History Of MAHC

From Michigan to Midwest

MAHC History

Housing cooperatives were becoming popular choices in the early 1960s, primarily as a result of FHA mortgage insurance programs. Michigan was rapidly expanding its housing base with the development of cooperatives under Section 213 of the National Housing Act.

The Foundation for Cooperative Housing (FCH) was the recognized leader in the development of housing cooperatives in Michigan and by 1963 had a number of housing cooperatives in Michigan in various stages of development. A meeting was held at the Book Cadillac Hotel in Detroit to discuss forming an association of housing cooperatives. Members from 13 or 14 housing cooperatives attended the meeting. While many of the cooperatives had not yet reached final endorsement there were numerous concerns and unanswered questions regarding the future of the properties and their governance.

It was decided that they would not establish a formal organization at that time, however they would begin publishing a newsletter. The newsletter contained articles regarding the operations of housing cooperatives, including many tips on the do’s and don’ts for Board Members.

First Meetings

It was decided that they would not establish a formal organization at that time, however they would begin publishing a newsletter. The newsletter contained articles regarding the operations of housing cooperatives, including many tips on the do’s and don’ts for Board Members.

First Conference

The Michigan Association of Housing Cooperatives was organized

Later that same year a second meeting was held at Cobo Hall in downtown Detroit and cooperative members expressed overwhelming support for a formal organization to represent the interests of housing cooperatives in Michigan. The Michigan Association of Housing Cooperatives was organized, modeling its dues and membership structure after those of the National Association of Housing Cooperatives.  

First Board of Directors

The first board of directors was elected and represented a mix of cooperative members and FCH staff:

March Miller II, President
James J. Tahash, Asst. to the President
David Page, Asst. to the President 
Dr. D. Samuel Harris, Vice President
Maurice Shepherd, Secretary 
Hon. Percival Piper, Treasurer
Wendell Addington, Exec. Secretary

The organizations first conference held at COBO Hall located in Detroit, Michigan had the following initial representative membership:

Blackstone Cooperative, Chateaufort Place Cooperative, Colonial Townhouses Cooperative, Cooperative Services, Lafayette Park Cooperative, Pontiac Townhouses Cooperative, Royal Oak Townhouses Cooperative, Royalwood Cooperative, Williamsburg Townhouses Cooperative, Woodward Heights Cooperative and University Townhouses. Several of these original participants are still members today.

The early years of MAHC

Wendell Addington was head of FCH’s Michigan operations, the Honorable Percival Piper was the Secretary of State for the state of Michigan, and lived at Lafayette Park Cooperative in Detroit. Dr. D. Samuel Harris and his son Paul were active in creating the first by-laws for the organization. Dr. Harris lived at Lafayette Park Cooperative in Detroit, and Paul lived in University Townhouses in Ann Arbor.

(1963 – 1972) C. March Miller was the first president of Michigan Association of Housing cooperatives. Followed by James Tashahs, Paul Harris, Dennis, Al Reynolds, Estelle DePolo, Ray LaRocque.

Both C. March Miller II and James J. Tahash later became employed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development where they continued to make great contri­butions to the housing cooperative community.

FCH’s active involvement during the early years was helpful to the growth of the association. FCH would build association dues into the operating budgets of the cooperatives, assuring the Michigan Association of Housing Cooperatives an ongoing income and membership base.

The expansion of HUD’s 221 (d)(3) (BMIR) and 236 mortgage insurance programs allowed for the expansion of cooperative housing in the mid and late 1960’s. FCH continued to dominate the Michigan cooperative development market and began developing more low and moderate-income cooperatives.

MAHC Comes to aid of Cooperatives.

In the early start of MAHC they worked on, a strong quarterly newsletter, paid dues accurately and promptly, quarterly training, Education and Growth and cooperatives working together as people.  Monthly meetings of the Board of Directors and quarterly training sessions for housing cooperators, managers, and others whose concerns were housing cooperative services.

The first few years were dominated by FCH involvement; By 1971 a number of Cooperators were expressing concern with the dominant influence FCH yielded over the organization and mounted a campaign to change the organizational structure.

Several cooperatives from Illinois and Indiana had begun attending the conferences and meetings in the late 1960’s, and in 1973 Eden Green Cooperative in Chicago Illinois joined.  The Organization grew and broadened its scope.

MAHC Changes its name

MAHC need to reach out farther than Michigan to some of the surrounding states.  At the next election the By-Laws were drafted to ensure that the housing cooperators were elected to a majority of the board seats.  With the new By-Laws cooperators would continue to hold the majority of the board seats. The Board of Directors of the Midwest Association of Housing cooperators was made up of 15 housing cooperators or 12 housing cooperatives with 3 professional or individual positions. Allowing for a maximum of 3 seats to be held by persons classified as “Professionals”.

Midwest Association of Housing Cooperatives

Dr. Herman Curtis, from Stonegate Manor in Flint Michigan was the first President of the new organization. Dr. Herman Curtis served 15 years as president.  As president he oversaw the transition and expansion of Michigan Association of Housing Cooperative to Midwest Association of housing Cooperatives. Mr. Curtis devoted his life to improving the quality of life at his cooperative and the cooperatives through the Midwest.  

MAHC as a leader in education and resource center

In 1974, the MAHC Board President, Mr. 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 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), and 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 solution.

A number of issues of concern were identified including the lack of proper training and education for the cooperative boards. The Ford Foundation had provided a grant for conference participant’s expenses, and asked MAHC and OASIS to develop a proposal to address some of the problems and concerns raised at the conference.

This led to three years of Ford Foundation funding for the development of MAHC as an education and resource center for housing Cooperatives. HUD supplemented the first-year funding on a contract basis.

MAHC established task forces to work on the various areas of the contract, including: Handbook, Discount Purchasing, Training, and Management Evaluation. After the first year MAHC had accomplished the following:

Produced the first draft of the handbook. 
Prepared a report on the items and services available for a discount purchasing program. 
Developed a Financial Management course for cooperatives. 
Developed a course on Evaluating Management of a cooperative. 
Developed a course on Understanding Management Contracts.

Throughout the years MAHC has continued to develop and present courses to aid cooperative board members in governing the affairs of their cooperatives.

The Association had held conference every year of its existence, it began with one day affairs held close to home in Detroit and Ann Arbor Michigan.  In 1975 MAHC started moving around the conference after out of state folks joined. 

MAHC later started mini-seminars in Ohio and Indiana for purposes of assisting those housing cooperatives with their problems. Later it was called Midyear conferences that moved around the Midwest states. 

MAHC Building Bridges for the future

Bill Magee joined MAHC in 1982, and was elected to serve as President in 1990.   Bill Mage touched the hearts, minds and souls of so many people over the years he served. He had a great love and passion for the Housing Cooperative Movement.  So much so that he served this community for over 35 years in various capacities. 

Bill was a strong advocate for education and was instrumental in planning the classes for the MAHC conferences.  He strongly encouraged board members to “steep themselves in the learning process”, “Collect all the knowledge you can while in attendance and bring it back in the Cooperative spirit, to your fellow members”.

His passion for the Cooperative Community was never more evident than when it was expressed through his tireless pursuit of helping to organize housing cooperatives “We must continue to outreach to those still in the dark to shed light on the acres of uninformed Cooperatives”.   He worked side by side with distressed Cooperatives to educate and lead them to go on and become successful efficient communities.

MAHC has published a quarterly Newsletter since 1971. The quarterly newsletter provides timely informative articles from the “how to” of problem solving to analysis of new legislation. Also includes information regarding upcoming events and answers to member’s questions.

(1972 – Present) Dr. Herman E. Curtis was the first president of Midwest Association of Housing cooperatives. Followed by Almeda L. Ritter, William Magee, Dave Rudicel, Richard Berendson

MAHC Today

MAHC is a leader in the development and presentation of quality education programs for those involved in the cooperative community. Boards of Directors, staff, managers, accountants, maintenance personnel and government personnel are among those who benefit from our cooperative training.

Leader in Cooperative Housing Education

The MAHC Annual Conference is the nation’s best gathering of cooperative housing leaders. Our con­ferences are designed for those whose mission is to strengthen cooperative housing and the people they serve. During three days in late May, cooperative hous­ing professionals from across the country will convene to take advantage of educational and networking opportunities and share experiences, challenges, solu­tions, and successes.

Participants engage in peer-to-peer educational sessions and learn from national experts on programs and policies to help cooperative housing members. Past conferences have resulted in new and increased collaboration, new approaches, and improved practices across the nation.

Cooperative Certified Specialist

The Certified Cooperative Specialist (CCS) certificate program strengthens cooperative housing community, helping to achieve ever-increasing higher professional standards.  The CCS curriculum focuses on acquiring a detailed knowledge of housing cooperative operation and renewing our commitment to the principles of cooperative housing.

The goal of MAHC Certification is to achieve “an excellence recognized by the Cooperative Industry.” We continue to update educational topics that are constantly changing in our industry.  The MAHC group of highly experienced instructors has worked hard to keep CCS training exciting, dynamic and pertinent.

Our Website is a Portal to Cooperative Housing Information

MAHC is working hard to integrate the new communications technologies into all operations. The MAHC website at www.MAHC.com is the central exchange platform for new cooperative housing information. Co-op and professional members now have direct online access to information about the Annual Conference, registration, scheduled CCS classes, educational resources, cooperatives, professional service vendors and much more.  The continuously updated MAHC website is a treasure trove of cooperative housing knowledge and information

Leadership Development

MAHC considers developing the leadership skills of our members a key to keeping MAHC strong and improving effectiveness of those members in their professional and personal lives.  MAHC membership was originally centered in the Midwest but is no longer regionally limited.

Cooperative Housing Training Manuals Available for Download

MAHC offers a wealth of cooperative housing information for free online. In our information sharing web page we have some free manuals available for our members. The manual includes New Board Training, Common Equity and a Cooperative Dictionary of important terms.

Cooperatives embody the Best of America

The Midwest Association of Housing Cooperatives today consists of over 100 cooperative communities in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Maryland and support from many professional and individual members.  MAHC now represents 29,250 member units nationwide. This means that we represent 89,742 people living in cooperatives. The size and scope of the annual conference has grown every year.

The MAHC board is simply the coordinating group of MAHC on behalf of our members. At the conferences it is fellow members sharing their knowledge as instructors to other cooperative members. Throughout our nation’s history, people have come together through MAHC to pursue common goals. As a natural part of that process, people engage with each other, learn more about their community’s strengths and challenges, and develop their skills in community problem-solving.

We as a group are MAHC, We embody the best of America. we provide a way for people to work together for the common good, transforming shared beliefs and hopes into action. we give shape to our boldest dreams, highest ideals, and noblest causes. we improve the lives of individuals, add vitality to American communities, contribute to local and national economies, and enhance the overall health of our democracy.