Reports from CoCo18
Many thanks to all attendees of the CoCo 2018: Housing Co-operative Conference held at
the Greater London Authority City Hall on Friday May 11th 2018.
It was an inspiring and informative day of talks, workshops and idea-sharing that we hope
galvanised the co-operative community to expand their visions and work together to create
positive housing solutions in these uncertain times.
Many thanks to our fantastic speakers including:
Geraldine Dening - Architects for Social Housing
Andy Bates - Leathermarket JMB
David Palmer - Welsh C-operative Centre
David Rodgers - President of Co-ops Housing International
Suz Muna - Secretary of Unite Housing Workers
Emily O'Mara - Heathview Co-operative
Jessica Jacobs - Heathview Co-operative
Antoine Rogers - Brixton Co-operative
Tom Jordann and Rowan Constantinou-Stygal - The Drive Co-operative
Gauthier Guerin - Radical Routes
Niall Mulholland - London Co-operative Housing Group
Andy Edwards - Kindling Co-operative
And thanks to Bex and Andy for chairing.
Please find below some resources gathered from the conference.
David Palmer's Wales Co-operative Housing Project Centre:
Andy Bates' on Tenants Self-Management:
Housing Group Manifesto
LCHG is a London-based network, cooperating and campaigning for the needs of co-operatively managed housing and promoting and working for more housing co-ops.
LCHG was set up in 2014, bringing together individual members of housing cooperatives from across London to campaign against the Housing and Planning Bill. While housing coops are exempt from the 2016 Housing Act, we still face many challenges.
Homes for all
Housing coops are part of the wider social housing sector and many housing coop properties in London are owned by housing associations. Coop members share many of the same needs and interests as housing association, council tenants, and other social housing tenants.
Scrap the Housing Act
Reverse the cuts to housing benefits
Mass council house building
End social cleansing
Regeneration without loss of social housing – Residents’ right to vote
End Housing Association commercialisation and ‘mega-mergers’
Build the housing cooperative sector
Housing coops are a unique form of social housing, where tenants often collectively own and manage their homes. Coops consistently top the list of ‘best social landlords’ and provide wider social and community benefits.
In the 1970s and 1980s councils offered low interest loans and Housing Association Grants (HAGs) for local people to turn unused properties into successful housing coops.
However decades of council housing privatisation, deregulation, cuts to social housing and the policy of privatising local government social housing and regeneration, took its toll on housing coops.
Today’s high price of land in London and chronic lack of public subsidies and support are major obstacles to expanding existing coops and creating new coops.
Despite the main political parties stating that they favour expansion of the coop sector, housing coops are a very small part of the social housing sector in Britain, at just 0.6%. But housing coops can be an important and growing part of urgently needed massive increase in council and social housing, which is the key to solving the housing crisis.
Turn empty property into housing coops
Bring back council low interest loans, housing grants and other public subsidies to help expand existing coops and to create new housing coops
Provide land, at fixed low prices or on cheap long-term leases, from Councils, Tfl, Network Rail and other public spaces, for housing cooperatives
New council house building programmes to offer tenants the option to form housing cooperatives
Decades of hostile climate for social housing, saw many coops turning inwards and struggling to bring through a new generation of member-activists. However the current housing crisis and challenges facing housing coops is creating a new generation of active members. It is essential that we grab this opportunity to ensure the democratic running of housing coops essential for coops to survive and thrive.
- Members’-led participatory democracy in housing coops, as the proven best way to run our collective homes.
- Cooperative democracy at all levels of the housing coop movement, in London, nationally and internationally, including the election of all officers and board members. Those who purport to speak on our behalf should be able to be held democratically accountable.
Cooperative use of resources
- LCHG promotes the cooperative sharing of skills, resources and expertise between London’s housing coops and their members.
- LCHG encourages efforts by housing coops to pool their resources (repair and maintenance, management and governance skills etc.) to create directly-employed organisations/bodies, run on a cooperative basis (staff on a living wage and with trade union rights).
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