Suitable Housing – available if you know where to look

South Merrill Community Garden's Little Gardener
South Merrill Community Garden’s Little Gardener

More suitable housing is available in the Chicago area than you might think. Housing co-ops, especially the limited equity variety, are permanently affordable because the re-sale price is intentionally capped. Co-ops are not the place to “make a killing” but they are the place to live harmoniously among neighbors that you know.

“Suitable” is a better word than “affordable” when it comes to housing because it includes the physical and social environment and not just the dollar figure.

These photos of aspiring gardeners at the South Merrill Community Garden, near the Genesis Cooperative show what life is like in this community. Many housing co-ops have have residents who have lived there for generations. That stability speaks volumes.

The Genesis Co-op looks like a great place to be a kid.
The Genesis Co-op looks like a great place to be a kid.

Cooperatives are member owned, operated, and governed. A corporation owns the property and purchasing what is known as a “share” gives you the right to live there. As a member owner, you rent from yourself.

The Chicago Co-op.net directory lists many Chicago area co-ops. It’s a good place to start but call first because the list is incomplete possibly outdated.

Although cooperatives contribute significantly to our economy, in general the model is not well known or understood. The University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives’ 2-year study of the Economic Impact of Cooperatives shows that they own $3 trillion in assets and generate $500 billion in revenue. Read more at One Way Out of This Mess.

We will be talking about housing and community building at the Let’s Play Real Estate Launch Reception on Sunday, August 7th from 1 – 3 at the Eden UCC. Please RSVP.

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