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Catalyzing worker co-ops & the solidarity economy

Could Co-op Housing Narrow the Nation’s Housing Affordability Gap?

A recent MultiBriefs series examines the affordable housing crisis that’s spanning the nation. The most recent installment of this series specifically looks at housing cooperatives and their potential to address the growing shortage of affordable housing in many US cities.

According to Lucy Wallwork, while housing cooperatives once played a foundational role, particularly in New York City, where legislation provided temporary tax incentives for co-ops, recent years have seen their numbers fall, even as the need for affordable housing increases. One reason for the decline is that many co-ops have expiring affordability requirements—typically these rules expire once the mortgage is paid off, with mortgage lengths often ranging between 20 to 35 years. Once the mortgage is paid, if the co-op mission and vision of providing affordability has been lost, there is little stopping the member-owners from eliminating the affordability rules and converting the buildings to condo ownership, which has happened in some cases.

Read the rest at Nonprofit Quarterly

 

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