From the outside, a housing co-op looks like any other apartment building or townhouse development. But a housing co-op is different! Here’s how:
- Owned by members – The residents of a housing co-op are members of the co-operative corporation, which owns the whole property. The co-op provides a unit to each member household. Members do not own their own units.
- Managed by members – All members have an equal say in how major decisions are made: “one member, one vote.” Members come together at meetings to elect a board of directors, to approve the annual budget, and to pass policies.
- Member Involvement – The key difference between other forms of non-profit housing and co-ops is that co-op members are actively involved in running their housing community. Members are expected to volunteer time to participate on the board, on a committee, or in some other way. They do not need special skills to get involved. They can learn what they need to know from each other or from workshops. Members get to know each other through their participation in the co-op. Sarcee Meadows has common facilities – the playgrounds and office. The common facilities are used for meetings and social events. Participation and use of shared facilities help create a sense of community and a safe place for children and adults alike.
- Who can live in a housing co-op? Anyone can apply to live in a housing co-op. People of all backgrounds and cultures live in co-ops. Co-ops select new members. They must make sure that applicants will be willing to share the responsibility of managing the co-op once they are selected. Co-op education is fundamental to becoming members of Sarcee Meadows. Prospective members must understand the rights and responsibilities of co-op living. Members moving in must also demonstrate their ability to maintain their financial responsibilities, including the purchase of shares and the ongoing monthly housing charge.