Co-operative housing can take various forms and accommodate a range of tenure options, including rent, installment sale, or sectional title. It can bridge the divide between individual ownership and rental housing and can be developed through such methods as social housing institutions, or through the People’s Housing Process.
Co-operative housing is usually aimed at providing affordable housing for low to moderate-income people. It can be applied to any range of income groups, from people living in high quality inner city new built housing, to very poor people coming together to build houses by self help or mutual aid.
Cooperative members, regardless of their income, are given the opportunity for permanent tenure – stabilizing their lives and their community.
Build community spirit. Cooperatives help to foster a strong feeling of community among their members. The members learn to work together and form bonds with one another – by so doing taking control of their cooperative
Lower operating and maintenance costs. The members of a housing cooperative can take on responsibilities to help reduce the operating and maintenance costs of their cooperative. They can, for example, work on and with their elected board of directors and designated committees to care for the cooperative property they occupy and use and also the green areas of the cooperative, preserve and maintain the common property of the cooperative, and help with the management of the cooperative.
Provide a positive community environment. The members of a housing cooperative can be counted on to support reasonable programs to fight vandalism, reduce crime, reduce traffic nuisance and improve their environment in their cooperative community. The cooperative offers the members the mechanism to channel their energies and efforts to solve problems that they may confront such as inadequate trash collection, the need for additional urban services, and other problems. Cooperatives can exercise internal control to prevent speculation and illegal sale, sub-letting or transfer of houses.
Demonstrate value of working together. Housing cooperatives can demonstrate their members the value of group action to address a common problem. This will encourage them, and serve as a model, to use a group approach to resolve other common problems such as savings and credit, consumer, production and marketing and un- and under- employment.
Expansion to other activities. A co-operative provides a legal and organizational structure for expanding into other co-operative activities, such as income-generating businesses.