Though co-ops first appeared in D.C. in 1920 as "a way for wealthy urban dwellers to own their homes and have control of their buildings," many of the cooperatives created today utilize public funds to preserve affordable housing.
"Empowered by the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act, many residents of low and moderate incomes consider cooperative ownership when their apartment building goes up for sale," explains Falcon, campaign organizer for the Coalition for Nonprofit Housing and Economic Development (CNHED). "The DC government supports some tenants who choose this route by committing public funds for the purchase and rehabilitation of these buildings to make them affordable to the current tenants."
"Many DC renters can't access the tax benefits, stability and capital that a limited equity co-op provides, and traditional homeownership may not be possible either," she adds. "Cooperative housing started as an option only for the wealthy, but today it's a gateway to homeownership and financial stability for those who need it most."