Monday, March 5, 2012

A community divided through housing

Remember my post about not trusting your local community? Didn't think so. Anyways...a few weeks ago the Norris Square Civic Association presented their plans for the new co-op housing units in the Norris Square neighborhood of Philadelphia. At first I was pretty much confused as to what exactly co-op housing was all about. The definition of a housing cooperative is, "A legal entity—usually a corporation—that owns real estate, consisting of one or more residential buildings; it is one type of housing tenure. The corporation is membership based, with membership granted by way of a share purchase in the cooperative. Each shareholder in the legal entity is granted the right to occupy one housing unit." Probably doesn't make any sense whatsoever.

I attending a meeting to help better understand a housing cooperative. Considering this is new to the neighborhood and pretty much involves the community, it's very important Some people see the negative and some people see the positive. The new property will include 15 units (for 15 families) and half of those families living in the units will have to serve on the board. The board pretty much comes up with all the rules and regulations, bylaws, costs, etc. associated with the property. Sound confusing yet? Considering the neighborhood, think about the type of people that "deserve" to not only live in this units, but also be in control. A person's ethics/morals comes to mind since this is strictly business.

There are countless factors to consider when seeking tenants and the board. Also, just because a person qualifies does not necessarily mean they can afford this type of housing. This is very similar to owning a house and living in a dorm room (during college). I'm certainly interested but then again, I have lots of questions. Do you think a housing cooperative can work? Any examples?
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