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US Affordable CO-OP Act

Policy Details

Policy Type: Policy
Jurisdiction: Federal
Status: Passed
Tags: Housing Justice, JEDI, Regenerative Economy

Policy Summary

The Affordable CO-OP (Collective Opportunities for Owning Property) Act is meant to address the nationwide lack of affordable housing opportunities and the increased speculative ownership of housing developments by private equity firms by expanding opportunities for limited-equity cooperative housing. This type of housing allows residents to purchase equity in cooperative housing at below-market rates and the by-laws of the cooperative limits how much the rate can increase over time, which maintains affordability. Additionally, cooperative housing is democratically-run by residents, as opposed to being run by a faceless firm that makes decisions without resident engagement.

The limited equity cooperative housing under the Act must offer at least 50% of its occupancy to households that make less than 60% of the area median income. The Act also directs the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to offer zero-interest loans to community groups and nonprofit organizations to develop limited equity cooperative housing. It also requires that each of the cooperatives that participate must abide by certain guidelines, including being accessible to elders and those with disabilities; rely on renewable fuels and sustainable models as much as possible; minimize evictions; use community land trust models for the land; and be build or rehabilitated with labor that is paid according to prevailing local wages.

The Act also establishes a grant program for states to subgrant to communities for limited or zero equity cooperative housing development. Additionally, all limited equity cooperatives established under this Act are also covered by federal disaster relief policies and state weatherization programs.


Does the policy solution re-distribute power from mainstream institutions to impacted Black community?   

Yes. The Act facilitates the creation of housing cooperatives (co-ops), which provide affordable housing options. Co-ops often have lower costs compared to traditional homeownership, making it easier for Black families to access quality housing. Affordable and stable housing is a foundation for economic mobility, which is critical for self-determination. By promoting collective ownership models, the Act enables Black families to pool resources and share ownership of properties. This collective approach can make property ownership more attainable and reduce financial burdens. Furthermore, The Act includes provisions that make it easier for co-ops to access financing, including government grants and loans. This financial support helps Black families overcome the initial barriers to forming or joining co-ops.

Does this policy address needs impacting diverse groups within Black communities (Black femmes, Black LGBTQ+ communities, Black immigrants, people in poverty, differently abled, people impacted by justice system)? If so, how?

Sufficient information of the impact on diverse Black communities is needed to make an accurate assessment.

Does this policy provide more decision-making power at the hands of Black communities?  

By reducing housing costs, the Act allows Black families to allocate more resources towards education, healthcare, and other opportunities for advancement.

Does the policy undermine extractive economies like capitalism and restore community power around a local and regenerative economy/ primary production?  

Yes. Co-ops help build community wealth by keeping housing costs stable and providing a pathway to property ownership. This is crucial for Black families who have historically faced barriers to accumulating wealth through real estate. The co-op model empowers residents by giving them a voice in the management and operation of their housing. This democratic control ensures that the needs and preferences of Black families are prioritized. Co-ops often incorporate sustainable practices and energy-efficient designs, reducing living costs and promoting environmental stewardship. This aligns with broader goals of economic and environmental sustainability for Black communities.

Does the policy repair past harm and uphold civil and human rights, health and environmental protections? 

Yes. By promoting community ownership, the Act helps protect neighborhoods from gentrification and displacement. Black families can remain in their communities without the threat of being priced out by rising property values. Co-ops also foster a sense of community and mutual support among residents. For Black families, this can mean stronger social networks and collective efforts to improve neighborhood conditions.

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