The Cooper Square Committee Cooperative Housing Education Project
Over many years, MHA tenants have come to rely on Cooper Square Committee staff and to trust our advice. As a result, we anticipated that through a historic and complex process such as the proposed conversion of their 21 separate buildings into a single affordable-housing cooperative, MHA tenants would once again turn to us for guidance. To avoid giving misinformation, and to avoid creating any unintended appearance that we are withholding information if we refer MHA residents to MHA staff, we applied for and received a grant from The New York Community Trust to set up a housing cooperative education project exclusively for MHA tenants.
In place since May 2010, this initiative will ensure that our staff has sufficient capacity and in-house expertise to provide accurate, current, and neutral information when MHA tenants inquire of our staff about aspects of the co-op offering plan specifically and housing cooperatives generally. Subject to the approval of MHA’s co-op offering plan by the state Attorney General, our staff will provide information specific to the housing cooperative planned for the 21 buildings. For example, they will explain in plain English the “no-action” information package, the bylaws, and the proprietary lease, and discuss their implications for participation, operation, and governance of the Cooper Square Mutual Housing Association Cooperative.
In the previous paragraph, we speak of “neutral information” because our staff, for legal and ethical reasons, will neither encourage nor discourage MHA tenants from becoming shareholders in the MHA cooperative or, in the alternative, remaining tenants. MHA tenants’ decisions with regard to their purchase of shares as well as approval of the offering plan will be entirely their own. CSC staff’s assistance to MHA tenants will principally consist of delivering correct and up-to-date information with the potential to put MHA tenants in the empowering and individually and collectively rewarding position of being able to make fully informed choices. In addition, we will aim to make all 328 MHA tenants knowledgeable about the rights, responsibilities, benefits, and potential risks of cooperative home ownership, whether or not they ultimately decide to buy the share allocated to their unit.
For more information on the CSC housing cooperative education project, contact John Edward Dallas, Project Coordinator, at 212-228-8210 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
(As John no longer works with CSC, contact Steve with questions.)