A housing Cooperative is a group of people who form a corporation to provide housing services for themselves.
Co-op living is unique to all other forms of housing because it represents a community living within a community.
Democratic management is the lifeblood of a healthy co-op and the people who live in the Coop, and who collectively own and operate the housing, are voting members. The members elect a board of directors from among themselves and authorize the board to conduct the day to day business of the Cooperative in a manner that satisfies all of the requirements of its Charter, Bylaws, Agreements, and Policies.
All members in a cooperative share in the advantages and responsibilities of co-op life, which makes it more than just a place to live.
There are many kinds of co-operatives: food co-ops, co-op daycares, credit unions, retail co-ops, worker co-ops and housing co-ops. Any group of people can form a co-operative. The members own the co-operative and the co-operative provides a service they need. Housing co-operatives provide housing.
As a co-op member, you have security of tenure. This means that you can live in your home for as long as you wish if you follow the rules of the co-op and pay your housing charge (rent). As a co-op member, you have a say in decisions that affect your home. You and your neighbours own your homes co-operatively. Members form a community that works together to manage the co-op. Co-op communities are made up of all kinds of people – people with different backgrounds and incomes and special needs. These diverse and vibrant communities are the unique strength of the co-op housing movement.
Central Ontario Co-operative Housing Federation (COCHF) is a federation of non-profit housing co-operatives in the cities of Waterloo, Kitchener, Cambridge, Brantford and Guelph. COCHF member organizations include: housing co-ops, student housing co-ops, co-op staff associations, and resource groups (co-op housing developers/managers).
COCHF was incorporated in 1992 as a co-operative under the Co-operative Corporations Act (Ontario).