Co-op housing: working together to live better

James Brown, Chief Executive of Common Equity NSW, the peak body for housing co-operatives in the state, explains why Australia should be looking at a collective response to a community problem.

Co-Op housing really should be playing a significant role as one of the solutions to the housing affordability crisis. It is very popular in other parts of the world but NSW is slow to catch on and we have recently ramped up our growth efforts to play our part in the solutions, banging on the government’s door to attract their interest.

Co-op housing is more cost effective to build due to utilising shared spaces, has lower running costs because the tenants self manage and perform many tasks that others actually pay staff to do, it supports better outcomes for tenants by empowering them and giving them responsibility as well as establishing an excellent network to deal with the challenges of life.

Co-Op housing is suitable to all from free market owners, investors, affordable rental, social and community housing tenants. It has particular appeal to seniors who often become isolated as they age, disabled who rely on a service support network to survive and lots of other special interest groups who find comfort and strength in collaborating and working together for the common good.

There are so many different examples and ways for co-op housing to benefit society and we are advocating for co-op housing to play a larger roll in the housing sector.

Governments are starting to show interest but there is much more they can do to help facilitate ways to realise the benefits of co-ops. Investors are starting to show interest and we are happy to work with any to show them how to deliver better housing solutions.

I warn you that the world of co-op housing is very addictive, the more people learn, the more they are attracted to the possibilities and benefits. In short, co-op housing trumps all other forms of housing.

You can find out more about Common Equity NSW here.

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