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The Southern Alberta Co-operative Housing Association, or SACHA, is a regional federation of housing co-operatives that is governed by a Board of Directors who live or work in member housing co-operatives. SACHA, together with the members, forms a community working toward the same goals and operating by the co-operative principles. This partnership of working together, sharing information and supporting one another ensures continuing success.
About Co-op Housing
There are about a quarter of a million people living in housing co-ops across Canada. A housing co-op is a legal association formed for the purpose of providing homes to its members on a continuing basis. A co-op is different from other housing associations in its ownership structure and its commitment to co-operative principles. Co-op housing offers a home, not an investment.
What is a Co-op and How Does a Co-op Work?
Housing co-ops are member-owned and controlled. Co-ops can provide affordable alternative for people on moderate incomes. The people who live in housing co-op’s are members not tenants.
Co-op’s are democratically run and each member has a vote. Members elect from among themselves, a board of directors to manage the business of the co-op. Members elect the Board of directors, approve the annual budget and set policy. The monthly housing charges (rent) are set by the members to cover the costs of running the co-op.
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. What sets co-ops apart from private rental housing is that they are democratic communities where the residents make decisions on how the co-op operates. .
How to Apply to a Co-op
First, you must decide which co-op(s) you wish to apply to because each co-op has its own application. Contact the co-op to find out how to apply. Some co-ops hold information meetings where you will find out more about that co-op, can ask questions, and can pick up an application. You may be placed on a waiting list if no units are available at the time you apply.
The co-op will consider your application based on criteria that will always include: agreeing to take good care of your home, a willingness to live in a diverse community, and most important: demonstrated financial responsibility. The co-op will always check references as part of your application.
After you have completed an application, you may be invited to an interview where you will be asked some questions. You will also have explained to you your rights and responsibilities of living in your co-op.
If you are looking for housing, please contact the co-operative you are interested in, click here to see the list of co-ops and their availability
The rights of a co-op member include: voting on the annual budget, electing a board of directors, running for the board of directors, receiving audited financial statements, and enjoying a sense of belonging and community.
Some co-ops offer subsidy to help applicable members pay their monthly housing charges. Non-profit housing co-ops 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 25-30% of the household's income plus charges for utilities.