S.F. Bay Area Cooperative Offers New Affordable Housing Model

A California cooperative brings together investors to make homeownership more accessible and finance housing projects that help to slow gentrification.

1 minute read

December 18, 2019, 1:00 PM PST

By Camille Fink

Downtown Oakland

kropik1 / Shutterstock

Oscar Perry Abello looks at the East Bay Permanent Real Estate Cooperative, an organization in the San Francisco Bay Area that facilitates purchase and shared ownership of properties for low- and moderate-income households. With funding from investors, the cooperative is pursuing affordable housing projects while also promoting a vision and goals that differ from those of conventional real estate development ventures.

"The cooperative sees its work as an attempt to demystify the entire process of real estate — securing properties for acquisition, assembling capital stacks, and managing properties for the long-term — so that community organizers everywhere, of every marginalized group, can bring in communities to participate as an active player in their own development instead of just being passive recipients or victims of displacement," says Abello.

One feature that distinguishes the cooperative, he says, is the fact that investors do not have to be residents of the properties. "In some ways EB PREC resembles the savings-and-loan associations of yesteryear, where neighbors invested into a communal pot of money that they took turns borrowing from in order to support each other’s acquisition of property," notes Abello. 

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