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Co-op Housing 101

What makes co-op communities special?

Housing co-ops make a unique and valuable contribution to affordable housing in Ontario. There are more than 550 housing co-ops across the province with more than 41,000 homes. About 125,000 Ontarians call a housing co-op their home. So what makes these communities so special?

Co-op housing is community-owned and democratically run by its member residents.

The homes in a co-op are owned by the co-operative. Residents enjoy secure, affordable housing while they live in the co-op. As members, they contribute to the democratic management of their community, electing a board of directors and often volunteering their time to co-op activities. This gives co-op members control of and involvement in their housing and community.

Co-op housing is cost-effective and affordable.

Housing co-ops are run on a break-even basis, without generating a profit. This helps ensure that costs are kept down and that rents are affordable. Governments contribute subsidies to help cover the housing costs of low-income co-op residents, allowing them to pay reduced rents that are geared to their incomes.

Housing co-ops are diverse and inclusive.

Co-ops bring together people from a wide variety of social and economic backgrounds, diverse cultures, nationalities and races, and a wide range of ages – in an environment based on mutual respect. 58% of co-op residents are women, 11% are from visible minorities, 20% are immigrants and 12% are people with a long-term physical disability. Co-ops are inclusive communities where mutual respect and support are valued.

This great affordable housing success story is part of the solution to Ontario’s housing crisis.

Traditionally, co-ops have been about 1/4 of the affordable housing developed in Ontario. Over the last decade, that has dwindled to 1/8. The existing development programs need to be fixed so that co-ops can be part of the solution. Ontario’s housing co-op sector is ready to partner with all levels of government so that people across the province can have the option of living in a co-op home.