Omar and New York Rep. Maloney Introduce Bill on Co-Ops to Address Affordable Housing Crisis

Affordable Housing Preservation Act. The legislation will fund the creation of community-owned cooperatives for low-income peopl

Photos: NRDC\Urban Institute

Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) introduced the Affordable Housing Preservation Act. The legislation will fund the creation of community-owned cooperatives for low-income people, helping to alleviate the affordable housing crisis while allowing people to communally own the homes they live in.

Specifically, the legislation will establish a $200 million grant program run by the Department of Housing and Urban Development that would support nonprofits to create and preserve affordable housing options by developing cooperatives for low-income individuals. This pilot program will empower tenants through the formation of resident-controlled cooperatives to ensure the needs of the community are met.

Housing co-ops offer an alternative to traditional homeownership and renting practices, where people can come together to form a not-for-profit cooperative corporation and democratically control their housing. The limited-equity co-op model allows each resident to purchase and sell shares in a property but includes restrictions on how much outgoing members can profit from resales to protect long-term affordability.

This program will be an important first step in building more affordable housing options in order to protect and promote the availability of quality housing in vulnerable communities. The legislation is modeled off the Acquisition Fund in Rep. Omar’s Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act.

“Millions of Americans are on the brink of housing insecurity,” said Rep. Omar. “It’s imperative we secure the right of housing for millions of low-income families. I’m proud to partner with Rep. Maloney to increase the availability of low-income housing units through localized solutions to ensure we can house as many people as possible. This legislation will bring us one step closer to a world free from homelessness and housing instability.”

“Affordable housing is one of the most serious challenges facing New York City and our nation,” said Rep. Maloney. “In the wake of the economic crisis caused by the COVID pandemic, it’s more important than ever that we make clear that housing is a human right and leave no community behind. I’m proud to join Rep. Omar in this innovative and important effort to invest in solutions to preserve and promote affordable housing options.”

The list of endorsing organizations include the National Low Income Housing Coalition, Centennial Mortgage, Grounded Solutions Network, ROC USA, Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB).

“The power imbalance between renters and landlords puts renters at greater risk of housing instability, harassment, and homelessness, and it fuels racial inequity,” stated Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. “I applaud Congresswomen Omar and Maloney for introducing the Affordable Housing Preservation Act to help disrupt this power imbalance by creating new opportunities to empower low-income renters to take control of their housing and prevent displacement.”

“UHAB thanks Congresswoman Omar and Congresswoman Maloney for introducing this bill to provide much needed affordable housing,” Andrew Reicher, the Executive Director of the Urban Homesteading Assistance board (UHAB) said.“As the Congresswomen know, representing two states with rich co-op histories, Limited Equity Co-op Housing is a time-tested model that can provide permanently affordable housing and homeownership to solve our nation’s current housing crisis. The Affordable Housing Preservation Act of 2021 gives us the opportunity to demonstrate that.”

“The timing of this bill could not be better, as communities struggle with skyrocketing housing costs, inequality, and declining home ownership”, said Fred Gibbs, President of the National Association of Housing Cooperatives. “Cooperative housing is a proven solution to creating long-term, sustainable affordable housing, building communities and helping individuals take control of their lives. We strongly support Congresswoman Omar and Congresswoman Maloney taking on this effort and providing a real solution for the creation of new affordable cooperative housing.”

“We applaud Congresswoman Omar and Congresswoman Maloney for introducing the Affordable Housing Preservation Act of 2021,” Tony Pickett, CEO of Grounded Solutions Network, said. “This bill will support critical partnerships for nonprofit resident-controlled cooperative housing demonstrations that enable lower income families to successfully own and control where they live, while also providing them with quality housing that remains affordable to meet the needs of future families.”

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