Archive for the ‘News’ Category.

Luxury Development is Making Our Housing Crisis Worse

Developers tout increased building as a salve for rising rents, lining their pockets while driving cycles of displacement.

NOVEMBER 04, 2018
by Amee Chew

Rent control. It’s on the ballot in California this November, as tenant campaigns pick up steam across the country and revive an old refrain: “The rent is too damn high!” The real estate industry’s biggest argument in opposition? Rent control will hurt new construction. And – as the developers would have us believe – the only way to pull ourselves out of our dire housing shortage would be by building new construction.

This unquestioning reliance on new construction – a code phrase used by developers to signify for-profit building – is deeply flawed.

For one, for-profit new construction is overwhelmingly geared at the upper end – the luxury market, so to speak. But it’s lower-income households who face the severest affordable housing shortage. While our high-end stock has steadily grown – think towering market-rate apartments downtown – since 1990 on balance we’ve lost over 2.5 million affordable units renting for under $800. To what? In large part, rent increases.

Meanwhile, new units then take decades to depreciate down to prices actually affordable to most renters (see here also). “Trickle down” isn’t happening fast enough.

Even worse, however, new construction actually fuels displacement in the short term – even when no already existing housing is knocked down. Why? Numerous studiesshow market-rate housing development has price effects on surrounding neighborhoods – driving up rents and increasing the burden on lower-income households. Many residents in communities transformed by gentrification can already attest to the connection between for-profit development, rising living costs, and the mass exodus of lower-income residents. Maybe this won’t play out in Malibu, or a sparse neighborhood with very few low-income folk, but otherwise the above effects are widespread in our cities.

Market-rate construction brings wealthy in-movers. One study found that in neighborhoods with an influx of higher-income groups, working-class residents moved at three times the rate of their counterparts in other areas – usually to leave gentrifying communities (see also here and here).

Location – including proximity to high-end development – also affects price changes. During housing booms, it’s the poor neighborhoods bordering rich ones that sufferthe largest rent increases. The trend applies to neighborhoods near transit stationsand luxury housing, too. Prices ripple across place.

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Two grants boost support for business ownership transitions in rural Maine

The Cooperative Development Institute has received two grants totaling more than $400,000 in public and private funds to support business ownership transitions in rural Maine.

National studies show the largest single source of avoidable job loss is from business closings due to owner retirement, and the annual rate of retirement is projected to double over the next 20 years. The problem is much more acute here in Maine because the state has the oldest population in the country — and Washington County has the oldest population in Maine.

CDI said in a news release that a $200,000 grant from the John T. Gorman Foundation will help support the Ownership Transition Initiative, which assists Washington County business owners in developing exit plans that will sustain their businesses after retirement and thereby improve the quantity and quality of jobs in the region.

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An Update from our Friends at the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada: Vision for the Future of Co-op Housing Panel

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At CHF Canada’s 50th anniversary AGM in Victoria, BC, the Vision Panel, sponsored by Vancity Credit Union, was a special exploration of Canada’s urgent housing needs.

Watch highlights from the panel here:

Moderated by co-op member Darrah Teitel from Abiwin Housing Co-op in Ottawa, it featured panelists Margaret Pfoh (Aboriginal Housing Management Association), Paul Kershaw (Generation Squeeze) and Shachi Kurl (Angus Reid Institute).

The Vision Panel touched on issues such as the struggle of Millennials to find housing, the lack of proper and self-determined housing by Indigenous peoples in Canada, and how housing co-ops can be a significant contributor to address these and other urgent housing issues. The panel helped set the context for members’ decision to pass a resolution the following day endorsing a shared vision for Canada’s co-op housing movement.

CDF announces 2019 inductees to the Cooperative Hall of Fame

Four outstanding cooperative leaders will receive the cooperative community’s most prestigious honor on May 8, 2019, when they are inducted into the Cooperative Hall of Fame.

The inductees are: Terry Appleby, retired General Manager of Hanover Consumer Cooperative Society; Richard L. Ensweiler, retired president and CEO of Cornerstone Credit Union League; Anne Reynolds, former Executive Director of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Center for Cooperatives; and Richard Stammer, retired president and CEO of Agri-Mark Inc. and Cabot Creamery Cooperative.

These cooperative leaders will be recognized at the annual Cooperative Hall of Fame dinner and induction ceremony at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on the evening of May 8, 2019. In conjunction with the ceremony, a public forum on cooperative development and leadership will be held in the afternoon.

“This year’s Hall of Fame inductees reflect the very best co-op values. Their life stories inspire us. Their demonstrated commitment to co-op principles and their achievements have strengthened co-ops and made a real and lasting difference in the lives of people and the viability of communities,” said Rich Larochelle, chair of the Cooperative Development Foundation, which manages the Hall of Fame.

Read more about this year’s inductees.

The 2019 Hall of Fame dinner and induction ceremony will take place the evening of May 8. Save the date!

The 6th Principle Coalition (6PC) Launches Interactive Housing Co-op Map

The 6th Principle Coalition (6PC) is proud to launch its website: The primary feature of the site is an interactive map that includes every limited-equity and affordable housing co-op in the US and Canada, as well as all the organizations that work with and support housing co-ops, including cooperative-friendly service vendors. Each location on the map can host comments and uploaded content such as images in addition to the base information. Whether you live in a co-op or work to support and create co-ops, you can interact with the map, add information, suggest corrections and connect with others.

Soon, the site will host more resources for the co-op community such as pre-recorded webinars, training manuals, sample governing documents, and other shared best practices. As an extension of the work of the 6th Principle Coalition, this website will serve the existing needs of the limited-equity co-op community, and work as a platform to connect and coordinate initiatives to grow the community.