Co-operative Housing

Do It Green! Minnesota


From the outside, a housing co-op looks like any other townhouse development or apartment building. But, a housing co-op is different – here’s how:

Owned by Members

The residents of a housing co-op are members of the co-op corporation which owns the whole property. The co-op provides a unit (townhouse or apartment) to a member household. A household can consist of one or more adults – with or without children. Members do not own their own units.

Managed by Members

All members have an equal say in how major decisions are made – “one member, one vote.” Members come together at meetings to elect a Board of Directors, to approve the annual budget and approve by-laws. Each director is a member and lives in the co-op. Other members work on committees or they perform various tasks to help with the work involved in running the co-op. A co-op also employs staff in the co-op’s office who look after the day-to-day business of the co-op.

Involvement by Members

The key difference between co-ops and other kinds of non-profit housing is that co-op members are actively involved in running their housing community. Each co-op member must volunteer time to serve on the Board or on a committee, or volunteer for some other co-op task. Members do not need special skills to get involved. They learn from one another and in training sessions designed for co-op members. Members get to know each other through working together in the co-op. This involvement creates a sense of community and a safe place for children and adults.

Who Can Live in a Housing Co-op?

Anyone can apply to live in a housing co-op. People of all backgrounds and cultures – young and old, married or single, with or without children – live in co-ops. Co-ops are also home to people with disabilities and special needs. There is usually no minimum or maximum income level. Co-ops select their own members from those applicants who will be willing to share the responsibility of running the co-op once they become members. The desire to live in a diverse community is important.

How Much Does it Cost?

Each member household pays a monthly housing charge (like rent) to cover the costs of operating the co-op. Some households pay the market housing charge, and others pay an assisted housing charge that is based on income. The market housing charge is usually about the same as rent on a similar private rental unit in the area. An assisted housing charge is usually about 30 percent of the resident’s gross monthly household income.

To apply for co-op housing. Contact the individual co-op. They each have their own application. Many co-ops hold regular information meetings where you can find out more about the co-op, ask questions, and pick up an application form.

Cooperative Housing in the Twin Cities:

Also see: University of Wisconsin/Madison Center for Cooperatives

Artist Cooperatives:

The following artist co-ops are run by:

Artspace Projects, Inc.
528 Hennepin Ave. S. Suite #404
Minneapolis, MN 55403

Tilsner Artists Cooperative
300 Broadway St.
St. Paul, MN 55101

Northern Warehouse Artists’ Cooperative
308 Prince St.
St. Paul, MN 55101

Student Housing Cooperatives:

University of Minnesota Family/Partnered Student Housing:

Como Student Community Cooperative
1024 27th Avenue SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414

Commonwealth Terrace Cooperative
1250 Fifield Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55108

These student cooperatives are for students and staff of the University of Minnesota and surrounding colleges. The following four co-ops are managed by non-profit:

Riverton Community Housing

Chateau Student Housing Cooperative
425 13 Avenue South East
Minneapolis, MN 55414

Marcy Park Student Coop Housing
700 8th St. S.E. & 1000 8th St. S.E.
Minneapolis MN 55414

Marshall Student Housing Cooperative
1405 5th Street SE
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55414

Franklin Student Housing Cooperative
2300 East Franklin Avenue
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55406

Senior Cooperatives:

There are over 40 senior cooperatives in Minnesota. Check them out: Email:

Cooperative Housing Resources
2813 South 9th Street
Minneapolis, MN 55406



A cooperative 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.

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

1. Voluntary and Open Membership
2. Democratic Member Control
3. Member Economic Participation
4. Autonomy and Independence
5. Education, Training, and Information
6. Cooperation among Cooperatives
7. Concern for Community

Co-operative Housing

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