KINGSTON CO-OPERATIVE HOMES

Co-op Management and Structure

Our Co-op is managed and run by its member residents who occupy all of the housing units. All members over 16 years of age have a responsibility to the Co-op and a right to vote at general membership meetings.

Members participate in the Co-op in two ways. First is to be aware and educated in the business of the Co-op and to vote at the general meetings. Second is to help in the running and maintenance of the Co-op. To this end, each member is asked to put in about four hours a month working for the Co-op and to attend general clean-ups and work parties.

The day to day and long term management is the responsibility of the Board of Directors. The Board is composed of seven members elected by the general membership. Board meetings are open to all interested members of the co-op.

Our co-op has a full-time Property Co-ordinator and a part-time administrative assistant to assist the Board with the management of the co-op.

The Property Co-ordinator manages the intake of new members, the on-site financial management, oversees ongoing maintenance, supervises casual labour and contract workers, and co-ordinates the support work necessary for active committees and the Board. The Co-ordinator also handles or refers complaints of the members to the Board.

Bookkeeping is done monthly by our Administrative Assistant. The auditors review our financial management of the co-op and prepare an annual audited financial statement.

Committees enable members to be involved in a specific area of Co-op management and provide advice for the Board of directors as well as a pool of volunteers for necessary activities.

Thus the aim of the Co-op management is to run a housing business efficiently and responsibly, using outside advisors as necessary, and still have as many members actively involved and knowledgeable about the operation. Staff administer the majority of office tasks and advise the Board and members with respect to the continuing management of the co-op.

General Management

General policy for the co-operative is established at general membership meetings. The Annual General Meeting is held in the latter part of each year, and there are a number of other general meetings during the year. The Board of Directors is responsible to the membership for implementing general policy and for managing the day-to-day affairs of the co-operative. The Board meets once a month, or as often as required. The President of the co-op must be a member of the Board of Directors. The Board itself is elected by the members and the Board then elects the officers of the co-op, usually from amongst the Directors. Committees necessary to manage the co-op, along with the chairman and committee members, are appointed by the Board. The Board also hires and supervises any staff required by the co-operative. Training for present and prospective Directors is provided on a regular basis by the co-op.

Committees

Standing co-op committees are as follows:

  1. Membership/Education Committee
  2. Finance Committee
  3. Capital Planning Committee
  4. Maintenance Committee

Signing Authority

Authority to execute documents and instruments for the co-operative are assigned to the President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer of the Co-op. At least two of the four signing officers sign all cheques. A resolution of the Board of Directors is required to execute major contracts and documents.

Financial Policy

To ensure proper financial management of the Co-op, and to enable it operate on a non-profit basis, the Board of Directors appoints a Finance Committee to assist it and the Treasurer in fulfilling their duties. The Finance Committee is a standing committee of the Board.

Finance Committee

The committee assists the Board and Treasurer in the following areas:

Accounting and Financial System

The Co-op's has a computerized accounting system for the Co-op, using the Finance Committee Working Papers developed for the Co-op. The Board ensures that proper financial records are maintained in conjunction with the co-op's Co-ordinator.

Maintenance Policy

A maintenance committee assists the Board of Directors in organizing and implementing a preventative maintenance program for the co-op. This is a standing committee comprised of resident members.

Maintenance Committee

The maintenance committee is responsible for:

Routine, Planned & Emergency Maintenance

General and emergency maintenance is co-ordinated by the Maintenance Committee. Maintenance work is accomplished by a combination of volunteer and contracted work. Members are expected to maintain their own units. Those members with disabilities are assisted by the maintenance committee in maintaining their units. The Co-op supplies the necessary tools and equipment for members to carry out their tasks.

Maintenance procedures for the co-op are outlined in the Maintenance Committee working papers developed by the co-op.

Membership and Education Policy

General

Membership in the co-op is open to any person, 16 years of age and over, who subscribes to the aims and objectives of the co-operative. The annual membership fee is $10.00.

Residency

Houses are allocated to applicants on the Co-op's waiting list, according to their need and suitability for co-op residency. Applicants are also referred to the co-op by our Kingston Housing Registry.

Maintenance Deposit

The co-operative requires its members to make a maintenance deposit to the co-op. However, such deposits are not imposed in such a fashion that would result in financial hardship to lower income members.

Selection Criteria

Selection criteria for membership and residency in the co-op are administered by the membership committee. These criteria include:

  1. Commitment to the co-op's aims and objectives
  2. Willingness to participate in co-op activities and decision-making processes
  3. Willingness to take responsibility for the maintenance and operation of the co-op
  4. Ability to pay the housing charges (with supplement assistance if necessary), in conjunction with demonstrated financial responsibility

Housing Charge Supplements

From funds available, the co-op provides assistance to members requiring income-tested supplements. The co-operative will provide such supplements to those member identified in the income mix plan developed for the co-op.

Membership Committee

The membership committee, appointed from the members of the co-op, is responsible for:

General Operating Documents

The following management operating documents are used by the co-operative:

  1. Membership/Residency application form
  2. Policies and rules
  3. Constitutional by-law
  4. Occupancy by-law/Occupancy Agreement

Member's Handbook

Our Member's Handbook includes the following items:

Membership and Education Training

The co-op maintains a regular program of education and training for new and existing members.

Community Involvement

The co-op is planning to develop housing on land that it currently owns and operates. Kingston co-op was first occupied in 1985. It has successfully worked with its surrounding neighbourhood over the succeeding years. Members of the co-op have played an active role in local schools and city administration. A good working relationship between the co-op and its local city councillors has helped the co-op to successfully enter in such municipal programs as blue box recycling, an annual summer children's recreation program and the use of the co-op's office as a polling station during municipal elections.

How can I apply for co-op housing in Kingston?

Revised June 23, 1997

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