Blueprint for a Cooperative Decade – A Cooperative Housing Perspective
To support the International Cooperative Alliance Blueprint launched in 2012, Cooperative Housing International has produced an interpretation for the international cooperative housing movement.
Unlike other forms of consumer cooperative (of which housing cooperatives are a particular form), housing cooperative members patronize their cooperatives on a continuing, daily basis. The opportunities for member engagement in the democratic and community life of the cooperative are therefore much more readily available as fully as possible without over-taxing the members’ time and attention.
In terms of sustainability, housing cooperatives seek to achieve economic, social, and environmental sustainability. Housing cooperatives 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 cooperatives contribute to the stock of social capital locally, and in the aggregate, regionally, and nationally. Figures also show that housing coops want to contribute to a healthy environment. As housing businesses, coops have great potential to achieve that objective.
When it comes to identity, housing cooperatives have two advantages – it is easy for them to draw members together at voluntary events and explain the cooperative vision. Coops have a “storefront” presence in their neighborhoods. They are visible reminders of the existence of cooperatives in housing.
Housing cooperatives 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 cooperatives 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.