as tenants are more prone to interact with their communities if they know they will stay in the neighbourhood for a prolonged period of time. Likewise by working collectively to run their housing, co-op members develop broader forms of interaction and oftentimes develop relationships.

    1. In terms of social cohesion, housing cooperatives in Canada and all around the world have been known to create a welcoming environment for new immigrants, and they have overcame one of the negative features of private housing by effectively bringing in together a mix of low and moderate income households of diverse backgrounds to create a well integrated community.