COVID Housing Recovery in NYC: Non-Profits & Co-ops To The Rescue?

A sea of cheerful faces on those seating around a big table in an activity space listen to a teacher out of picture
Cloyne Court Coop/Hackerspace, Aug-2014 photo by Mitch Altman is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
Cloyne Court Co-op, California. By their very nature, co-op projects are less about warehousing people and more about community.

Post-pandemic turmoil in the housing market of America’s largest city? Laissez-faire. Leave it be. Let the private sector, master of all housing matters, perform any needed recovery.

. . . or, maybe . . .  look at another approach by some entity or entities that are not themselves directly responsible for New York City’s housing mess.

One New York City councillor is proposing a dramatic reinvestment in “social housing.” It might provide one necessary bulwark against investor-wolves who savaged the landscape after the infamous 2008 housing meltdown, helping to reduce home ownership to pre-1965 levels. Under economic circumstances such as these, Councillor Brad Lander believes it is vital to keep low income residents safely housed.

Lander’s use of the term “social housing” is a deliberate extension beyond American understanding of “public housing” — that is, government built and managed housing, whether directly so or via arms-length entities such as housing associations.

Social housing, in Lander’s view, would include housing that is democratically-owned and permanently affordable. Co-op housing projects are some of the best known of these kinds of housing projects.

Read more about Lander’s plan in Bloomberg CityLab: Staking New York City’s Future on Social Housing

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