The following six Rochdale principles were adopted in 1966 by the International Co-operative Alliance as the basis for all co-operatives. Each principle is followed by a brief explanation of how it applies to non-profit housing co-operatives.
Membership of a co-operative society should be voluntary and available without artificial restriction or any social, political or religious discrimination to all persons who can make use of its services and are willing to accept the responsibilities of membership. Membership in a housing co-operative should be open to those who apply in good faith and are aware of the benefits and responsibilities. While it is important for members to be compatible, racial and other forms of discrimination must be ruled out. Housing co-operatives have successfully integrated persons with a wide range of incomes and social backgrounds.
Co-operative societies are democratic organizations. Their affairs should be administered by persons elected or appointed in a manner agreed by the members and accountable to them. Members of primary societies should enjoy equal rights of voting (one member, one vote) and participation in decisions affecting their societies. In other than primary societies, the administration should be conducted on a democratic basis in a suitable form. Housing co-operatives are primary societies and are based on the principle of one member, one vote. In housing co-operatives, members are able to make decisions on a wide range of issues, such as maintenance and housing charges, directly, in their members’ meetings, and indirectly through their elected representatives. Other than primary societies include second level organizations such as the Co-op Housing Federation and the Co-op Housing Foundation.
All members contribute fairly to their co-ops which they own in common. Surpluses are held for the future and used to improve the co-op’s services.
All agreements the co-op signs with outside organizations or governments should leave the members in control of the co-op.
Cooperatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their co-operatives. They inform the general public – particularly young people and opinion leaders – about the nature and benefits of co-operation.
All co-operative organizations, in order to best serve the interests of their members and their communities, should actively co-operate in every practical way with other co-operatives at local, national and international levels. Non-profit co-operative housing projects should recognize that they are part of a larger co-operative housing movement. By organizing and planning with other housing co-operatives and other co-operatives such as credit unions, consumer and daycare co-ops, members can benefit from the many possibilities of co-operation. Where other types of co-ops provide services necessary to housing co-operatives, such as insurance or banking, housing co-operatives should attempt to deal with those organizations rather than private sector institutions.
While focusing on member needs, co-operatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies by their members.
What is Alberta 75?
Alberta 75 is a non profit continuing housing co-operative. “Non-profit” means – no one profits from living in Alberta 75.
Members will continue to manage the co-op for its lifetime. The shares are passed on from outgoing members to incoming member – thus the term “continuing”. Currently the share price is $1,500.00.
Community development is one of the best aspects of living in the co-op. The building of a community that is a special place to live brings with it considerable rewards. Benefits include the following:
- security of tenure – you don’t have to worry about Alberta 75 being sold and you’ll have to leave; if your financial circumstances change, you will not lose your home, you may qualify for housing charge assistance.
- anti-inflationary payments – housing charges may increase – we are not immune to inflation, however, there is no profit increase and so the housing charge increases are moderate.
- your housing charge includes – property taxes, insurance on the building, water and sewer, one parking stall with a plug-in, maintenance and administration services, housing charge life insurance, recycling services, composting services, membership at Lake Midnapore, common area landscaping and snow removal, furnace/duct cleaning every three years and money for reserve funds.
- the opportunity to have a say in what happens in Alberta 75.
- educational opportunities – participation allows for building skills and personal growth.
- freedom to create individuality in your home – within the established guidelines.
- good atmosphere to raise children in a sense of protection and security.
What is Alberta 75?
Co-operative living involves group decision making, community events, and a philosophy of shared responsibility. Co-ops are run by the people living there. There is no landlord. Members are considered Owners of the Co-operative. Alberta 75 Co-operative is governed by a Board of Directors and its committees, which are responsible for the smooth operation of the co-op.
Housing co-operatives are incorporated, non-profit businesses organized by people who work together to provide their own housing through joint ownership. A broad spectrum of individuals and families from all age-ranges, all walks-of-life as well as all income levels have turned to housing co-ops as a way to enjoy a secure, affordable home designed to suit their needs in a strong community environment.
Co-ops are member-controlled organizations, and the people who occupy the housing owned by the co-op association are its members. Unlike tenants in a traditional rental situation, each household has one vote in the operation of the co-op. Every year the members elect, from among themselves, a Board of Directors to manage the business affairs of the co-op. Instead of rent, members pay a monthly housing charge to cover the cost of the mortgage, taxes and all operating expenses. There is no landlord, and housing charges rise only as costs increase.
Members do not individually own the units they occupy, but enter into a Shareholder’s Agreement with the cooperative, which provides security of tenure as long as the obligations of the membership are fulfilled. Membership means joint ownership and control of one’s housing. From the co-op’s inception, the members decide on design, development and policy. Later, they serve as volunteers to the communities through committees, task forces, special interest groups or Board. All Members are asked to attend members’ meetings where they participate in major decisions.