Most co-ops are run by a volunteers who look after maintenance and serve on the co-op’s board of directors. As in most organizations, a few people do more work than others. This can lead to friction which can be especially hard to deal with when living in close proximity. At least our co-op didn’t have to deal with living at close quarters. Our initial meetings showed that our membership was made up of a few different factions. But I believed we were all interested in one thing – affordable housing.
When we divided up the jobs necessary to run the co-op, the male partner of the couple known to us became president and his wife was part of the financial committee; my boyfriend was the head of the maintenance committee and, as his partner, I kept the maintenance records so was also part of the finance committee. The other finance committee member was the treasurer, also a woman.
Under Construction: A History of Co-operative Housing in Canada uses a quote from Alex Laidlaw which I found particularly apropos. “It is as difficult as democracy itself. We never say, and nobody should say, that co-operatives are automatically the solution to housing problems. They are never any better than the people that run them.” (p 69) This turned out to be especially true when it came to our co-op.
The house on Prescott Street
Cole, Leslie. Under Construction: A History of Co-operative Housing in Canada, Borealis Press, Ottawa, Ontario, 2008.