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Shared Equity & Cooperatively-Owned Housing: A Guide to Navigating the Models

11/17/2021

Shared Equity & Cooperatively-Owned Housing: A Guide to Navigating the Models

Author(s)/Creator(s): NeighborWorks America

As communities and nonprofit organizations look for ways to address affordable housing needs, prevent displacement of long-time residents due to rising housing costs, and promote neighborhood stabilization in distressed markets, many are exploring shared equity and cooperative ownership models as part of the solution. These models include community land trusts, limited-equity cooperatives, deed-restricted homes and resident-owned manufactured housing communities and are well-established ways for communities to provide lasting housing affordability and support wealth creation for families who otherwise would not have access to stable housing or asset building opportunities. They often also allow for increased community control of housing and land. Together, these elements comprise a promising and comprehensive way to create affordable homes that lasts over generations and to promote community stabilization and create the opportunity for more inclusive, economically and racially diverse neighborhoods.

Like any approach to community change, these models do not offer a one size fits all solution. There are many aspects of program design and implementation that need to be understood by anyone who wants to implement a model of ownership, community wealth building and community stabilization that is new to their local area. Community objectives must be weighed alongside market conditions, specific community goals, geographic characteristics, financing options, state and local tax and legal frameworks and many other considerations when deciding whether to pursue one or more shared equity housing model in a select area. 

Our guide is designed to serve as a starting point if you're considering a shared equity or cooperative housing approach as a possible tool to address your community's needs. It offers a set of guiding questions that should be noted when exploring the benefits and tradeoffs of pursuing these models. Included in the guide is detailed information on the following model types:
  1. Resale restricted homeownership models.
  2. Resident-owned manufactured housing communities.
  3. Other cooperative housing models.

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