What We Do
What We Do
Boulder Housing Coalition (BHC) provides key pieces to the puzzle of creating a thriving, inclusive community.
- We develop permanently affordable rental cooperatives.
- Within these cooperatives, our residents have “rights commensurate with ownership.” This means that our residents govern themselves.
- Each of our cooperative houses also votes a representative to the BHC’s Board of Directors.
If you’ve seen our houses, you’ve seen that BHC residents choose to do some pretty amazing things with them. They create gorgeous vegetable and pollinator gardens. They paint murals. They put on solar panels and more.
When people have ownership of their living situation and the community support to make their initiatives happen, oftentimes projects that improve the whole neighborhood are born.
Housing prices in Boulder have risen much more quickly than the wages provided by many careers.
- Educators, researchers, service workers, child-care professionals, and many others are providing essential services to Boulder but find it difficult to live in Boulder themselves.
- We help ensure a successful and resilient community by providing permanently affordable housing.
- We are making it so those people that work in service of our community are able to live in this community.
- The BHC believes everyone, no matter what, should be able to participate in and enjoy the wonders of the Boulder community.
Cooperative living involves participating in a democratically controlled community. Consensus-decision making processes, conflict resolution, and a built-environment created for promoting interaction contribute to a strong sense of community within our cooperative houses.
- Cooperative residents often find that they have greater social support than when they lived alone or in a non-cooperative housemate situation.
- Community and social support contribute to improved mental health and overall happiness for many.
- Our houses also put on open community events including music nights, musical theater, holiday parties, and community meals. All are invited to participate in these events.
Providing Space for Diversity
Providing affordable housing creates room for economically diverse households to join the Boulder community. Due to the nature of where money pools in the United States, economic diversity and affordability often leads to racial diversity as well.
Not only does the affordability of our housing create space for diversity, but our cooperative residents create this space within their communities. Many of our cooperative residents actively engage with social justice issues and constantly work to stay open to new perspectives and realities. Our cooperatives invite and embrace people of any race, ethnicity, national origin, first language, disability status, age, education, gender, or sexual orientation.
We’ve found that we grow stronger and more resilient when we are more diverse. Living with people of different backgrounds allows us to expand our understanding of the world, increase our ability to empathize, improve our communication skills, and be better overall community members.
Throughout the country, there’s a trend for fewer people to occupy larger houses. We create cooperative housing which provides for many people’s social and living needs all within one house.
- Have higher density housing reducing energy use, resource use, housing materials, and waste per capita.
- Have or are adding renewable energy.
- Garden and support local farmers.
- Our houses improve the local sustainability for everyone.
Also, as the Boulder area becomes increasingly expensive, low-income workers have to live further away. Longer commutes cause traffic, smog, and air pollution. By allowing more of the people that work here to actually live here, we are improving Boulder’s air and traffic problems. To further improve our impact on commuting, pollution, and traffic, we provide strong bike infrastructure and our residents promote biking within their communities. We also offer our residents:
- Community Cycles Memberships
- eGo Carshare Memberships
Skill Advancement Opportunities
BHC and community-living provide many opportunities for learning and practicing new skills. These skills are often important to people’s careers and futures as they improve interpersonal “soft” skills while also learning some more concrete “hard” skills.
Every year, BHC hosts a fall training series that includes training on:
- Understanding systems of oppression
- Mental illness in the community
- Consensus decision making
- Meeting facilitation.
- These trainings are open to the greater community. All of them are meant to provide a foundation for people to understand issues in the community and then have the skills to create community-based solutions.
Additionally, our residents support their houses by performing stewardships. Stewardship roles include accounting, maintenance, labor, mediation, and membership. New stewards are taught skills that allow them to perform their duties and then they gain experience while contributing to their community. One of our accounting stewards once gratefully said that living in the cooperative gave her an “intro to business degree.”
Cooperative members can also gain experience in organizational leadership and management by representing their houses as a member of BHC’s Board of Directors.
Finally, living in a cooperative constantly creates opportunities to learn conflict resolution, empathy, understanding, and consensus decision-making skills. Due to the cultivation of these skills, cooperative members are likely to be highly engaged in the community through volunteering, working groups, and even running for city council.