Co-op Development

NASCO offers development support to cooperatives looking to start, expand, or stabilize. We serve as a nonprofit housing co-op developer that offers services below-market rate for members. The need for community-controlled and permanently affordable housing is increasingly pressing especially for low-income people and students. NASCO has a commitment to continuous expansion without displacing communities. We seek to provide more opportunities to access cooperative housing through pooling resources, removing barriers to development, improving access to capital, and training cooperative members and staff in development. 


This program is overseen by a committee of the NASCO Board.


Development Services

Our staff can provide assistance with:

  • Property Purchasing 
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Incorporation Support
  • Financial Planning 
  • Finding Capital Sources
  • Grant Applications and Compliance
  • Expansion and/or redevelopment of existing buildings
  • Tax exemption for cooperatives (US-only)



NASCO provides a free initial consultation to assess your needs and determine whether or not we are a good fit for support.


Major Development consulting projects involving loans are not billed hourly, but are handled on a success-fee basis. Your co-op will not pay unless you are able to get the financing you need for your project. NASCO builds in a flat percentage of any financed work which is rolled into any financing the co-op gets. Development projects are considered complete when the co-op has completed its real estate transaction. Continued support will be provided after the purchase or refinancing is complete.

Smaller-scale consultation around policy and operations design, financial planning, community building, and governance and structures is billed hourly. Learn more about our consulting services here.


Development Service Fee Rates

NASCO Members:

Purchase                  3.0%

Refinancing              2.5%

Hourly Consulting    $50/hr


Purchase                    7.0%

Refinancing                6.0%

Hourly Consulting      $150/hr



Organizer’s Handbook

NASCO's Organizer's Handbook is a comprehensive guide to creating group-equity housing cooperatives. By explaining the cooperative movement, campus and community organizing, nonprofit incorporation, financing, and housing development, this important resource demystifies a challenging project. The 1st and 2nd Editions were released in 1991 and 1999, with a 3rd Edition released in 2008. The most recent 4th Edition is more comprehensive, written with accessible language with advice that can be used in a wide range of different co-op settings.


The Handbook is an essential resource for the student or community organizer focusing on housing issues. Furthermore, it is an informative and illuminating read for people concerned about affordable housing and college accessibility. While the 4th Edition focuses on group equity cooperatives, many of the resources will prove useful to people organizing student, community, and non-housing co-ops. Active students, affordable housing advocates, college administrators, foundations, libraries, concerned citizens, and nonprofit organizations will all find the Handbook an excellent addition to their collection of resources.

The Organizers Handbook is available in PDF format. (download)


Incorporation Resources by State/Province

NASCO has put together a Repository of Incorporation Statutes by State/Province, which includes a map of which provinces/states have co-op incorporation statutes and which statutes are available to incorporate under.


Additional Resources

NASCO's free Resource Library contains additional resources related to starting or expanding cooperatives. To find development resources, visit our Resource Library and choose “Development” in the dropdown menu titled “Categories.”


Request Development Help for your Co-op

If your co-op is exploring feasibility, designing a new building, or wrangling financing, you could benefit from NASCO’s decades of experience in co-op development. NASCO staff will guide your cooperative through the process of purchasing, renovating/redeveloping, or selling real estate in a way that centers your co-op’s mission and values. Request help here.