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Catalyzing worker co-ops & the solidarity economy

Talk on Limited-Equity Housing Cooperatives

While low-income workers have struggled to find affordable, dignified housing in (sub)urban areas since time immerorial, the housing affordability crisis in recent years has become more generalized and now affects a growing portion of the middle class throughout the country. Arlington has not been an exception to this trend and the county government has been scrambling to stem the decline of so-called market rate affordable housing (MARKs) while also increasing housing options for very low income individuals by expanding the number of committed affordable housing units (CAFs) through non-profit developers like APAH and AHC. More recently, the county board has proposed the creation of housing conservation disctricts that would place some restrictions on "by right" (re)development in certain neighborhoods and protect existing MARKs from demolition.

While these approaches have played a significant role in combatting Arlington's affordable housing problems, ORA believes that the county government should be giving greater consideration to shared equity housing solutions, particularly limited equity cooperatives. Through its Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA), our northern neighbor Washington, DC has empowered many low income tenants to avoid gentrification-related displacement by providing them the opportunity to purchase and convert their buildings into tenant-owned cooperative corporations. Many of these tenants opted to convert their buildings and units into limited equity cooperatives, which are a form of cooperative housing that is price restricted; affordability is maintained in perpetuity by capping the transfer value of cooperative shares to limit the equity that owners can extract from their units. As a type of collective ownership, LECs enable homeownership without the risk of debt financing or the responsibility of maintenance. The restriction on share resale values keeps LECs affordable to multiple generations of purchasers and enables renters to become homeowners without having to qualify for traditional fnancing. LECs provide these benefts while spreading the risk and cost of homeownership across many shareholders.


Thu, February 8, 2018

7:00 PM – 9:00 PM EST



Arlington Mill Community Center

909 South Dinwiddie Street

Rm 525

Arlington, VA 22204


Register for this free event here


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