What is a housing co-op

Like other types of co-ops, housing cooperatives are often built because of a need identified by a group of people – whether it be to provide affordable housing, housing where there are little to no options available in the community or to provide culturally appropriate housing.  Just like the types of housing co-ops, the needs are varied.

Many of the housing cooperatives in Manitoba were built under the Federal Affordable Housing Strategy, a number of years ago and as such, were required to be incorporated as nonprofit.  Most of these housing cooperatives offer some, if not, all units that are subsidized and geared to a person’s income.  Because of a lack of availability of government funding, groups who are looking at developing housing co-ops are exploring other options to meet their needs such as increased share purchase requirements.  In a nonprofit housing co-op, members do not own equity in their housing.  If they move, their shares are refunded.

Because co‑ops charge their members only enough to cover costs, repairs, and reserves, they can offer housing that is much more affordable than average private sector rental costs.

Each housing cooperative is incorporated as a housing cooperative under the Manitoba Cooperatives Act.  Canada’s housing co‑ops are guided by international cooperative principles, adapted for housing co‑op.

Check out this great video produced by Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada:

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