Renewal & Planning Overview

Please visit chfbcplanning.ca

Summary

Long-term planning is critical to co-op success, and to successfully plan, a co-op needs to understand its property; its finances; its legal obligations; and members' requirements and goals.

With its Refinancing and Renewal Program, CHF BC provides a variety of services to help co-ops prepare for the future. We offer asset management planning, and aid to co-ops needing to refinance existing debt or undertake new borrowing. Our goal is to ensure that co-ops remain sustainable, thriving communities.

The Refinancing and Renewal Program helps co-ops:

  1. obtain technical reports from engineers (such as building condition assessments and building envelope studies);
  2. develop long-term asset management plans informed by member opinion and taking into account a co-op's unique circumstances; and,
  3. assist co-ops with financing options (where required).

Background

BC’s non-profit housing co-ops face challenges as they plan for the future:

  • Co-op buildings are aging and many require significant renewal and rehabilitation efforts;
  • Some co-ops on leased land will see the end of their original leases (and they may need to extend their leases or perhaps buy land);
  • An aging population will likely have an increased need for accessible accommodation;
  • Upgrades to inefficient building systems could save co-ops considerable money in operating expenses;
  • Shrinking average household sizes may create more situations in which the units in co-op buildings aren’t well-suited to co-op members’ needs; and,
  • Operating agreements with government are expiring along with the co-op sector’s ability to access government lending programs.

How can co-ops address these concerns and opportunities? What do co-ops need to do to improve members' homes and the co-operative sector's long-term viability? An essential element is to plan for the long-term, looking beyond this year's budget or a three-year capital mini-plan. That planning involves accessing technical assistance and, where necessary, financing to carry out renewal and rehabilitation work.

This section of the CHF BC website offers some general information, but to learn more please visit chfbcplanning.ca.

Clients

The Refinancing & Renewal Program sees co-op clients of all sorts. CHF BC staff work with co-ops without operating agreements, and co-ops with agreements made under a variety of federal and provincial programs. Section 61, Section 95, ILM and BC Housing co-ops have all made use of our services.

  “We started our building envelope project in 2004. After ten years we asked CHF BC for help. We recently signed the documents for our Vancity loan and we’re ready to go to tender. It never would have happened without the CHF BC AMP!”

- Sarjit, Pioneer Co-op (spring 2015)
 

We also work with small co-ops with fewer than 20 units, and co-ops with more than ten times that number of units — the largest in the province. Most of our clients are located in Metro Vancouver or Vancouver Island, but we serve co-ops throughout BC.

Applying to the Program

To apply to the program, co-ops must submit:

  • a completed application form
  • a cheque or money order to CHF BC ($150, plus GST, for a total of $157.50) as an application fee
  • a consent-to-share information form (if the co-op works with The Agency for Co-operative Housing: most members already have such agreements in place)

 

_____________________________________
NEXT: More About the Technical Reports