The Cooperative Movement

First off, what is a co-op? 

A co-op, or cooperative, is an autonomous association of people who join together to meet their common goals through a jointly owned and democratically controlled organization. There are co-ops in almost every sector of the economy: housing co-ops, worker co-ops, producer co-ops, healthcare co-ops, financial co-ops, and many more. 


What is a housing co-op? 

Housing co-ops are democratic, member-controlled, and member-owned entities that own and/or manage real estate. A primary advantage of housing co-ops is the pooling of members’ resources so that their buying power is leveraged, thus lowering the cost per member in all aspects of home ownership. Another primary advantage of housing co-ops is long-term affordability, unlike the speculative housing market which increases rent beyond current populations’ ability to pay. 


What is the cooperative movement?

The cooperative movement is a global effort to advance the ICA shared principles of cooperation through co-op enterprises.  The cooperative movement seeks sweeping economic change rooted in justice and is grassroots-led by cooperators and co-op supporters across the world. By practicing structures and systems that model democracy, interdependence, peer education, and community concern, cooperatives allow us to reimagine and reshape the social and economic structures that define how we live and work together. 


NASCO’s role in the cooperative movement

NASCO’s role in the movement is to organize and educate affordable group equity housing co-ops and their members. NASCO identifies the shared needs and interests of group equity housing cooperatives in the US and Canada, and works to both support the missions of member cooperatives and to facilitate a strong movement network. Learn more about how we do that here. NASCO works in solidarity with the global cooperative movement, and to advance and guide this work NASCO approved an interpretation of the international cooperative principles in the context of our members. Learn more about the organizations that NASCO partners with to advance the cooperative movement. 

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