Housing Cooperative News

The shield and the sword: Two tools to address the housing crisis

My daughter’s fifth grade teacher had a salary so disconnected from the reality of the San Francisco Bay Area housing market that it could barely cover her rent, much less provide her with the savings to one day live the dream of having a family and owning her own home. So in a pattern repeated by many others, she packed up and moved back to Michigan, where housing prices were much more affordable.

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How advocates are fighting tax laws that hinder cooperative housing

In San Francisco’s Chinatown, community activists jumped in when a 21-unit building housing low-income tenants was threatened with demolition. But even after they pulled together financing to buy the building and convert it to a housing cooperative, they faced a major bureaucratic hurdle: persuading city leaders to tax it differently than commercial rental property.

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City Council enacts building bonuses to boost affordable housing

The Austin City Council has enacted a citywide program that encourages developers to build more affordable housing by allowing them to operate under relaxed building codes on some projects.

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Council passes affordable housing density bonus program

In keeping with its previous support of Council Member Greg Casar’s proposed density bonus program, City Council unanimously approved the Affordability Unlocked bonus program Thursday evening, an ordinance amending city code by loosening site restrictions and promoting construction of more units in affordable and mixed-income housing developments.

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New Study Evaluates Shared Equity Housing Program Performance, Nationwide Impact

33-Year Report Highlights Economic Benefits, Lasting Affordability for Lower-Income Households of Color

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. and WASHINGTON, May 14, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Shared equity homeownership promotes sustainable wealth-building opportunities and lasting affordability for lower-income households, according to new research published by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy in partnership with Grounded Solutions Network.

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Co-ops and condos can’t take this mandate: A new climate change bill would sock ordinary New Yorkers with thousands of dollars in fine

Climate change is a real threat to our future, one that demands collective, forceful action by all New Yorkers in every aspect of their daily lives. The City Council is considering legislation that seeks to meet citywide goals solely by imposing rigid caps on greenhouse gas emissions from most buildings over 25,000 square feet. Unfortunately, the legislation is unfair and promotes an inequitable way to address this grave, shared problem.

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Real estate and unions slam green-building bill

An alliance of property owners and unions claims that the city’s vision for fighting global warming needs to come down to earth.

In a letter to Queens Councilman Costa Constantinides and several members of the committee he chairs, the industry-labor coalition critiques his bill to slash carbon emissions from buildings. The signatories include major property interests—the Rent Stabilization Association, the Real Estate Board of New York and the Council of New York Cooperatives and Condominiums—and several labor organizations, including 32BJ SEIU, Local 3 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and Local 1 of the United Association of Plumbers.

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Housing America part 5: Cooperatives — taking the profit out of shelter

Housing cooperatives essentially represent the “third way” between renting and owning a property. This model once formed part of the bedrock of affordable shelter provisions in New York, but more recently has been rapidly disappearing.

Continue reading

California Center for Cooperative Development Announces 2019 Annual Cooperative Conference

The California Center for Cooperative Development is excited to convene their 10th annual co-op conference at the Masonic Rite Center in Sacramento on Sunday, April 28 and Monday, April 29. Entering its second decade, the conference continues to expand with community interest in more inclusive and sustainable business models. The event remains focused on participant opportunities, with the sessions centering on cooperatives’ roles in the creation of jobs, housing, and local ownership in our economies. Participants learn how to strengthen individual cooperatives and start new ones, with opportunities to share ideas, experiences and strategies.

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Collaborating to Advance Justice for Women: Solidago Foundation

Solidago Foundation might only have $5 million in assets, but you wouldn’t know it from their leadership among social justice funders, especially when it comes to supporting women at the grassroots.

Continue reading 

Condo and Co-Op Conversion: Not Out of Time, Not Out of Luck

Many cooperatives and condominiums have overlooked, for decades, potent statutory rights enabling them to recapture building amenities currently under long-term, unfavorable leases with their developers. Because those rights were first promulgated during the 1980s’ cooperative and condominium conversion boom, they are often discounted as stale or forgotten altogether. But recent litigation may offer new hope for deploying those robust rights.

Continue reading

Who will be Madison’s next mayor?

Soglin aims to hold on to position, Rhodes-Conway pushing for a change

We asked the candidates running to be Madison’s mayor the same five questions to understand their vision for the future of Madison. The answers we received show differences in scope, detail, and logic for where the candidates think Madison is, and where the city is going.

Continue reading

The Village Cooperative of Loveland offers seniors more than just a place to retire

The Village Cooperative provides active adults (55+) a new housing option that offers them home ownership-and all the financial and tax benefits that go with it.

Continue reading

Paul Soglin says he’s fixing housing shortage; Satya Rhodes-Conway says it’s not enough

A lot of housing is being built in Madison, but experts say it’s far from enough …. And she backs housing cooperatives and creation of more tiny house villages for the homeless and support for tenants. Read more 

Better Buildings Financing Navigator

There are many ways to finance energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in buildings that you own or occupy. The Navigator helps you cut through this complexity to secure financing that works for you. Learn more

Analyzing The 2020 Presidential Contenders’ Housing Policies

By Henry Kraemer (@HenryKraemer) and Pete Harrison (@PeteHarrisonNYC)

Data for Progress is keeping a running tab of housing policy proposals for announced or likely 2020 Presidential contenders. This play-by-play policy analysis, ideological context, and suggestions to improve candidates’ policies are intended to help both campaigns and voters get to the best American housing policy. Read more

A Green New Deal for Housing

A Green New Deal can’t deliver economic or environmental justice without tackling the housing crisis. We should go big and build 10 million beautiful, public, no-carbon homes over the next 10 years. Read more

Upper Manhattan Co-op Complex Pulls in $55M Refi

A major cooperative apartment complex in Upper Manhattan has landed a $55.2 million refinancing from National Cooperative Bank, according to records filed with the New York City Department of Finance today. Read more

In Oakland, a radical approach to housing shortage

A new housing coop seeks to keep buildings permanently affordable

While housing cooperatives have long worked to purchase individual properties and retain them as affordable housing stock, EB PREC is hoping its model can grow into a network of properties that can begin to effect lasting change. Read more

Housing cooperatives are more than an economic no-brainer. They offer our a communities a better future.

Housing cooperatives make economic sense. This benefit of cooperative housing is well documented. The research group Housing Futures, which will publish its recommendations on 8th December at an event in Manchester, emphasise how cooperatives can meet the affordability needs of low-income communities. Read more

HPD Seeks Urban Development Action Area Designation for Two City-Owned Properties in East Village

Approval of the proposed project will provide housing to families that have been displaced for over ten years. On December 5, 2018, the City Planning Commission heard an application that would allow for the demolition of existing buildings on two City-owned lots and development of ten co-operative units at 204 Avenue A and eleven one-bedroom rental units at 535 East 12th Street in Manhattan. The lots are located on the same block in the East Village, bounded by Avenue A, East 12th Street, East 13th Street, and Avenue B. Read more

Financing the Future of Cooperative Low-Income Housing

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, New York City went through a devastating financial crisis. Buildings in neighborhoods across the city were essentially abandoned by their landlords. In some cases, tenants banded together to take over managing their buildings. Clusters of such buildings emerged in some neighborhoods, including Manhattan’s Lower East Side, East Village, and Harlem. The city created the Housing Development Fund Corporation program, offering reduced property taxes to cooperatively-owned buildings reserved for low- and moderate-income residents, known as limited-equity cooperatives. Read more

Why city halls should look to Vienna, not big developers, to solve their affordable housing crises

OPINION: The dilemma that faces many local governments in cities around the world is how to finance regeneration schemes when their central government does not offer sufficient support and land prices are high. Cities like Vienna and Hamburg have found a solution that doesn’t price out their own citizens. London has not. Read more

Museums, Neighborhoods, and Gentrification: Lessons from the Nation’s Capital

For the first time in human history, more than half of the world’s population lives in cities, a shift that is resulting in new challenges. The Smithsonian Institution’s Anacostia Community Museum, with its 50th anniversary exhibition, A Right to The City, addresses many of these in the context of its home city of Washington, DC. Read more

After promising renovations, city drops Harlem tenants from homeownership program

One resident died awaiting opportunity to move back home from temporary housing

A decade after the city promised a group of Harlem tenants a building would be renovated and turned into an affordable co-op, the residents are still living in temporary apartments, the property remains boarded up, and the de Blasio administration now plans to sell it to a private owner, a recent lawsuit alleges. Read more

Luxury Development Is Making Our Housing Crisis Worse

Rent control. It was on the ballot in California yesterday, as tenant campaigns picked 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. Read more

Cooperatives and Neighborhood Development

Local conference focuses on combatting displacement with diversity

It’s no secret downtown Indianapolis is seeing rapid growth in neighborhoods long-dismissed by developers as undesirable.

It’s also no secret that the development is having negative effects on many long-term residents of those areas who are being displaced in the name of progress.

Gentrification is the word that is often thrown around to describe the displacement, mostly by people who also throw up their hands at the injustice of it all rather than roll up their sleeves and do any work to undo or prevent it from happening in the first place.

Mat Davis is not one of those people.

For the last several years, Davis has been working with a variety of groups around the city to bring a human rights approach to development. Read more

How Washington, DC Residents are Tackling Rising Rents

Affordable housing is proving difficult to come by in the nation’s fast-developing capital. But some residents are finding a solution through housing cooperatives where tenants can collectively purchase their building, enabling low-income earners to remain within city limits. Read more

Is the Co-op/Condo Abatement Under Attack?

I read with dismay the July 13th Daily News op-ed in which the Citizens Housing Planning Council proposed to “kill” the Property Tax Abatement program for homeowners in cooperatives and condominiums, a program that enables thousands of New Yorkers to afford their apartments. It is dramatic to dwell on the fact that Donald Trump’s luxury apartment once qualified for this abatement, but this is a red herring; kindly consider instead the thousands of ordinary New Yorkers who rely on the abatement program to bring their carrying charges to a level that they can afford. At a moment when New York City housing prices are soaring and when virtually no ‘affordable housing’ is available – we find shortsighted your suggestion to destroy completely this abatement program which makes the dream of homeownership possible for so many! While I very much admire and support your efforts to improve the lives of New Yorkers in NYCHA housing, I urge the Citizens Housing Planning Council to reconsider the consequences of the proposal that you have made. Read more

Lack of housing supply, high building costs boosting Boise real estate market

Boise’s hot real estate market is an inescapable topic these days. No matter if you are looking to purchase your first home, searching for an affordable apartment or just looking at your property tax bill, skyrocketing real estate prices have likely made an impact on your bottom line. Read more

How the East Bay Permanent Real Estate Cooperative is pioneering a model for equitable housing

he East Bay Permanent Real Estate Cooperative is an impressive burgeoning commons legal institution that’s aimed at the decommodification of housing. It is pioneering a new legal institution for how we can own homes more equitably, collaboratively, and in such a way that they’re permanently off the speculative market. Read more

Carpinteria City Council Passes Ordinance Banning Co-Op Apartment Conversions

The Carpinteria City Council on Monday passed an emergency ordinance that prevents converting apartment buildings into cooperatives.

The vote was 4-0, with Councilman Brad Stein absent.

“The concern has to do with protecting apartment housing in Carpinteria,” Carpinteria City Manager Dave Durflinger said during the meeting. Read more

In Iowa City, a co-housing movement blends living large with living small

While we all debate the merits of the behemoth, but traditional and profit-driven, Pentacrest Gardens, why don’t we move that spotlight a little to the left, to the growing concept of “co-living”?

Because there, we’ll find a philosophical place where community-building, efficiency and shared responsibility come before a developer’s zoning needs, negotiated financial incentives and price per square foot. Read more

How the Ultra-Rich Can Help Fix the Affordable Housing Crisis

A growing number of people invest in real estate they never intend to occupy and push up prices for the rest of us. Cities should make them pay.

Down the street from my office, a luxury residential tower is rising, the fifth such project in Boston in the last decade. The 61-story “One Dalton Place” is being marketed as “New England’s tallest and most luxurious residential building.”

Across the coastal cities of North America, cranes are rising to construct similar stunning new glass towers of both residential and commercial properties. Real estate in existing neighborhoods is being bid up by investors and wealthy buyers, pushing up the cost of land and housing for everyone else. Read more

Sales down, prices up in Westchester housing market

Higher home prices and a lack of inventory contributed to a decline in housing sales in the lower Hudson Valley region, according to analysts at Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors.

Across Westchester, Putnam, Rockland and Orange counties, there were 4,539 sales of single-family homes, two- to four-family homes, condominiums and cooperatives during the second quarter of 2018, HGAR noted in its report. Read more

Enterprise’s New York Market Assists with Resiliency Initiative

An article in Next City highlights the work Enterprise’s New York market has conducted to support FloodHelpNY, a post-Hurricane Sandy project that identifies resiliency improvements in multifamily affordable housing and co-ops in designated flood zones. The New York market assists owners in signing up for free resiliency audits and educates residents on the benefits of the various resiliency measures. The FloodHelpNY initiative was established by the Center for New City Neighborhoods and is funded by the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery and New York Rising. Read more.

Can NYC’s Affordable Housing Co-Ops Survive the Next Big Storm?

The brick apartment building at 414 East 10th Street, in the East Village of Manhattan, is in Ana Ruiz’s blood. Her family moved there in the 1950s. In 1998, she helped convert the building into an HDFC cooperative, creating affordable homeownership opportunities for the building’s tenants. As part of the conversion, she personally oversaw a two-year renovation process, which required each existing tenant to take turns vacating their apartments, then ensured they had the opportunity to buy into the converted co-op, at just $250 per unit. She remains a shareholder and serves as property manager. Read more

Some in St. Paul’s Frogtown worry it’s gentrifying

The last housing crisis left many properties vacant and in disrepair. Crime remains a major concern. But Frogtown is changing fast. As housing costs rise, residents worry they’ll get priced out.

The offer was enticing.

If residents of St. Paul’s Wilder Square Co-op voted “yes,” each of the 163 units would get spruced-up kitchens and bathrooms, new air conditioning, carpeting, vinyl floors, sliding doors and a fresh coat of paint. Best of all, each household would also receive at least $4,000 in cash, part of a package of $3.3 million in improvements proposed by the would-be buyers, Real Estate Equities. Read more

Co-op makes rooftop solar panels possible in Kent

The house on Franklin Avenue in Kent with 14 rooftop solar panels is home to a group of musicians.

The solar panel system cuts their monthly electric bill down to $10.

The panels were purchased by Kent Housing Cooperative, which formed in 1981 to provide low-cost housing to students. In 2012, the co-op voted to install the panels to take advantage of state and federal tax credits, but also to show the community how everyday people can pull together to use renewable energy. Read more

Advocating for Residents

Successfully running a condominium, cooperative, or homeowners’ association is no small task. A board and/or management must consider the interests of its residents when making sweeping decisions to benefit the property and those who call it home. On top of that, the association must keep abreast of codes, laws, regulations, and rules at local, state and federal levels that may impact how they conduct their business, maintain their buildings, and screen potential applicants – just to name a few important factors. Taking into account that a board is likely made up of volunteers, some or all of whom have full-time jobs that have nothing at all to do with real estate or finance, it seems like a tall order. Read more

Three community-oriented alternatives to Sacramento’s historic housing crisis

In Europe, some publicly-owned housing developments are made into cooperatives with their own governing boards, meaning control over one’s housing is hyper-local and accountable. What is most important, though, is that these developments are open to people of all income levels. Read more

Advocating for Residents Organizations Go to Bat for Shareholders/Owners

Successfully running a condominium, cooperative, or homeowners’ association is no small task. A board and/or management must consider the interests of its residents when making sweeping decisions to benefit the property and those who call it home. On top of that, the association must keep abreast of codes, laws, regulations, and rules at local, state and federal levels that may impact how they conduct their business, maintain their buildings, and screen potential applicants – just to name a few important factors. Taking into account that a board is likely made up of volunteers, some or all of whom have full-time jobs that have nothing at all to do with real estate or finance, it seems like a tall order. Read more

Does Ann Arbor need a new tax to fund affordable housing?

Ann Arbor is struggling to make progress on its goal of significantly expanding the supply of affordable housing, which has local officials discussing whether more funding is needed.

Leaders from the Ann Arbor Housing Commission and Washtenaw County’s Office of Community and Economic Development are recommending a new property tax to help pay for the creation of more subsidized apartments for low-income people in Ann Arbor. Read more

City taking troublesome landlord to court over code compliance

The city of Rochester is gearing up to take to court a problematic landlord whose rental properties have racked up hundreds of recent code violations and whose tenants have already embarked on a rent strike. Read more

The Rent Is Too Damn High, and Progressives Need to Do Something

Ben Carson is on a mission to shred the federal housing safety net. As secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Carson has actively undermined desegregation and LGBT protections in government-subsidized housing, and has proposed raising rents threefold for many families. The Trump administration’s approach to housing policy would be comical if it didn’t have real effects on real people: Trump picked his personal event planner, who had no relevant experience, to run the biggest regional housing office in HUD. This allowed Trump to gut affordable housing in New York and New Jersey, the very same place his son-in-law Jared Kushner illegally skirted rent-stabilization rules. Read more

Sustainable by Design: Increasing Water Efficiency and Reducing Cost in Affordable Housing

This case study looks at lessons learned from the Chicago Water-Efficiency Pilot led by Enterprise Community Partners and Elevate Energy. The study demonstrates how investing in water efficiency can cut costs and increase the financial stability of affordable housing developments. Read more

MSU Student Combats Climate Change One Solar Panel at a Time

After listening to the audiobook, “Unstoppable” by Bill Nye, Sam Berndt, a Michigan State University graduate student studying computer science, was inspired to become a force against climate change. After moving into the David Bowie Memorial Cooperative in August 2016, he knew that he wanted to find sustainable energy solutions to work towards making all cooperatives 100-percent carbon neutral. Read more

Ashland Co-op expansion Could Include Housing

The space-cramped Ashland Food Co-op is on the verge of buying a 1.8-acre piece of bare land 100 yards north of its busy First Street shop — a spot that could be developed into a bigger store or become a second co-op.

The lot on Clear Creek Drive behind Ashland Lumber might also be used to build workforce or cooperative housing, which would put the 36-year-old, 10,000-member food store in a radically new business, providing affordable housing in a town that lacks it. Read more

An 800-Family Chicago Housing Co-op Enters its Second Half-Century Going Strong

As Nneka McGuire and Nicholas Padiak note in the Chicago Tribune, “Co-ops hold a unique place in the history of combating housing discrimination and, for that matter, in the history of the United States too.” Hilary Silver, chair of the department of sociology at George Washington University, who specializes in the study of housing and homelessness, notes that the housing co-op idea “was, let’s cooperate and we’ll cut out the landlord, who was living off of our rents. It was like quasi-ownership. It was like creating a workers’ republic, almost. Let’s cut out the capitalists.” Read more

Residents buy manufactured-home park

BARRINGTON — Homeowners in Ambleside Mobile Home Park closed April 16 on the purchase of their 69-unit park, making it New Hampshire’s 124th resident-owned manufactured-home community.

Using training and technical assistance from the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund’s ROC-NH program, residents organized and formed Lee Oak Cooperative last December to buy their privately owned manufactured-home park. Read more

Owner-Occupied Senior Cooperative Rising in Colorado Springs

Real Estate Equities Development has announced plans for their new Village Cooperative of Briargate property in Colorado Springs, Colo., aimed at adults 62 and over. The development will be the first 100 percent owner-occupied senior housing community in the city. Read more.

New book explores DC’s equity housing cooperatives—and may offers some lessons for SF.

LIT Carving Out the Commons: Tenant Organizing and Housing Cooperatives in Washington, D.C. “explores the practice of urban ‘commoning’ in Washington, DC, through an investigation of the city’s equity housing cooperatives.” Author Amanda Huron draws insight and lessons from organizing against displacement that are relevant for any major US cities. Huron teaches at the University of the District of Columbia and plays drums with the band Puff Pieces. We spoke with Huron ahead of her Wed/2, 7pm, appearance at Green Arcade. Read more.

Habitat for Humanity starts 56-unit building in N. Bx.

An affordable cooperative housing development is slated to bring home ownership to dozens of families in the north Bronx.

In Williamsbridge, Habitat for Humanity New York City broke ground on Friday, March 16 on the largest multi-family development under one roof that any Habitat affiliate has every attempted.

Development partners are Almat Group, with city and state agencies. The new development is called Sydney House. Read more.

Groundbreaking set for Montana’s first housing cooperative in Hamilton

Work will get underway next week on Montana’s first housing cooperative. It’s a day that’s been long in coming for Paul Travitz, executive director of the Ravalli County Council on Aging. For the last 12 years, Travitz and others focused on helping people age independently have been dreaming of the day the 8.5 acres adjacent to the council’s headquarters would be transformed into a vibrant community for people over the age of 55. Read more

Carving Out the Commons

By now, you could be forgiven for assuming that “the commons” refers to another cocktail bar or coffee shop in yet another neighborhood people used to be able to afford. In Chicago, the Commons Co-op is a co-working space inside a cocktail lounge inside a Virgin-branded boutique hotel. In Brooklyn, Common is a property management start-up (backed by $65 million in venture capital) that specializes in something called “co-living.” For just $1,400 a month, Common tenants in New York City get a private bedroom and share amenities like a bathroom, kitchen, and free coffee: an Instagrammable SRO. Common calls this “city living made better.” Read more

Cooperatives offer one lifestyle; caring for aging parents at home is another

Judi and Randy Johnson have lived at Gramercy Park Cooperative at Lake Shore Drive in Richfield since the 12-story, 160-unit building was constructed in 2000.

“We bought when it was still a hole in the ground,” Judi said. “We knew nothing about the area. We had lived in Columbia Heights.” Read more.

URBAN AGENDA: Averting the Impending Subsidized Housing Crisis

Mitchell-Lama housing was a pillar in the New York City campaign to provide affordable housing to low and moderate-income families. The program, first introduced in 1955, was among an array of multiple government efforts to develop rental apartments and cooperatives that over the decades provided a pathway for its residents into the middle class. Read more

Report: Amid Housing Crisis, NY Must Rethink How Land is Owned

A new report released Thursday takes a wide look at the nation’s housing system and calls for a shift to alternative models that “reconceptualiz[e] housing as something beyond a source of profit.”

The report, entitled “Communities Over Commodities: People-Driven Solutions to an Unjust Housing System,” can be viewed here. Authored by the Right to The City Alliance, a national coalition of social-justice organizations concerned about displacement, as part of the organization’s Homes for All Campaign, it presents four alternative housing models from the United States and elsewhere “where communities have taken charge of housing needs through cooperative and collective arrangements.” Read more

How to buy into a limited-equity housing cooperative

When you think of co-ops, you might envision luxury condos where super-rich, celebrities or politicians live. But what if you could you buy one for less than the market rate rent? You can if you buy into a limited-equity housing cooperative (LEC). Read more

Condo or co-op: Deciding what’s best for you

If you’re on the hunt to buy an apartment, one thing is crucial before beginning your search: decide if a condo and cooperative is right for you.

“Working with a client, it’s important to immediately define the difference,” says Brian Lewis, an agent with Halstead’s New York office. Because the ownership structures of condos and co-ops are vastly different, all the financial and legal matters of buying one will dramatically differ, too. Read more

Hurricane Planning Tips

This page explains what actions to take when you receive a hurricane watch or warning alert from the National Weather Service for your local area. It also provides tips on what to do before, during, and after a hurricane. Read more.

Coalitions and Cooperation

NAHC regularly participates with coalitions of multi-family affordable housing organizations, cooperative organizations including the National Cooperative Bank, the National Cooperative Business Association and Credit Unions as well as consumer organizations including the Consumer Federation of America, in support of federal initiatives to benefit our members.

NAHC has joined coalitions in signing letters of support particularly to maintain (or increase) funding for affordable housing.

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Housing Cooperative News

The shield and the sword: Two tools to address the housing crisis

My daughter’s fifth grade teacher had a salary so disconnected from the reality of the San Francisco Bay Area housing market that it could barely cover her rent, much less provide her with the savings to one day live the dream of having a family and owning her own home. So in a pattern repeated by many others, she packed up and moved back to Michigan, where housing prices were much more affordable.

Continue reading

How advocates are fighting tax laws that hinder cooperative housing

In San Francisco’s Chinatown, community activists jumped in when a 21-unit building housing low-income tenants was threatened with demolition. But even after they pulled together financing to buy the building and convert it to a housing cooperative, they faced a major bureaucratic hurdle: persuading city leaders to tax it differently than commercial rental property.

Continue reading

City Council enacts building bonuses to boost affordable housing

The Austin City Council has enacted a citywide program that encourages developers to build more affordable housing by allowing them to operate under relaxed building codes on some projects.

Continue reading

Council passes affordable housing density bonus program

In keeping with its previous support of Council Member Greg Casar’s proposed density bonus program, City Council unanimously approved the Affordability Unlocked bonus program Thursday evening, an ordinance amending city code by loosening site restrictions and promoting construction of more units in affordable and mixed-income housing developments.

Continue reading

New Study Evaluates Shared Equity Housing Program Performance, Nationwide Impact

33-Year Report Highlights Economic Benefits, Lasting Affordability for Lower-Income Households of Color

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. and WASHINGTON, May 14, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Shared equity homeownership promotes sustainable wealth-building opportunities and lasting affordability for lower-income households, according to new research published by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy in partnership with Grounded Solutions Network.

Continue reading

Co-ops and condos can’t take this mandate: A new climate change bill would sock ordinary New Yorkers with thousands of dollars in fine

Climate change is a real threat to our future, one that demands collective, forceful action by all New Yorkers in every aspect of their daily lives. The City Council is considering legislation that seeks to meet citywide goals solely by imposing rigid caps on greenhouse gas emissions from most buildings over 25,000 square feet. Unfortunately, the legislation is unfair and promotes an inequitable way to address this grave, shared problem.

Continue reading

Real estate and unions slam green-building bill

An alliance of property owners and unions claims that the city’s vision for fighting global warming needs to come down to earth.

In a letter to Queens Councilman Costa Constantinides and several members of the committee he chairs, the industry-labor coalition critiques his bill to slash carbon emissions from buildings. The signatories include major property interests—the Rent Stabilization Association, the Real Estate Board of New York and the Council of New York Cooperatives and Condominiums—and several labor organizations, including 32BJ SEIU, Local 3 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and Local 1 of the United Association of Plumbers.

Continue reading

Housing America part 5: Cooperatives — taking the profit out of shelter

Housing cooperatives essentially represent the “third way” between renting and owning a property. This model once formed part of the bedrock of affordable shelter provisions in New York, but more recently has been rapidly disappearing.

Continue reading

California Center for Cooperative Development Announces 2019 Annual Cooperative Conference

The California Center for Cooperative Development is excited to convene their 10th annual co-op conference at the Masonic Rite Center in Sacramento on Sunday, April 28 and Monday, April 29. Entering its second decade, the conference continues to expand with community interest in more inclusive and sustainable business models. The event remains focused on participant opportunities, with the sessions centering on cooperatives’ roles in the creation of jobs, housing, and local ownership in our economies. Participants learn how to strengthen individual cooperatives and start new ones, with opportunities to share ideas, experiences and strategies.

Continue reading

Collaborating to Advance Justice for Women: Solidago Foundation

Solidago Foundation might only have $5 million in assets, but you wouldn’t know it from their leadership among social justice funders, especially when it comes to supporting women at the grassroots.

Continue reading 

Condo and Co-Op Conversion: Not Out of Time, Not Out of Luck

Many cooperatives and condominiums have overlooked, for decades, potent statutory rights enabling them to recapture building amenities currently under long-term, unfavorable leases with their developers. Because those rights were first promulgated during the 1980s’ cooperative and condominium conversion boom, they are often discounted as stale or forgotten altogether. But recent litigation may offer new hope for deploying those robust rights.

Continue reading

Who will be Madison’s next mayor?

Soglin aims to hold on to position, Rhodes-Conway pushing for a change

We asked the candidates running to be Madison’s mayor the same five questions to understand their vision for the future of Madison. The answers we received show differences in scope, detail, and logic for where the candidates think Madison is, and where the city is going.

Continue reading

The Village Cooperative of Loveland offers seniors more than just a place to retire

The Village Cooperative provides active adults (55+) a new housing option that offers them home ownership-and all the financial and tax benefits that go with it.

Continue reading

Paul Soglin says he’s fixing housing shortage; Satya Rhodes-Conway says it’s not enough

A lot of housing is being built in Madison, but experts say it’s far from enough …. And she backs housing cooperatives and creation of more tiny house villages for the homeless and support for tenants. Read more 

Better Buildings Financing Navigator

There are many ways to finance energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in buildings that you own or occupy. The Navigator helps you cut through this complexity to secure financing that works for you. Learn more

Analyzing The 2020 Presidential Contenders’ Housing Policies

By Henry Kraemer (@HenryKraemer) and Pete Harrison (@PeteHarrisonNYC)

Data for Progress is keeping a running tab of housing policy proposals for announced or likely 2020 Presidential contenders. This play-by-play policy analysis, ideological context, and suggestions to improve candidates’ policies are intended to help both campaigns and voters get to the best American housing policy. Read more

A Green New Deal for Housing

A Green New Deal can’t deliver economic or environmental justice without tackling the housing crisis. We should go big and build 10 million beautiful, public, no-carbon homes over the next 10 years. Read more

Upper Manhattan Co-op Complex Pulls in $55M Refi

A major cooperative apartment complex in Upper Manhattan has landed a $55.2 million refinancing from National Cooperative Bank, according to records filed with the New York City Department of Finance today. Read more

In Oakland, a radical approach to housing shortage

A new housing coop seeks to keep buildings permanently affordable

While housing cooperatives have long worked to purchase individual properties and retain them as affordable housing stock, EB PREC is hoping its model can grow into a network of properties that can begin to effect lasting change. Read more

Housing cooperatives are more than an economic no-brainer. They offer our a communities a better future.

Housing cooperatives make economic sense. This benefit of cooperative housing is well documented. The research group Housing Futures, which will publish its recommendations on 8th December at an event in Manchester, emphasise how cooperatives can meet the affordability needs of low-income communities. Read more

HPD Seeks Urban Development Action Area Designation for Two City-Owned Properties in East Village

Approval of the proposed project will provide housing to families that have been displaced for over ten years. On December 5, 2018, the City Planning Commission heard an application that would allow for the demolition of existing buildings on two City-owned lots and development of ten co-operative units at 204 Avenue A and eleven one-bedroom rental units at 535 East 12th Street in Manhattan. The lots are located on the same block in the East Village, bounded by Avenue A, East 12th Street, East 13th Street, and Avenue B. Read more

Financing the Future of Cooperative Low-Income Housing

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, New York City went through a devastating financial crisis. Buildings in neighborhoods across the city were essentially abandoned by their landlords. In some cases, tenants banded together to take over managing their buildings. Clusters of such buildings emerged in some neighborhoods, including Manhattan’s Lower East Side, East Village, and Harlem. The city created the Housing Development Fund Corporation program, offering reduced property taxes to cooperatively-owned buildings reserved for low- and moderate-income residents, known as limited-equity cooperatives. Read more

Why city halls should look to Vienna, not big developers, to solve their affordable housing crises

OPINION: The dilemma that faces many local governments in cities around the world is how to finance regeneration schemes when their central government does not offer sufficient support and land prices are high. Cities like Vienna and Hamburg have found a solution that doesn’t price out their own citizens. London has not. Read more

Museums, Neighborhoods, and Gentrification: Lessons from the Nation’s Capital

For the first time in human history, more than half of the world’s population lives in cities, a shift that is resulting in new challenges. The Smithsonian Institution’s Anacostia Community Museum, with its 50th anniversary exhibition, A Right to The City, addresses many of these in the context of its home city of Washington, DC. Read more

After promising renovations, city drops Harlem tenants from homeownership program

One resident died awaiting opportunity to move back home from temporary housing

A decade after the city promised a group of Harlem tenants a building would be renovated and turned into an affordable co-op, the residents are still living in temporary apartments, the property remains boarded up, and the de Blasio administration now plans to sell it to a private owner, a recent lawsuit alleges. Read more

Luxury Development Is Making Our Housing Crisis Worse

Rent control. It was on the ballot in California yesterday, as tenant campaigns picked 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. Read more

Cooperatives and Neighborhood Development

Local conference focuses on combatting displacement with diversity

It’s no secret downtown Indianapolis is seeing rapid growth in neighborhoods long-dismissed by developers as undesirable.

It’s also no secret that the development is having negative effects on many long-term residents of those areas who are being displaced in the name of progress.

Gentrification is the word that is often thrown around to describe the displacement, mostly by people who also throw up their hands at the injustice of it all rather than roll up their sleeves and do any work to undo or prevent it from happening in the first place.

Mat Davis is not one of those people.

For the last several years, Davis has been working with a variety of groups around the city to bring a human rights approach to development. Read more

How Washington, DC Residents are Tackling Rising Rents

Affordable housing is proving difficult to come by in the nation’s fast-developing capital. But some residents are finding a solution through housing cooperatives where tenants can collectively purchase their building, enabling low-income earners to remain within city limits. Read more

Is the Co-op/Condo Abatement Under Attack?

I read with dismay the July 13th Daily News op-ed in which the Citizens Housing Planning Council proposed to “kill” the Property Tax Abatement program for homeowners in cooperatives and condominiums, a program that enables thousands of New Yorkers to afford their apartments. It is dramatic to dwell on the fact that Donald Trump’s luxury apartment once qualified for this abatement, but this is a red herring; kindly consider instead the thousands of ordinary New Yorkers who rely on the abatement program to bring their carrying charges to a level that they can afford. At a moment when New York City housing prices are soaring and when virtually no ‘affordable housing’ is available – we find shortsighted your suggestion to destroy completely this abatement program which makes the dream of homeownership possible for so many! While I very much admire and support your efforts to improve the lives of New Yorkers in NYCHA housing, I urge the Citizens Housing Planning Council to reconsider the consequences of the proposal that you have made. Read more

Lack of housing supply, high building costs boosting Boise real estate market

Boise’s hot real estate market is an inescapable topic these days. No matter if you are looking to purchase your first home, searching for an affordable apartment or just looking at your property tax bill, skyrocketing real estate prices have likely made an impact on your bottom line. Read more

How the East Bay Permanent Real Estate Cooperative is pioneering a model for equitable housing

he East Bay Permanent Real Estate Cooperative is an impressive burgeoning commons legal institution that’s aimed at the decommodification of housing. It is pioneering a new legal institution for how we can own homes more equitably, collaboratively, and in such a way that they’re permanently off the speculative market. Read more

Carpinteria City Council Passes Ordinance Banning Co-Op Apartment Conversions

The Carpinteria City Council on Monday passed an emergency ordinance that prevents converting apartment buildings into cooperatives.

The vote was 4-0, with Councilman Brad Stein absent.

“The concern has to do with protecting apartment housing in Carpinteria,” Carpinteria City Manager Dave Durflinger said during the meeting. Read more

In Iowa City, a co-housing movement blends living large with living small

While we all debate the merits of the behemoth, but traditional and profit-driven, Pentacrest Gardens, why don’t we move that spotlight a little to the left, to the growing concept of “co-living”?

Because there, we’ll find a philosophical place where community-building, efficiency and shared responsibility come before a developer’s zoning needs, negotiated financial incentives and price per square foot. Read more

How the Ultra-Rich Can Help Fix the Affordable Housing Crisis

A growing number of people invest in real estate they never intend to occupy and push up prices for the rest of us. Cities should make them pay.

Down the street from my office, a luxury residential tower is rising, the fifth such project in Boston in the last decade. The 61-story “One Dalton Place” is being marketed as “New England’s tallest and most luxurious residential building.”

Across the coastal cities of North America, cranes are rising to construct similar stunning new glass towers of both residential and commercial properties. Real estate in existing neighborhoods is being bid up by investors and wealthy buyers, pushing up the cost of land and housing for everyone else. Read more

Sales down, prices up in Westchester housing market

Higher home prices and a lack of inventory contributed to a decline in housing sales in the lower Hudson Valley region, according to analysts at Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors.

Across Westchester, Putnam, Rockland and Orange counties, there were 4,539 sales of single-family homes, two- to four-family homes, condominiums and cooperatives during the second quarter of 2018, HGAR noted in its report. Read more

Enterprise’s New York Market Assists with Resiliency Initiative

An article in Next City highlights the work Enterprise’s New York market has conducted to support FloodHelpNY, a post-Hurricane Sandy project that identifies resiliency improvements in multifamily affordable housing and co-ops in designated flood zones. The New York market assists owners in signing up for free resiliency audits and educates residents on the benefits of the various resiliency measures. The FloodHelpNY initiative was established by the Center for New City Neighborhoods and is funded by the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery and New York Rising. Read more.

Can NYC’s Affordable Housing Co-Ops Survive the Next Big Storm?

The brick apartment building at 414 East 10th Street, in the East Village of Manhattan, is in Ana Ruiz’s blood. Her family moved there in the 1950s. In 1998, she helped convert the building into an HDFC cooperative, creating affordable homeownership opportunities for the building’s tenants. As part of the conversion, she personally oversaw a two-year renovation process, which required each existing tenant to take turns vacating their apartments, then ensured they had the opportunity to buy into the converted co-op, at just $250 per unit. She remains a shareholder and serves as property manager. Read more

Some in St. Paul’s Frogtown worry it’s gentrifying

The last housing crisis left many properties vacant and in disrepair. Crime remains a major concern. But Frogtown is changing fast. As housing costs rise, residents worry they’ll get priced out.

The offer was enticing.

If residents of St. Paul’s Wilder Square Co-op voted “yes,” each of the 163 units would get spruced-up kitchens and bathrooms, new air conditioning, carpeting, vinyl floors, sliding doors and a fresh coat of paint. Best of all, each household would also receive at least $4,000 in cash, part of a package of $3.3 million in improvements proposed by the would-be buyers, Real Estate Equities. Read more

Co-op makes rooftop solar panels possible in Kent

The house on Franklin Avenue in Kent with 14 rooftop solar panels is home to a group of musicians.

The solar panel system cuts their monthly electric bill down to $10.

The panels were purchased by Kent Housing Cooperative, which formed in 1981 to provide low-cost housing to students. In 2012, the co-op voted to install the panels to take advantage of state and federal tax credits, but also to show the community how everyday people can pull together to use renewable energy. Read more

Advocating for Residents

Successfully running a condominium, cooperative, or homeowners’ association is no small task. A board and/or management must consider the interests of its residents when making sweeping decisions to benefit the property and those who call it home. On top of that, the association must keep abreast of codes, laws, regulations, and rules at local, state and federal levels that may impact how they conduct their business, maintain their buildings, and screen potential applicants – just to name a few important factors. Taking into account that a board is likely made up of volunteers, some or all of whom have full-time jobs that have nothing at all to do with real estate or finance, it seems like a tall order. Read more

Three community-oriented alternatives to Sacramento’s historic housing crisis

In Europe, some publicly-owned housing developments are made into cooperatives with their own governing boards, meaning control over one’s housing is hyper-local and accountable. What is most important, though, is that these developments are open to people of all income levels. Read more

Advocating for Residents Organizations Go to Bat for Shareholders/Owners

Successfully running a condominium, cooperative, or homeowners’ association is no small task. A board and/or management must consider the interests of its residents when making sweeping decisions to benefit the property and those who call it home. On top of that, the association must keep abreast of codes, laws, regulations, and rules at local, state and federal levels that may impact how they conduct their business, maintain their buildings, and screen potential applicants – just to name a few important factors. Taking into account that a board is likely made up of volunteers, some or all of whom have full-time jobs that have nothing at all to do with real estate or finance, it seems like a tall order. Read more

Does Ann Arbor need a new tax to fund affordable housing?

Ann Arbor is struggling to make progress on its goal of significantly expanding the supply of affordable housing, which has local officials discussing whether more funding is needed.

Leaders from the Ann Arbor Housing Commission and Washtenaw County’s Office of Community and Economic Development are recommending a new property tax to help pay for the creation of more subsidized apartments for low-income people in Ann Arbor. Read more

City taking troublesome landlord to court over code compliance

The city of Rochester is gearing up to take to court a problematic landlord whose rental properties have racked up hundreds of recent code violations and whose tenants have already embarked on a rent strike. Read more

The Rent Is Too Damn High, and Progressives Need to Do Something

Ben Carson is on a mission to shred the federal housing safety net. As secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Carson has actively undermined desegregation and LGBT protections in government-subsidized housing, and has proposed raising rents threefold for many families. The Trump administration’s approach to housing policy would be comical if it didn’t have real effects on real people: Trump picked his personal event planner, who had no relevant experience, to run the biggest regional housing office in HUD. This allowed Trump to gut affordable housing in New York and New Jersey, the very same place his son-in-law Jared Kushner illegally skirted rent-stabilization rules. Read more

Sustainable by Design: Increasing Water Efficiency and Reducing Cost in Affordable Housing

This case study looks at lessons learned from the Chicago Water-Efficiency Pilot led by Enterprise Community Partners and Elevate Energy. The study demonstrates how investing in water efficiency can cut costs and increase the financial stability of affordable housing developments. Read more

MSU Student Combats Climate Change One Solar Panel at a Time

After listening to the audiobook, “Unstoppable” by Bill Nye, Sam Berndt, a Michigan State University graduate student studying computer science, was inspired to become a force against climate change. After moving into the David Bowie Memorial Cooperative in August 2016, he knew that he wanted to find sustainable energy solutions to work towards making all cooperatives 100-percent carbon neutral. Read more

Ashland Co-op expansion Could Include Housing

The space-cramped Ashland Food Co-op is on the verge of buying a 1.8-acre piece of bare land 100 yards north of its busy First Street shop — a spot that could be developed into a bigger store or become a second co-op.

The lot on Clear Creek Drive behind Ashland Lumber might also be used to build workforce or cooperative housing, which would put the 36-year-old, 10,000-member food store in a radically new business, providing affordable housing in a town that lacks it. Read more

An 800-Family Chicago Housing Co-op Enters its Second Half-Century Going Strong

As Nneka McGuire and Nicholas Padiak note in the Chicago Tribune, “Co-ops hold a unique place in the history of combating housing discrimination and, for that matter, in the history of the United States too.” Hilary Silver, chair of the department of sociology at George Washington University, who specializes in the study of housing and homelessness, notes that the housing co-op idea “was, let’s cooperate and we’ll cut out the landlord, who was living off of our rents. It was like quasi-ownership. It was like creating a workers’ republic, almost. Let’s cut out the capitalists.” Read more

Residents buy manufactured-home park

BARRINGTON — Homeowners in Ambleside Mobile Home Park closed April 16 on the purchase of their 69-unit park, making it New Hampshire’s 124th resident-owned manufactured-home community.

Using training and technical assistance from the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund’s ROC-NH program, residents organized and formed Lee Oak Cooperative last December to buy their privately owned manufactured-home park. Read more

Owner-Occupied Senior Cooperative Rising in Colorado Springs

Real Estate Equities Development has announced plans for their new Village Cooperative of Briargate property in Colorado Springs, Colo., aimed at adults 62 and over. The development will be the first 100 percent owner-occupied senior housing community in the city. Read more.

New book explores DC’s equity housing cooperatives—and may offers some lessons for SF.

LIT Carving Out the Commons: Tenant Organizing and Housing Cooperatives in Washington, D.C. “explores the practice of urban ‘commoning’ in Washington, DC, through an investigation of the city’s equity housing cooperatives.” Author Amanda Huron draws insight and lessons from organizing against displacement that are relevant for any major US cities. Huron teaches at the University of the District of Columbia and plays drums with the band Puff Pieces. We spoke with Huron ahead of her Wed/2, 7pm, appearance at Green Arcade. Read more.

Habitat for Humanity starts 56-unit building in N. Bx.

An affordable cooperative housing development is slated to bring home ownership to dozens of families in the north Bronx.

In Williamsbridge, Habitat for Humanity New York City broke ground on Friday, March 16 on the largest multi-family development under one roof that any Habitat affiliate has every attempted.

Development partners are Almat Group, with city and state agencies. The new development is called Sydney House. Read more.

Groundbreaking set for Montana’s first housing cooperative in Hamilton

Work will get underway next week on Montana’s first housing cooperative. It’s a day that’s been long in coming for Paul Travitz, executive director of the Ravalli County Council on Aging. For the last 12 years, Travitz and others focused on helping people age independently have been dreaming of the day the 8.5 acres adjacent to the council’s headquarters would be transformed into a vibrant community for people over the age of 55. Read more

Carving Out the Commons

By now, you could be forgiven for assuming that “the commons” refers to another cocktail bar or coffee shop in yet another neighborhood people used to be able to afford. In Chicago, the Commons Co-op is a co-working space inside a cocktail lounge inside a Virgin-branded boutique hotel. In Brooklyn, Common is a property management start-up (backed by $65 million in venture capital) that specializes in something called “co-living.” For just $1,400 a month, Common tenants in New York City get a private bedroom and share amenities like a bathroom, kitchen, and free coffee: an Instagrammable SRO. Common calls this “city living made better.” Read more

Cooperatives offer one lifestyle; caring for aging parents at home is another

Judi and Randy Johnson have lived at Gramercy Park Cooperative at Lake Shore Drive in Richfield since the 12-story, 160-unit building was constructed in 2000.

“We bought when it was still a hole in the ground,” Judi said. “We knew nothing about the area. We had lived in Columbia Heights.” Read more.

URBAN AGENDA: Averting the Impending Subsidized Housing Crisis

Mitchell-Lama housing was a pillar in the New York City campaign to provide affordable housing to low and moderate-income families. The program, first introduced in 1955, was among an array of multiple government efforts to develop rental apartments and cooperatives that over the decades provided a pathway for its residents into the middle class. Read more

Report: Amid Housing Crisis, NY Must Rethink How Land is Owned

A new report released Thursday takes a wide look at the nation’s housing system and calls for a shift to alternative models that “reconceptualiz[e] housing as something beyond a source of profit.”

The report, entitled “Communities Over Commodities: People-Driven Solutions to an Unjust Housing System,” can be viewed here. Authored by the Right to The City Alliance, a national coalition of social-justice organizations concerned about displacement, as part of the organization’s Homes for All Campaign, it presents four alternative housing models from the United States and elsewhere “where communities have taken charge of housing needs through cooperative and collective arrangements.” Read more

How to buy into a limited-equity housing cooperative

When you think of co-ops, you might envision luxury condos where super-rich, celebrities or politicians live. But what if you could you buy one for less than the market rate rent? You can if you buy into a limited-equity housing cooperative (LEC). Read more

Condo or co-op: Deciding what’s best for you

If you’re on the hunt to buy an apartment, one thing is crucial before beginning your search: decide if a condo and cooperative is right for you.

“Working with a client, it’s important to immediately define the difference,” says Brian Lewis, an agent with Halstead’s New York office. Because the ownership structures of condos and co-ops are vastly different, all the financial and legal matters of buying one will dramatically differ, too. Read more

Hurricane Planning Tips

This page explains what actions to take when you receive a hurricane watch or warning alert from the National Weather Service for your local area. It also provides tips on what to do before, during, and after a hurricane. Read more.

Coalitions and Cooperation

NAHC regularly participates with coalitions of multi-family affordable housing organizations, cooperative organizations including the National Cooperative Bank, the National Cooperative Business Association and Credit Unions as well as consumer organizations including the Consumer Federation of America, in support of federal initiatives to benefit our members.

NAHC has joined coalitions in signing letters of support particularly to maintain (or increase) funding for affordable housing.