Welcome to Co-op Foundations.  This is where we highlight in-depth stories about our members, partners, programs and services.  We hope their accomplishments will inspire, educate and motivate. Foundations brings to life the original spirit of our long-running member magazine.

The name Foundations play on the dual meaning of a (co-op’s) building foundation and ‘foundational’ stories that help to define our movement.

  24 July 2023   

Welcoming North Arm Housing Co-operative’s First Member

On June 20th, Olga Riabova was the first member to move into the new co-op at the corner of Fraser and East 19th Avenue in Vancouver. The North Arm Senior’s Housing Co-operative includes 58 homes for seniors aged 55 and up, and a partnership with the 411 Seniors Centre Society means there will soon be a seniors’ centre on the ground floor that will include a commercial kitchen, multi-purpose space and office space.

A month after moving in and the excitement hasn’t worn off for the 63-year-old Riabova.

“It’s fantastic!” she said. “It was just like a firework in my life.”

Before her move to North Arm, Riabova had been living in a one-bedroom apartment in an older Metrotown building. She loved the location, but was growing concerned as the demolition of affordable, older buildings in Metrotown crept ever closer to her home.

She had been diligently renewing her applications for non-profit and co-op housing for over 15 years and was starting to think that it would never happen.

“I’m a single person and for a l...

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  13 July 2023   

KC the Co-op Bear and the 100 Acre Wood Co-op

From a young age, KC had been drawn to the concept of cooperation. They marveled at how individuals with unique talents and skills could come together to create something truly remarkable. As they explored the nooks and crannies of the Hundred Acre Wood, KC observed animals working side by side, collaborating, and sharing their resources. It was then that they decided to become an active member of the forest’s cooperative community.

KC joined the Hundred Acre Wood Co-op, an organization where animals worked together to support and uplift one another. The Co-op was a hub of collaboration and shared goals. Every member had a role to play, and KC eagerly embraced their responsibilities. Their love for hard work and dedication quickly made them a beloved figure among their fellow forest dwellers.

In the mornings, KC would wake up early, energized and ready to tackle the day’s tasks. They would make their way to the bustling communal garden, where everyone worked together to grow fruits, vegetables, and flowers. KC had a green paw, and their talent for gardeni...

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  4 April 2023   

Meet Mänia Hormozi, CLT’s New Director of Development

Mänia Hormozi joined the Community Land Trust (CLT) in March 2023, bringing more than a decade of experience in the development sector to her role. She was introduced to the community housing sector in 2011 when she joined a boutique developer building the first affordable home ownership project in the Downtown Eastside at 100 East Hastings St., in partnership with BC Housing and CMHC.

“I discovered I had a good knack for problem solving, getting right into the challenges to find a way out, and bringing people together to move things along,” Hormozi shared in a recent conversation.

Over the next seven years she worked as a development management consultant with a range of non-profits before joining BC Housing in 2018 as a senior project officer. Hormozi helped to usher in the modular housing boom, and then expanded her portfolio when the Housing Hub was created five years ago.

She worked closely with CLT in 2022 on the groundbreaking partnership between BC Housing, the City of Burnaby and CLT to purchase and preserve 425 units of co-op ho...

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  23 March 2023   

The Co-op as a Beacon of Community

I have lived in my co-op since I was three years old; I know my neighbors intimately, for they are made up of my family members and lifelong family friends. Although we have all lived vastly different lives, coming from all combinations of ethnic and cultural backgrounds, we are united by our need for this community. We all feel the weight of financial uncertainty and hold immense gratitude for the opportunity we have to find affordable homes in a safe, friendly neighborhood.

The truth is that our society is rampant with systemic oppression, prejudice, and inequity. This drastically affects some groups more than others on a basis of privilege, such as individuals who are visible minorities, people with disabilities, and those with discriminated-against religions. In an area so diverse with individuals in all of the above groups, my own mother being physically disabled, my own relatives facing Islamophobia; I understand the nuanced ways in which adversity and financial wellbeing are interlocked. The majority of us in our co-op have specific, overlapping circumstances that pr...

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  14 March 2023   

How Housing Co-ops Create Diverse, Equitable, and Inclusive Communities

The quote from Margaret Mead “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed it’s the only thing that ever has” was one of the motivating factors for my husband and I to join Tyee Housing Co-operative. I believe that a housing co-op should reflect the community we want to see which can lead to far reaching impacts in the greater community. Including and valuing the voices that have previously not been heard helps our co-op communities expand and implement the important aspects of growth which is so crucial to our success.

Something that motivates me, both in working in the midwifery model of care but also in accessing the benefits of co-operative housing, is that they both acknowledge not only one aspect of life. They value that everyone has lived experience, and that growth throughout someone’s life builds and becomes a wealth of knowledge.

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  9 March 2023   

How Housing Co-ops Create Diverse, Equitable and Inclusive Communities

Housing co-operatives are invested in creating a community with strong relationships between neighbors and in working together to manage our co-op. Our diverse co-op members all have equal decision making power on how our community and homes are governed. For example, I recommended that someone does a land acknowledgement before every general and board meeting. My suggestion was welcomed and now before every meeting we acknowledge the privilege we have to come together on unceded lands.

All of the diverse co-op members’ opinions and principles are equally valued and heard within our community, which makes housing co-operatives distinct compared to public housing. Overall, housing co-operatives are leaders in creating safe communities that honor different cultural backgrounds and practices as well as in fostering harmonious relationships between diverse people.

Numerous tenants volunteered to regularly sanitize our buildings so that we could keep everyone safe. We made a point to actively check in on each other, especially our elder tenants, to ensure that every...

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  1 March 2023   

Harrison Mooney on Growing Up Black in B.C.

The book cover of Invisible Boy: A Memoir of Self Discovery by Harrison MooneyFor author Harrison Mooney, the experience was filled with confusion and disconnectedness. He spent his life feeling simultaneously singled out and invisible in a family and church community that fervently ignored his Blackness and dismissed both his encounters with racism and his efforts to articulate his struggles.

In his powerful memoir, Invisible Boy, Mooney explores the experience of transracial adoption from the perspective of families that are torn apart, and children stripped of their culture, to fill evangelical communities’ demands for babies. It is a deeply personal tale of a Black coming-of-age nar...

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  31 January 2023   

Kids’ Committee Helps Build Community

Moving at a blistering pace, the kids’ social sub-committee has already been created, established voting rules, created a leadership structure, discussed budget concerns, and planned and executed their first event. No surprise that the December “random party” was a wild success, delivering lessons in democratic participation, co-operation, and even the limits of pizza and candy consumption.

Social committee chair Ken Inaba said the new sub-committee started as a bit of a joke as he was chatting with a youngster who had bold ideas about how the Burnaby co-op’s social events should be planned.

“He likes to make different suggestions,” Inaba said with a smile. “We were planning our Halloween events and he’d say, ‘No, you should do it like this – if you had the table set up like this, you could have the candy set up like that.’”

Spotting the budding potential of a future events planner, Inaba seized the opportunity to encourage some pint-sized co-op involvement. He raised the possibility in conversations with fellow board members, ...

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  3 November 2022   

Olympic Village: Sustainability & Resilience, Past & Future

Originally published on October 24, 2022 by BC Housing

The purpose was to learn from some of the major sustainability and resilience strategies and technologies used at Olympic Village, particularly passive cooling and blue & green infrastructure but including other sustainability and resilience strategies past and future, and included 20 people, a combination of BC Housing staff, BC Housing consultants and contractors, and participants from the other organizations that helped to lead and develop the tour.

Hinge Park


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  1 October 2022   

Palestinian finds refuge in Richmond co-op

It was an opportunity to reflect on the meaning of home – and just how fragile that can be.

“I was taken out of Palestine as a refugee when I was three years old,” Ardat recalled. It was 1948 and the British were pulling out of Palestine, leading to the mass exodus of some 700,000 Arab residents and the destruction of more than 400 Palestinian villages.

Aqabat Jabr camp
Aqabat Jabr camp, undated, UNRWA Archive.

Ardat’s family was one of many that had to flee; his grandparents stayed behind, with the British citizenship granted to his grandfather after fighting for Britain in the Second World War. The family joined thousands of Arab Palestinians in Lebanese refugee camps, and Ardat called ...

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