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Blueprint for a Co-operative Decade

A Co-operative Housing Perspective

To support the International Co-operative Alliance Blueprint launched in 2012, Co-operative Housing International has produced an interpretation for the international co-operative housing movement.

Unlike other forms of consumer co-operative (of which housing co-operatives are a particular form), housing co-op members patronise their co-ops on a continuing, daily basis. The opportunities for member engagement in the democratic and community life of the co-op are therefore much more readily available as fully as possible without over-taxing the members’ time and attention.

In terms of sustainability, housing co-operatives seek to achieve economic, social and environmental sustainability. Housing co-ops must always take the long view in financial planning and revenue generation.

They also have the great advantage of also being communities of place. In doing so, housing co-ops contribute to the stock of social capital locally, and in the aggregate, regionally and nationally. Figures also show that housing co-ops want to contribute to a healthy environment. As housing businesses, co-ops have great potential to achieve that objective.

When it comes to identity, housing co-ops have two advantages – it is easy for them to draw members together at voluntary events and explain the co-op vision. Co-ops have a “storefront” presence in their neighbourhoods. They are visible reminders of the existence of co-operatives in housing.

Housing co-ops need enabling legislation for their establishment and corporate good standing, for adequate governance structures, and for the establishment of the rights and responsibilities of members.

As to capital, housing co-operatives have a distinct advantage in this environment. Because, in seeking sources of investing, they are in the process of becoming or already are owners of real-estate assets, they can make use of a tool common to homeownership everywhere – mortgage financing and refinancing.

The Blueprint is available in English, French, Spanish and German, click here.


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