Cooperative Housing - Get in on the Ground Floor!
Have you ever wanted to live cooperatively and escape the exploitation of the capitalist profit-driven housing market? Are you sick of skyrocketing rents in a time of stagnating wages and never having a say? We are exploring several different cooperative housing models here in Humboldt. If you're passionate, committed, and interested in living in and/or co-owning housing cooperatively, we would like to chat with you!
What is a Housing Cooperative?
A housing cooperative is a property that is collectively owned and/or managed. It can be a house with multiple rooms, or an entire apartment building. Rather than a single landlord owning the whole property, able to charge tenants whatever they want, the property is either owned and run democratically by the tenants themselves, or owned and managed by a Community Land Trust.. The point is to treat housing as a human right, and eliminate the profit motive.
What might a housing cooperative look like here in Humboldt?
Multiple individuals would live together in a large house, cottage courtyard, or apartment complex. The property would likely be held in a land trust. Ideally, the residents could be earning shares in the buildings through their monthly payments (building equity instead of merely paying rent).
Over time, we envision creating a local network of housing cooperatives, each designed to serve the specific needs of its residents. One of the most crucial places we’ve noted a need for affordable, non-exploitative housing is for students, who right now must balance their course loads against rising rents and predatory landlords. We are also observing a pressing need for family co-housing.
Because the specifics around the first project will depend so much on who is going to live there, and what their skills and passions are, we are now convening a group of folks who would actually want to live at the first housing cooperative. Cooperation Humboldt can offer resources, and support, but ultimately this project will only happen if folks who want to live in cooperative housing come together. This means active, direct participation.
How will it be funded?
Through a collaborative process, the future residents of the cooperative, with support from Cooperation Humboldt staff and volunteers, will create a proposal and budget for developing their project.
Utilizing existing connections and resources, Cooperation Humboldt will work to secure capital from social impact investors and other funders. This will be largely loaned money, not grants, so the proposal will need to include details about how the funds will be repaid. This will likely be largely through the residents' equity payments (which will take the place of rent), though other possible income streams are possible depending on the theme/focus of the housing cooperative.
How do I participate?
We're actively looking to network with folks interested in exploring what it would mean to live in cooperative housing. If you are interested, please complete this brief survey. We hope to convene an initial meeting soon!
Want to learn more?
- The National Association of Housing Cooperatives has an in-depth FAQ on everything you could want to know about housing cooperatives.
- SFGate offers this overview of housing cooperatives and how they’re typically run.
- Housing Humboldt is a local non-profit that developed two housing projects as community land trusts: Windsong Duets and Plum Village.
- The North American Students Cooperation (NASCO) has excellent information on student housing cooperatives!