MAHC’s Story By: Carolyn Jackson
In early 1964, the Foundation for Cooperative Housing (FCH) became heavily involved in the functionalities of the Michigan Association of Housing Cooperatives. Subsequently, securing and maintaining membership was made easier by FHC’s decision to build Association dues directly into the initial budget of new cooperatives.
The first few years were dominated by FCH’s involvement. However, in 1971, the landscape was changed through the efforts of various co-op boards. A spirited campaign resulted in the majority of the board becoming housing cooperators. The Michigan Association also began publishing a bi-monthly newsletter in 1971.
In 1973, the Association broadened its scope, changed its name to the Midwest Association of Housing Cooperatives and welcomed Eden Green Cooperative from Chicago, Illinois, as a new member. Its Board of Directors was made up of 15 housing cooperators (or 12 housing cooperators with 3 professional positions).
In April 1974, MAHC leaders went to Washington, D.C. to take part in the National Conference on Cooperative Housing – which was developed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the National Association of Housing Cooperatives (NAHC) and the Organization for Applied Science in Society (OASIS). The meeting encouraged all programs in cooperative housing to present a slate of current problems for possible problem solving and solutions.
The Ford Foundation (which had provided a grant to reimburse conference participants for their expenses) asked MAHC and OASIS to develop a proposal based on the conference resolutions. This led to three years of Ford Foundation funding for the development of MAHC as an education and resource center for housing cooperatives. With the assistance of the Ford Foundation, HUD supplemented the first-year funding on a contract basis. To accomplish the work called for in the contract, MAHC established task forces: handbook, discount purchasing, training and management evaluation. The groups met regularly and completed the contracted projects on schedule.
That first year of work resulted in the development of:
- A first draft of the handbook
- A report on items and services which could be used in a centralized purchasing system
- A course in financial management for cooperatives
- A course in evaluating the management of a cooperative
- A course on understanding management contracts
Also in 1974, the MAHC Board President, Herman Curtis, was invited to address the membership of the Mo-Kan Association of Housing Cooperatives which is now known as the Great Plains Association.
In 1975, MAHC held mini-seminars in Ohio and Indiana for the purpose of assisting those housing cooperatives with their problems.