Co-operatives, whether housing or business, are democratic, not-for-profit organisations run by and for their members. The co-operative movement’s values are deep-rooted, comprising self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. Housing Co-operatives are non-hierarchical property management companies, involving groups of people who provide and collectively manage affordable homes for themselves either as tenants or shared owners. Unlike some other types of community-led housing, the membership of a co-op is limited to its residents – the community in question is made up of the people living together.
The West Midlands has a rich heritage of housing co-ops, including organisations such as20/20 Housing Co-operative. There are also newer co-op housing projects underway, like Stirchley Co-operative Development, a group of local people in housing and worker co-ops building affordable and eco-friendly residential and retail premises at the heart of Stirchley.
The Confederation of Co-operative Housing website is a good place to learn more about this model.