For Immediate Release
May 9, 2022
Co-op City, NY – Today, Congressman Jamaal Bowman, Ed.D. (NY-16) hosted residents in Co-op City, housing advocates, local elected officials and community leaders to announce his Affordable CO-OP (Collective Opportunities for Owning Property) Act.
“My American dream is to live in a country where everyone has access to dignified housing,” said Congressman Jamaal Bowman, Ed.D (NY-16). “As housing prices and the cost of living reach an all time high and wealth inequality grows, more and more people are being shut out of the opportunity to stay stably housed or become homeowners due to high prices, wealth disparities, and corporate greed in the real estate sector. From redlining and exclusionary zoning to credit and lending discrimination, our nation continues to face an urgent, racially unjust housing crisis that disproportionately harms Black, brown, low-income, and elderly people.
“My bill, the Affordable CO-OP (Collective Opportunities for Owning Property) Act, would expand federal support for affordable housing cooperatives to make homeownership more accessible for people who have been historically exploited by a real estate industry prioritizing profits over people. Limited equity cooperative housing is a type of affordable housing that allows residents to communally own their own property, have a stake in decision-making, and sell units at a price that maintains affordability for future residents. This bill would unlock more federal funds to develop and convert properties into limited equity cooperatives, and ensure that cooperative residents have access to funds for resilience improvements, community programming, and other support they need to thrive.”
“In my district, Co-op City is a prime example of how shared equity housing can foster community and long-term affordability for all. Co-op City is the largest housing cooperative in the world and the largest Naturally Occurring Retirement Community in the nation, with over 45,000 residents. Here, neighbors enjoy their own homes with affordable mortgage payments, can age in place and build lasting relationships with their neighbors over generations. If we center people in our housing policy, housing justice can finally become a reality for all.”
Specifically, the Affordable Co-op Act will:
Equip HUD to issue zero-interest loans for the predevelopment, development, preservation, and conversion of properties into limited equity cooperatives for low-to-moderate income households.
Create a new grant program for limited equity cooperatives for green retrofits, community development, democratic governance activities, and resident support programming.
Revise FEMA and Weatherization Assistance Program policies to ensure cooperatives can access disaster relief funding and weatherization funds.
Establish an Office of Shared Equity Housing at HUD to support affordable cooperatives and provide technical assistance to tenants, non-profits, and cities looking to support cooperative housing models
“Given our current housing crisis, it's crucial we support access to affordable housing opportunities now more than ever,” said Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY). “Co-ops have always been essential to expanding access to affordable housing for working families in New York. I was proud to work with Representative Bowman to secure a long-term $621 million loan for Co-op City to make critical capital repairs. We need to do all we can to continue to expand federal support for affordable housing cooperatives in New York, as proposed by the Affordable CO-OP (Collective Opportunities for Owning Property) Act of 2022, to support not only Co-op City and its residents, but all co-op housing across the state and country.”
“I am proud to support the Affordable CO-OP (Collective Opportunities for Owning Property) Act of 2022 presented by our Congressman Jamaal Bowman,” said Sonia Feliciano, 1st Vice President of the Riverbay Board. “It recognizes Co-op City as a national model and treasures preserving affordability for years to come.”
“Limited Equity Cooperative housing like Co-op City and the 1,200+ HDFC Co-ops in NYC have been extraordinarily successful in providing permanently affordable homeownership opportunities for New Yorkers for nearly 100 years, said Andrew Reicher, Executive Director of UHAB. “The Affordable CO-OP Act will not only expand this much needed housing opportunity in NYC but make this successful model available nation-wide.”
“The National Association of Housing Cooperatives (NAHC) represents thousands of housing cooperative units nationwide and has done so for the past sixty-one years. We strongly support the Affordable CO-OP Act, which focuses on government funding for the development and preservation of limited equity cooperatives in the U.S.," said Fred Gibbs, President of the National Association of Housing Cooperatives. "This legislation aligns with our mission, “To support and educate existing and new cooperative housing communities as the best and most economical form of home ownership."
For a one-pager of the bill please click here
For a section-by-section summary of the bill please click here
For full text of the bill please click here
Original co-sponsors of the legislation include Rep. Yvette D. Clarke (NY), Rep. Mondaire Jones (NY), Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY), Rep. Rashida Tlaib (MI), and Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ).
Sponsoring organizations and people include the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB), National Association of Housing Cooperatives, National Cooperative Business Association, Leading Age, Center for Popular Democracy Action, US Federation of Worker Cooperatives, North American Students of Cooperation, Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH), Coalition to Save Affordable Housing, Affordable Housing is for All, the New Economy Project, Housing Justice for All, and the New York Housing Conference.