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 September 2022   

DeCosmos Village Celebrates 50th Anniversary

DeCosmos Village Housing Co-operative began under the name of the United Cooperative Housing Society. The first incorporators were drawn from the business community, credit union and co-operative managerial staff and the United Church. The incorporators were aware that a co-operative enterprise is both a philosophy and a business. The philosophy, being new to Vancouver, had to be supported with a solid financial and contractual framework that would result in houses.

With these considerations in mind the incorporators worked slowly and carefully. The British Columbia Federation of Labour and the Carpenters and Joiners Local 452 were each approached for funds. They put up $5,000. each to be considered a grant if the project did not reach construction, or a non-interest bearing loan if it did. The United Church provided a $100,000. In interim development financing at 6% interest.

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  2 August 2022   

Honouring our Past, Shaping our Present, Building our Future

Forty years later those ideas are the foundation of an organization that is making a big impact in the co-operative housing movement and the community housing sector, both in BC and across Canada. As the Co-operative Housing Federation of British Columbia celebrates 40 years of supporting and growing co-op housing, its founders and leaders reflect on transformative milestones – and what’s to come. 

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  27 July 2022   

Celebrating 40 Years of Uniting and Serving our Members

On July 27, 1982, the Co-operative Housing Federation of British Columbia (CHF BC) was launched. Since then, we have proudly acted as a voice for B.C.’s housing co-ops and championed a meaningful purpose: To promote better housing conditions in British Columbia. We’ve done this through expanding non-profit co-op housing, sharing skills and information, representing co-op housing to governments and the public and promoting the co-op movement and its principles across the province.

This day marks 40 years of uniting and serving our members in a thriving co-operative housing movement. Now representing over 259 housing co-operatives and their almost 15,000 member households, we continue to realize improved well-being and work to foster a supportive environment for co-operative living through our values of belonging, sustainability and growth.

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  1 June 2022   

A Step On Our Journey Towards Reconciliation

When CHF BC’s flagship publication, SCOOP, was first published, the goal was to share news, events and stories that would bring individual co-ops scattered throughout the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island into a province-wide co-op community—stronger, together.

The name was seen as a clever play on words, conveying both the thrill of a journalistic scoop of important information and, with the “s” removed, the word “co-op.” It’s easy to imagine the creators landing on the name with a sense of pride in its feeling of excitement, forward momentum and even humour.

But the name conveys another meaning; one that wasn’t realized until it was pointed out to us here at CHF BC just recently. This story is about how we are acknowledging our oversight, the privilege inherent in that blindness, and the work we are doing to set things right.

“It has been a real opportunity for reflection because SCOOP is old—long before my time… and over the years it became iconic; people would wait for the next issue,” said Thom ...

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  12 April 2022   

2022 Federal Budget Resonse: Hits and Misses for Affordable Housing

The budget commitments signal a positive step toward addressing the housing affordability crisis gripping communities across the nation, and some of the announcements will likely result in tangible improvements for co-ops, community housing providers, and those they serve.

There’s a lot to dissect in the  $10 billion devoted to housing in Budget 2022; here’s where we see the good news and—well—the not-so-good.

First, the hits:

A new $1.5-billion investment in co-op housing will deliver 6,000 new co-op homes over the next five years. It’s been 30 years since the federal government invested in a co-op housing program and we look forward to seeing people who need safe, secure, affordable homes move into their new co-op communities as soon as possible.The funds will come from a specific carveout of $500 million in Co-Investment Fund money and another $1 billion in Rental Construction Financing Initiative (RCFI) financing. So, not new money, but a welcome commitment to the co-operative form of tenure.

Congratulations to the Co-o...

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  29 March 2022   

Lessons on Co-op Leadership

As leaders in the Co-operative Housing Federation of BC, Community Land Trust and COHO Management Services Society, these women are well-known innovators who have forged a path of success, raising the profile of the co-op housing movement and mentoring the next generation of co-op leaders.

In this edition of Foundations, we hear from Michelle Cooper-Iversen, Halina Kuras and Tiffany Duzita as they reflect on their careers and share their top leadership tips.


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  28 February 2022   

Sharmarke Dubow’s Path to Home

The Victoria city councillor, who was recently recognized as a “noteworthy historical figure” by Canadian Heritage as part of the Black History Month celebrations, says his experience fleeing his home in Somalia as an eight-year-old boy, then living in refugee camps and surviving war and unrest for nearly 20 years, have inspired him to fight for justice, equality and security.

“The most important thing for me is crucial: I want to work every day, collaboratively, with everyone to create communities where all members of the community feel safe, have quality and accessible care, dignity and quality of life at all stages of their life, they can reach their full potential, and where everyone is free to move or stay – and thrive,” Dubow said, adding that building systems in which local government can meaningfully engage residents – particularly the most vulnerable and those who have been historically marginalized – is deeply important to him.

Growing up in Somalia, Dubow said he enjoyed a happy, normal childhood. His parents divorced when he...

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  27 January 2022   

Fighting For False Creek South

That they found themselves “in a really cool community, surrounded by likeminded people,” not to mention housing security, was more than they could have hoped for.

Nearly 25 years later Roth is fighting to keep it that way, not only for her family but for the thousands of people who call False Creek South home now, and for those who will live in a renewed and re-imagined neighbourhood many years from now. She joined the False Creek South All-Coops Working Group nearly 10 years ago—at the time it was a way to stay in touch with friends throughout the neighbourhood when they met every two to four weeks—but along the way she discovered the importance of being actively involved in long-range planning for the community.

Roth, an artist and designer, has served on the boards of the three co-ops she and her family have lived in, including Greater Vancouver Floating Home, Creekview, and False Creek. In 2020 she was named co-chair of the Co-op Authorized Working Group—a subcommittee of the False Creek South Neighbourhood Association’s RePlan group, which is workin...

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  25 August 2021   

Partnering to provide homes to adults with developmental disabilities

Since 2020, six clients of Community Living Society (CLS) have moved into the Fraserview Housing Co-op, where they’ve become integral members of the community. Now, CLS and the Co-operative Housing Federation of BC (CHF BC) are looking for ways to expand the model so that CLS clients can move into well-established co-ops throughout the Lower Mainland.

The two organizations initiated their conversations in 2017. CLS – which supports adults with developmental disabilities and their families with a variety of housing options, employment and training, and other services – had been hearing from their clients that they wanted to live more independently.

“Our feedback was really raising the fact that the opportunities most people have with the experience of moving out of their childhood home, having the opportunity to live more independently, wasn’t available for the people we support who could live independently but were just not able to afford it,” said Gillian Rhodes, CLS’ Chief Operating Officer.

CHF BC had been unaware of the need for affordable ho...

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  22 March 2021   

A co-op housing boom

More than just the concrete, bricks and mortar that went into these construction projects, the new co-ops recently completed in South Vancouver’s Fraserview neighbourhood are welcoming individuals and families who have been busy making connections, starting up committees and finding unique ways to get residents involved – even during the pandemic.

At Fraserview Housing Co-op, Janine Johnston and her family are thrilled to be in a new home that finally feels truly theirs. They have a beautiful view of the Fraser River, complete with nearby walking trails as well as shopping and services, and good friends who live next door. Most importantly, Johnston said, is the sense of security that comes with living in a co-op.

“We love being able to watch the tugboats go by every day, seeing the herons and the dogs and people walking down below,” said Johnson, who serves on the Co-op Housing Federation of BC (CHF BC) board of directors.

She and her husband, and their now seven-year-old daughter, moved into Fraserview in November 2018. They had been renting a home i...

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