We are living in a society that champions home ownership but offers only one main route to get there. And for the majority - it's unaffordable.
Cooperatives allow its members to invest in property affordably and to, when desired, have real, human interaction with neighbors amidst a world of isolation and digital distraction.
Thanks to those who are part of our Innovator's Dugout:
- Chicago Community Loan Fund
- North American Students of Cooperation (NASCO)
- Neighborhood Housing Services
- Chicago Rehab Network
- New Community Vision
- Living Room Realty
- Sol House Cooperative
- Logan Square Cooperative
- Shared Capital provides financing for housing cooperatives and training in consensus decision making for members
- Northcountry Cooperative Foundation (MN) published "Cooperative Housing Development Toolbox"
- Chicago Community Loan Fund provides financing for housing cooperatives
- Living Room Realty is a boutique real-estate agency in Chicago has experience finding properties for cooperatives and hosts occasional information sessions
- Chicago Co-Op is a website displaying the ever-growing list of existing housing cooperatives in Chicago
Reframing Co-ops to Address Current Housing Issues
The co-op movement needs a contemporary nudge. A design touch? A hip angle? We are proposing a more proactive, design-focused campaign that embraces other relevant sectors - including affordable housing, community & economic development, policy, real estate, design and technology. It needs a marketing strategy and tools to make it easier for people to start exploring. Read more about the little-known benefits of housing co-ops.
What We Are Doing to Reframe
Our contribution includes a number of initiatives:
- Creating personalized vision boards to envision basic goals (see below)
- Creating visual diagrams to illustrate the process, making it easier to understand
- Maintaining a facebook group that curates related articles/events and allows people to connect
- Providing custom design services for co-op units, using a competitive bid process to lower costs
- Refreshing the design for the Cooperative Communities of Chicago website with a user-centered focus.
- Making the process of considering co-ops as easy as deciding to buy a home with our compatibility tool Fireplace.
Throughout our journey, we've learned some tips and tricks. We wanted to share these with everyone through two free guides. We hope they're helpful.
Busting Stereotypes Surrounding Co-ops
Cooperative housing is an affordable housing option that is not well-known and shrouded in myths. In fact, it is a model that allows you to own/invest in more than a home.
- Have as much privacy as a typical apartment/condo unit.
- Own property when you don't qualify for traditional financing.
- Live in a unit without neighbors that bug you.
- Own property with a close-knit group of friends rather than a condo association.
- Customize your unit without worrying about a landlord.
Personalized Vision Boards
A vision board is a good starting point to get your unique vision out of your head and onto paper. This is useful to show potential co-op members to immediately see which values/goals are shared.
- How can we show the wide spectrum of cooperative living options that exist?
- Why should condo owners or homeowners consider switching to cooperative ownership?
- What kinds of financing options do cooperatives offer?
- How can housing cooperatives be branded to appeal to a wider audience?
- Which obstacles are in place that make the cooperative housing process difficult? Why?
- What incentives exist for other industries to embrace cooperative ownership? Which ones need to be shifted for it to become a mainstream option?
- Can cooperative ownership positively reform the development world?
Want to collaborate on this project? Join our team. Become a partner.
Individuals curious about housing cooperatives can participate in our next round of user-testing.
We are also looking for a back-end developer with an interest in affordable housing alternatives. We'd also like to join forces with existing cooperatives or affordable housing organizations to spark interest and foster understanding. Please contact us at your convenience.