What Is Co-operative Housing?

• Co-ops are owned by their members
• Co-ops are accountable to their members
• Co-ops are connected to their community

Being a co-op member means having control over your housing. It also means you have a responsibility to make sure that your co-op is a well-managed and pleasant place to live. If you join a co-op, you will be expected to do the following:

• Buy shares in the co-op
• Pay a monthly housing charge
• Attend members’ meetings
• Participate in running the co-op
• Join a committee or the board
• Help with maintenance
• Organize social events

Before you apply to become a member, you need to ask yourself if you will have the time and energy to participate in your co-op.  The following guidelines are part of the co-operative principles which all co-operatives put into practice:

• open membership
• democratic member control
• economic participation
• independence
• co-operative education
• co-operation with other co-operatives
• community

What is subsidy?
Most non-profit housing co-ops currently receive money from the government (federal and/or provincial) to help the co-op subsidize a certain number of housing units.  The housing charge for these units is adjusted to the income of the household.  If a household qualifies for a subsidy, their housing charge is usually set at roughly 30-35% of the household’s income.  Not all co-ops currently have subsidy available, and subsidy is not a certainty going forward.

If you require a subsidized housing unit, click here to learn more about subsidized units in Victoria through BC Housing – BC Housing handles subsidized housing applications from a number of different sources, including CRD Housing and some housing co-ops.

More information…
You can find more information on housing co-ops on the CHF BC (The Co-op Housing Federation of British Columbia) website or the CHF Canada (Co-op Housing Federation of Canada) website.