Our Principles

(The International Co-operative Association Statement On The Co-operative Identity And Principles)

DEFINITION
A co-operative is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprise.

VALUES
Co-operatives are based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. In the tradition of their founders, co-operative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others.

PRINCIPLES
The co-operative principles are guidelines by which co-operatives put their values into practice.

VOLUNTARY AND OPEN MEMBERSHIP
Membership in a housing co-op is open to all who can use the co-op’s services and accept the responsibilities of being a member, without discrimination.
DEMOCRATIC MEMBER CONTROL
Housing co-ops are member-controlled. Each member has one vote. Housing co-ops give members the information they need to make good decisions and take part in the life of the co-op.
MEMBERS' ECONOMIC PARTICIPATION
Members contribute financially to the co-op and share in the benefits of membership. The co-op does not pay a return on the members’ shares or deposits. Instead it sets aside reserves for the future and charges the members only what it needs to operate soundly.
AUTONOMY AND INDEPENDENCE
Housing co-ops are independent associations. They follow the laws that apply to them and their agreements with governments or other organizations. But the members control the co-op.
EDUCATION, TRAINING AND INFORMATION
Housing co-ops offer education and training to the members, directors and staff so that everyone can play a full role in the life of the co-op. Housing co-ops find ways to tell the public what they are and what they do.
CO-OPERATION AMONG CO-OPS
By organizing together in federations, housing co-ops grow stronger and help to build a healthy co-op movement. Where they can, housing co-ops use the services of co-op businesses to meet their needs.
CONCERN FOR COMMUNITY
Housing co-ops work to build strong communities inside and outside the co-op. They help to improve the quality of life for others and they take care to protect the environment.