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Flourishing Things: Co-operative Housing

Contrary to popular belief, renting an apartment or buying a house aren’t the only available housing options. Non-profit cooperative housing is often overlooked as a viable living arrangement. Members of housing co-ops have a share in the ownership of the building which leads to a wide range of benefits. For starters, co-operative housing members have more control over their own space. This is due to the fact that members, instead of a management company or landlord, make the decisions about how the co-op is governed and maintained. Casting votes at monthly meetings allows for the voices and concerns of all members to be heard. 

Another benefit of living in a housing co-op is the affordability. Monthly housing fees are decided by members in order to cover the costs of maintaining the building. Unlike landlord-owned apartments, there is no incentive to increase rent to make a profit. This keeps housing affordable and sustainable for all residents. In cities where housing is overpriced and crowded, co-ops allow for people to live in spaces that are nicer than they would have been able to afford otherwise. 

Additionally, co-ops are equitable. Upon entrance, members purchase shares of the co-operative corporation. When a member decides to leave the co-op, they are able to sell their shares to receive their initial equity. Depending on the individual co-op, members may also be able to receive part or all of the appreciated value of their shares.

Lastly, living in a housing co-op is a great way to get involved with your community. The shared responsibility between members allows for relationships to thrive and a welcoming environment to be developed. Communal events such as book clubs and movie nights may occur in co-ops, providing even more opportunities to build a strong sense of community.

Cooperative Housing Federation of Canada

Cooperative Housing International

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