Housing cooperatives are a form of housing which provide quality, affordable, secure housing for their members. A housing coop is tenant managed, community owned rental housing that provides secure and affordable long term housing for people who are on low to moderate incomes. They are usually not for profit organisations that are managed by the members who also live in the properties. In this sense, the members take on the responsibilities of tenant and manager of the housing. Housing coops operate on the basis of the Principles of Cooperation. This means that housing coops, and the cooperative sector as a whole, are committed to the practices of cooperation, education and development.
SLHC is one of WA’s longest running housing coops. We are a member-managed, not-for-profit and incorporated organisation. We aim to provide secure and affordable housing to our members. All our members have equal rights and responsibilities in the management and operation of the cooperative. SLHC is an amalgamation of two housing coops, founded in the early 1980s with support from the State government. We are one of nine common equity coops in WA which provide alternative community housing to people on low to moderate incomes under the auspices of the Department of Housing.
SLHC is unique in WA as it is the only common equity coop situated north of the river and its 6 dwellings are not located on the same property. SLHCs dwellings (a 2 bedroom townhouse, 2 three bedroom villas, a three bedroom duplex, a four bedroom house, and a five bedroom house) are centrally located in West Leederville, North Perth, Yokine and Dianella. Our members are diverse and creative, including artists, beekeepers, environmental scientists, musicians and film makers. We are family oriented, and enthusiastic about our gardens and environmental and community sustainability. We meet monthly for coop business and hold bimonthly busy bees. We work hard so that our homes are inviting and secure. Having fun while conducting the serious business of providing housing is of vital importance to us in order to sustain our community.
Housed members pay rent to the coop as long as they reside in housing owned by the coop. Rent is set at a maximum of 25% of gross household income up to a maximum “cost rent.” This cost rent is set by the ATO.
These renewed Principles of Cooperation are taken from the International Cooperative Alliance Centennial Congress (1996):
· Voluntary and open membership;
· Democratic member control;
· Member economic participation;
· Autonomy and independence;
· Education, training and information;
· Cooperation among cooperatives; and
· Concern for community.
· Become part of a supportive and friendly community;
· Benefit from education and training aimed at helping members to effectively run the coop, and gain confidence in your abilities and skills;
· Escape from the dependency on private rental or community housing;
· Become part of a democratic and consensus-based organisation which values all members and their contributions
· Long term security of tenure in quality housing
· Affordable housing;
· Taking on the responsibility for the management of your home will require a commitment in maintaining your property and those of the other members.
Members are part of a cooperative movement committed to sharing and community building. Coops provide a framework for the development of community. There are opportunities to create a sense of belonging, community spirit and togetherness when you are involved in a housing cooperative. Being involved in a housing cooperative requires a commitment of time, energy, and patience. It can be hard work! It can be challenging! It can also be great fun, exciting and interesting! Many coop members grow as individuals in terms of confidence, skills and knowledge. Coops offer the opportunity to meet people with similar aims, have fun and feel part of a wider Community.
This is always the most difficult question to answer and depends on current occupancy and the length of the waiting list. Being a member does not guarantee you housing: you may be able to move into a house quite soon, but you may also need to wait months or even years. In the meantime, you will be a member of a vibrant, supportive community, using your skills to support that community and learning new skills that you can use in the wider community. If you need housing urgently, cooperative housing may not be for you.
Anyone is eligible to become a member of SLHC. However, if you are also interested in tenancy, DoH housing eligibility criteria apply.
SLHC offers associate membership and full membership. Associate members participate in SLHC business, including meeting discussions, but they cannot vote and are not eligible for housing. Full members have an initial 6 month probationary period where they participate in SLHC business, but like Associate Members, they cannot vote and are not eligible for housing.