The strength in the Resilient Village model hinges on flexibility, adaptation and innovation. We aim to be transparent and make sure all voices are heard and engaged.
Land & Property
We are seeking property with the following characteristics:
- Within one-quarter mile of public transit, or about a five-minute walk at most, and ideally within walking distance to a grocery store and other essential services
- Oversized lot with an existing building (i.e. single-family home, church, classroom) that can be renovated to create multiple private units and enough surrounding land to build additional units of housing.
ecoTHRIVE Housing is seeking land in King County, particularly in the south county, where the need for affordable housing is greatest. We have identified the City of Burien as the site for our first Resilient Village under their Affordable Housing Demonstration Program. This program was approved by Burien City Council in November 2019 and sunsets in 2022.
Finance & Planning
We seek to implement a scalable financing strategy that includes a sustainable mix of public subsidies, charitable contributions, debt financing, and resident equity. By diversifying our funding sources while keeping expenses low through a combination of affordability strategies, we believe the Village Model is uniquely positioned to maximize the social return on investment when compared to other forms of low-income housing.
When debt financing can be kept at sustainable levels through one-time capital subsidies, housing co-ops enable low-income residents to cover the cost to operate their housing without dependence on ongoing subsidies.
Public funding available for new affordable housing construction remains inadequate. At the same time, providing affordable housing will not become less expensive in the future. ecoTHRIVE offers an option to provide affordable housing economically, while creating communities that reduce poverty, create stability , and foster human development and ecological sustainability.
OWNERSHIP & Housing Model
CLT-LEC partnership offers advantages for residents:
The financial limitations and risks of owning and maintaining a home are reduced in cooperative housing because participants share the costs and responsibilities.
Buy-in equity is modest. Members experience lower monthly costs compared to market-rate rental housing. Monthly charges only increase when costs rise.
Members have an exclusive right to live in a specific housing unit for as long as they wish, as long as they adhere to the co-ops rules and regulations.
As mutual owners, members participate at various levels in the decision-making process, and have a vote in how their housing is operated and managed.
Higher level of resident engagement in co-ops has proven to be more effective in preventing crime and vandalism in comparison to conventional rental housing.
Many co-op members say that the possibility for interacting with people from different backgrounds and cultures is a positive factor in their decision to become a member.
LECs realize affordability through shared resources, self management, and operating at cost.
- In a co-op, multiple households join together to collectively own multiple dwelling units on a single property by forming a cooperative corporation.
- Each household purchases a membership share in a co-op, granting them a right to a dwelling unit, a vote in the co-op’s governance, and an ownership stake.
- A limited equity co-op preserves long-term affordability by limiting the appreciation in value of the membership share with a simple formula.
- Members pay monthly carrying charges to the co-op to cover all operating costs, including utilities, insurance, maintenance, reserve funds, and any debt service.
One of the weaknesses of LEC is that in “hot” housing markets, members may be enticed to amend their bylaws and convert to a market-rate co-op in order to cash out their shares at whatever prices the market will bear. The Resilient Village Model protects against this by building on land that is held in a Community Land Trust (CLT).
By combining the Community Land Trust model with the Limited Equity Co-op model, affordability is protected in perpetuity.
ecoTHRIVE uses Sociocracy, also called Dynamic Governance, as our governance structure and decision-making process. Sociocracy uses consent, rather than majority voting or formal consensus, in discussion and decision-making by people who have a shared objective. We embed training opportunities into the context of our organizational meetings and we will continue to embed this process into our community-centered design and development work going forward, including embedding it into the management and oversight of the Limited Equity Cooperatives we help establish and steward.
A Resilient Village is designed to withstand the impacts of climate change, food shortages and economic downturns.
We are forwarding the Resilient Village concept. Each village includes private living quarters with living/sleeping areas, a kitchenette and bath. Common facilities include a community kitchen, dining and living areas, shared laundry facilities, gardens and workshop, with potential for renewable energy production. Building small and green offers people with low incomes the full benefits of energy efficient, high quality construction. The villages will be designed to support creative work and economic activity for people who want to live in a creative community, grounded on principles of reciprocity. With resilience as a touchstone, these communities are designed to withstand the impacts of economic downturns, climate disruption, and food insecurity.
ecoTHRIVE will recruit resident-owners who want to invest time, energy and money to live in a creative, mutually-supportive community. We prioritize engaging people who are often left out of the housing development process – people of color, people with disabilities, and people without stable housing. We are designing the community to be affordable for people who earn below 50% of the AMI, on average. The resident selection process will be refined in collaboration with community members and local organizations near the identified site.
Still have questions?
We’d love to answer them. Please fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch as soon as we can.
The ecoTHRIVE team