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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.