New Information

February 2021

In this article we will go over what is required and best practices for Annual Elections. I will share our
experience with the Cumberland Green Cooperatives Annual Meeting. It is a generally accepted cornerstone of sound corporate governance that shareholder participation is a key component of a successful annual meeting. State laws require companies to hold annual meetings of their shareholders to elect directors and act upon other matters properly brought before the meeting.

Now we can all turn our attention to the MAHC Annual Conference 2021 in New Orleans. New Orleans in 2021 will be a wonderful consolation for the 2020 washout. The Conference will be the Cooperative
Housing Educational Event of the Year 2021. MAHC cooperators can always be counted on to bounce back, especially if that means bouncing over to New Orleans.

Water can be both a blessing and a curse. We are completely dependent upon it, whether for drinking,
cooking, cleaning, production purposes in business, or simply in the operation of buildings. Losing access to water can create great challenges for both businesses and private individuals. Cleaning
up water damage can take time, and in worst cases can involve mold, fungus and rot in structures
as a result of water damage if clean-up is not carried out quickly enough, or in the right way.

The other day my near-adult daughter complained to me that she wanted to receive a $2,000 COVID payment and not the $600 recently announced. When I asked if she needed the money, she said “No.”

Then I asked what if she had to pay it back with interest. Well, I got that special, quizzical look.
You know, the one they give you when YOU are supposed to realize you said something dumb or inappropriate.

How long have you been living in Cooperative Housing?
I have been a resident of the Area E cooperatives for eight years, and a resident of Park Forest for 12 years. My selection of Area E was interesting. I actually road around each of the five cooperatives observing the people, and the upkeep of the public areas. I even parked and walked through parts of each cooperative to see how people kept their porches and the cleanliness of the court/parking areas. I believe that I made an excellent choice in Park Forest and especially in Area E.

The MAHC Messenger is pleased to honor Randall
(Randy) Pentiuk as a MAHC Mentor You Should Know.
A MAHC Mentor is someone who has gone beyond
the normal call of duty and narrow interest to advance
and support the broader cause of the cooperative
housing movement. Randy believes in and teaches the
application of essential cooperative principles. Randy
is the MAHC executive vice president for Michigan and
the vice president of NAHC, the National Association of
Housing Cooperatives.

Troy Manor Cooperative is a great place to call home on the southwest side of Indianapolis,
Indiana. This cooperative has been a member of the prestigious Kirkpatrick Management
collection of residential communities for 26 years. Troy Manor takes pride in providing a living experience for the discerning resident with a busy, active lifestyle. Residents enjoy such amenities as ample green spaces, mature landscaping, two playgrounds, a basketball court, a liberal pet policy, on-site maintenance, and an on-site courtesy officer. The floorplans range from 1 bedroom flats to 3 bedroom townhomes. Troy Manor is currently averaging a 97% occupancy rate.

The relationship between the member and the cooperative is largely determined by reading together the governing documents which are comprised of the articles of incorporation, subscription
or membership purchase agreement, the occupancy agreement and the cooperative’s rules and regulations. These documents constitute a contract governing the legal relationship between the cooperative housing corporation and the cooperative unit owners.

Dear Co-op Counselor:
We kept our pool closed last year because of COVID-19. Members are already voicing their concerns
about re-opening the pool this year. Is there anything we can do now to plan for re-opening safely so Members can have some normalcy at home this year?

Sincerely, Frustrated Board

HSR Property Services, LLC has a long history in the field of multi-family housing; Property Management and Development. HSR is currently managing approximately 5,000 multi-family units in the Chicago Metropolitan area and surrounding Counties. The current portfolio consists of HUD 202 (Elderly), LIHTC (Tax Credit), Limited Equity Housing Cooperatives, Condominium and Homeowner Associations.

We have an issue with our bank accounts. Our coop is doing very well financially which requires us to diversify our CD funds over several banks. We have run out of banks and we now have several accounts that are either over or are nearly reaching the $250,000 FDIC limit. Is there a problem if we just leave those funds in the accounts because we really have no place else to put them?

November 2020

MAHC President Rich Berendson has pulled together a detailed report on the issues associated with
holding an annual meeting electronically. President Berendson presents a plan based on the recent MAHC experience of holding its annual meeting remotely on the ZOOM platform.

MAHC continues to fulfill its primary mission to provide quality education to the cooperative housing movement.  MAHC has already presented several webinars this summer and fall via the ZOOM online platform at no charge to members and non-members. The MAHC program continues with webinars scheduled in November and December, with additional webinars in the planning stage. The currently scheduled webinars  are listed below:

Many Cooperatives are now unable to hold board or membership meetings according to normal procedures because of “shelter in place” orders or social distancing recommendations issued by state and local authorities.

This advisory provides guidance to cooperatives about how they may manage their affairs under
current conditions, while also complying with existing corporate laws in the states where they are incorporated and where they operate.

Now we can all turn our attention to the MAHC Annual Conference 2021 in New Orleans. New Orleans in 2021 will be a wonderful consolation for the 2020 washout. The Conference will be the Cooperative
Housing Educational Event of the Year 2021. MAHC cooperators can always be counted on to bounce back, especially if that means bouncing over to New Orleans.

A few weeks ago, the CDC (Center for Disease Control) issued an order which prohibits evictions
for non-payments as long as the resident signs an affidavit attesting to several items, which in
brief summary swears that they are making less than $99,000 per year (individually) and that they
are unable to pay their monthly carrying charges or rent despite their best efforts, AND that this
inability to pay could cause them to be homeless.

I joined National Cooperative Bank 21 years ago to work at an organization that makes an impact.
Coming out of college I was intrigued with NCB’s mission and the support it provided to housing communities and commercial businesses that promoted community.

I was fortunate to spend the first part of my banking career working with housing cooperatives nationwide in providing banking solutions to meet their needs. I spent many years serving the housing
cooperatives in the Midwest and made wonderful connections with property managers and board
members that I still have today.

Since the onset of the COVID pandemic in March, we all have had to deal with special circumstances
affecting cooperative management. As property managers, we have had to develop new capabilities and rules of engagement to continue to serve our clients, customers, members, and our properties. The question is how to adapt to unprecedented circumstances and still “get the work done!”.

Harvard Square Cooperative, located on the southside of Indianapolis, was built in 1970 and
partnered with Kirkpatrick Management Company in 1973. Through the years, this team has
built a reputation for excellent community maintenance, creating a haven on Indy’s south side.
Harvard Square consistently maintains an average occupancy rate of 99%. A large part of resident
satisfaction is directly related to the 24-hour or less response time on maintenance work orders.

Late in 1963, a meeting was held at Cobo Hall (now the TCF Center) in downtown Detroit. The members of cooperatives who had met earlier expressed an overwhelming support to establish a formal organization to represent the interests of housing cooperatives in Michigan. Accordingly, the Michigan Association of Housing Cooperatives (MAHC) was organized, modeling its dues and membership structure after those of the National Association of Housing Cooperatives.

Dear Counselor: If a cooperative gets sued can individual board members be liable?
Signed: Liable to be Liable

Dear Counselor: As a board member, I am not sure how I should respond to a member who recently complained about a neighbor creating a disturbance due to excessive noise and loud music that is being played regularly.

How do I respond to this? What should my involvement be?
Signed: Keeping up with the Joneses

August 2020

In the late fall early spring we are going have our MAHC Board Members reach out to the states
and work with the cooperatives to teach a selection of local classes. This of course assumes that
conditions will be safe. These will be small classes taught by MAHC Board Members or state vice
presidents living in the area.

Almost a year has passed since I stepped into this new role, and I have to say it has been an interesting ride.

The cancellation of the Denver 2020 conference was a big letdown. I was looking forward to the opportunity to personally meet the co-op associate members and all the professionals and instructors. Now we must focus our attention on the upcoming conference in New Orleans 2021.

Saturday, August 15 utilizing the ZOOM online meeting platform. Vice President Blaine Honeycutt
conducted the meeting.

A quorum was present. There were five candidates nominated for the MAHC Board. A motion was made and seconded to elect the five nominees by acclamation. The motion was then carried. The five elected board members are:

MAHC is proud to welcomes our newest director, Barbara Jones Jackson. Barbara has excellent professional credentials, including a doctorate in education from Loyola University Chicago.

She is a professional educator, having taught at every level of the public school system. Her teaching experience includes serving as an adjunct professor in both graduate and undergraduate programs.

Now we can all turn our attention to the MAHC Annual Conference 2021 in New Orleans. New Orleans in 2021 will be a wonderful consolation for the 2020 washout. The Conference will be the Cooperative
Housing Educational Event of the Year 2021. MAHC cooperators can always be counted on to bounce back, especially if that means bouncing to over to New Orleans.

MAHC members can look forward to three days of education and recreation in the “Big Easy from Monday, June 28-Wednesday, June 30. The Conference will feature over 50 sessions on relevant topics taught by experienced industry professionals, including 2-day Certified Cooperative Specialist (CCS) training taught on Saturday & Sunday, June 26-27. Conference registration will start on December 4, 2020 and end on June 4, 2021. Early bird registration will end on May 7, 2021.

Dear Co-op Counselor: Policy on Face Masks and Social Distancing in Common Areas. We have a number of members and household occupants who run through common areas without face masks and crowd the laundry room and elevators. There is concern from some members that social distancing and masking requirements are being ignored while inside the building. Is there anything we as a Board should be doing from a policy standpoint? Should we be enforcing mask policies and social distancing inside the buildings?

Worried Board

Time and again we teach our students during conference about the pitfalls and literal legal terrors of fair housing (seriously, those judgments are not for the faint of heart or the poor in cash). For those who spent time with us during our fair housing classes, you know that there are a lot of
issues that spring up all the time.

Not only are you fighting the external pressures of surprise testers out in the field, but it seems you are also in a constant run when it comes to internal protocols. For a lot of cooperatives, the Board leads the charge when it comes to interviewing new member applicants. This is fine, but, if untrained in fair housing, it is extremely unwise. Some examples we can use to demonstrate traps for the FHA
weary are as follows:

Supporting and championing the cause of quality housing through education is a fundamental component of the MAHC Mission Statement. We carry out the mission in a via several venues, including our annual conferences, extension classes, the newsletter, and both free and paid publications. A vast amount of cooperative educational content is directly accessible on the MAHC website at We have prepared a chart to help guide you directly to specific areas of interest. WARNING! The Resources tab leads to such a vast network of informational links and websites that you may be gone for weeks and weeks . . . notify your family!

Why is cooperative housing Board of Directors training important? Co-op members are shareholders who annually elect their Board of Directors to oversee and protect their investment.

This is a major entrustment of membership resources and faith. The training of Board members is an investment in a multi-million dollar corporation, and members have a fiduciary duty to protect that investment.

The housing base in Michigan was rapidly expand-ing with the development of cooperatives under Section 213 of the National Housing Act. Housing cooperatives were becoming a popular choice for residence in the early 1960s, primarily due to FHA mortgage insurance programs.  The National Housing Act provided for 40-year FHA government insurance on cooperative blanket mortgages.

Three Fountains Cooperative East has been described as an oasis on the Eastside of  Indianapolis, Indiana. This area of the city has seen its share of challenges over the decades.  Benefiting from a solid 47 year partnership with Kirkpatrick Management Company.  Three Fountains has risen above to become a safe and amenity rich place to call home.  

The 27-story apartment building has just come through a three-year, $20 million renovation, most of it financed by NCB. The top-to-bottom overhaul gave each of its 260 units a new kitchen and bathroom with up-to-date plumbing. The interior common areas, including hallways, lobby, and community room, were also completely redone.

“It was a complete gut-job of the building,” says Mike Levine, president of Leasing and Manage-ment Company, which serves as the managing agent for Gill Park. “We stripped every apartment to the bare walls.”

How long have you been living in Cooperative Housing?
After serving in the Navy for four years, I moved my family to Lawrence, Kansas. I wanted to find affordable housing while attending the University of Kansas. It was 1970, finding Pine Tree Townhouses with its brand-new construction and great price was perfect for our young family.

The Arrowwood Hills cooperative combines a beautiful location with the convenience and cultural attractions of Ann Arbor, Michigan. The co-op is nestled in a lovely setting surrounded by nature areas and golf courses.

The region is serviced by The Ride municipal transit system, linking to co-op to the University of Michigan and the cultural and entertainment venues of Ann Arbor.

by Philip Brewer, Board President
My wife and I considered moving to Winfield Village twice.
The first time was in 2001. My employer was moving to a new building just a mile and a half away, so Win-field Village would have been within walking distance. Unfortunately, at the time my salary as a software engineer put me outside the income range of people Winfield Village could accept. We ended up staying where we were, a pretty nice apartment complex.

June 2020

MAHC is presenting a series of online internet classes starting on June 6, 2020 at 2:00 PM. The online series commenced with a New Board Members class and will continue once a month through August. The classes are presented by MAHC president Rich Berendson via the ZOOM online service and will be FREE OF CHARGE.

The MAHC Annual Conference has traditionally been
the focal point of the educational program. Even
though the conference was canceled, the educational
mission of MAHC continues through the online and
local classes described in more detail in this newsletter.
I want to bring special attention to the effort by MAHC
to become a clearinghouse and exchange for information
about cooperative housing and cooperatives in

MAHC is offering a program to support your learning skills in zoom. We know it is confusing trying to do anything new for the first time. Sign up for one of our Practice Zoom Sessions and practice with a friend at MAHC so you’re ready to attend one of our training classes or the annual meeting. This way you’re ready if you’re asked to use zoom for chatting with a friend or family member in the future.

Cooperators seeking detailed information on the roles and responsibilities of boards, finances, governance,  history, legal issues, and strategic planning will discover a wealth of available material.

MAHC brochures, flyers and forms are available for
download. Here is where you go to learn all about
MAHC. Read up starting with Introduction to MAHC,
Benefits of MAHC Membership, the Certified Cooperative
Specialist Course (CCS) brochure, and the
MAHC Annual Report

Notice is hereby given that an annual meeting of the Membership of Midwest Association
of Housing Cooperatives will be held on August 15, 2020 at 2:00 PM EST by electronic
meeting of the members of MAHC

The MAHC Messenger is pleased to honor Randall
(Randy) Pentiuk as a MAHC Mentor You Should Know.
A MAHC Mentor is someone who has gone beyond
the normal call of duty and narrow interest to advance
and support the broader cause of the cooperative
housing movement. Randy believes in and teaches the
application of essential cooperative principles. Randy
is the MAHC executive vice president for Michigan and
the vice president of NAHC, the National Association of
Housing Cooperatives.

Legacy’s story begins with three women, Linda Manning, Mary Howell and Kathy Sinicropi, who
all started in the property management business in different areas, at different times in their lives,
but all came to work together as Leaders within the same company. One of the significant things
that all three women have in common is we all started at the entry level in the property management industry and learned the business from the ground up.

What is happening at this Cooperative? Every Cooperative, during these trying times, is working harder and smarter than ever before. Colonial Square is no exception. Its dedicated Board of Directors and dedicated Staff continue to embrace everything that comes at them and turns it around to serve its community and members every way they can. In addition, of managing this large Corporation just on the day to day requirements, they now are in the process of refinancing their mortgage loan.

Mayfield Green wasn’t always the thriving community it is today. Ms. Morton described a transition period some 16 years ago. It was a low point for the community, and they were dealing with a host of issues that were not being addressed by their current management company. This is the period when Mayfield Green partnered with Kirkpatrick Management Company, and it has been onward and upward ever since.

For years, State legislatures have implemented laws permitting non-profits, such as cooperatives, to hold
annual meetings of members via remote technology.  Many cooperatives, when presented with the
option to revise their Bylaws to include this option for their memberships, the decision was to pass on
the technology and revisit it another time. Unfortunately, with the advent of the “new norm” and social
distancing, it will not be possible for cooperatives to hold their annual membership meetings in the
traditional manner.

We have an issue with our bank accounts. Our coop is doing very well financially which requires us to diversify our CD funds over several banks. We have run out of banks and we now have several accounts that are either over or are nearly reaching the $250,000 FDIC limit. Is there a problem if we just leave those funds in the accounts because we really have no place else to put them?

May 2020

For 57 years Midwest Association of Housing Cooperatives (MAHC) has served housing cooperatives. MAHC is a 501 C3 nonprofit charitable organization dedicated to assisting members and directors of Housing Cooperatives.

Absolute Services is an experienced large loss restoration, mitigation company. From personal property to commercial structures, Absolute Services is backed by a staff of highly trained and experienced damage clean up professionals and a network of the area’s top property restoration teams.

Absolute Service understands the impact that disasters have on a structure and business. Our commercial service division works to secure the site, assess damage, make appropriate recommendations for remediation, and execute restoration work efficiently. We have additional rental options for colleague restorers in temporary heat and desiccant drying as well.

What makes NCB unique is that the bank was created to address the financial needs of an underserved market niche – people who join together cooperatively to meet personal, social or business needs, especially in low-income communities.

Marlene Dau serves as President of Tailor Made Property Services, Inc. AMO which was formed in
2002 and is a woman owned company established for the purpose of being able to offer property
management to a varied portfolio of owners, but also formed to be able to manage in particular,
Cooperative Housing.

Marlene helps support the Cooperative Movement by currently being on the MAHC board for 13 years
and counting and presently acts as the Educational Chairperson. She has helped to write and deliver the Certified Cooperative Specialist CCS class textbook and instructor’s manual, as well as numerous other classes written and presented for Cooperative members and staff.

Huntington Management adheres to a clear and concise mission statement overseeing 25 properties
with 3,500 units in Southeastern Michigan. Huntington keeps consistently on point carrying out the
company’s mission to preserve, maintain and enhance the value of properties under its care.

Marcus Management, located in Farmington Hills, a family owned and operated company specializing in the management of Townhouse Cooperatives, Condominiums and Homeowners Associations. Marcus Management is a proud MAHC member and dedicated advocate for the Cooperative Housing Community.

Professional Property Services assists property owners in defining needs of their properties and develops plans to accomplish and satisfy them. PPS has been successful in assisting clients in developing guidelines for their day-to-day operations, including refinancing debt service on over twenty million dollars of real estate.

Our annual meeting is fast approaching and with all this information going around about the coronavirus we are not certain we should be holding this meeting. We want to do our part to flatten the curve but our Bylaws require us to hold our annual meeting on a certain time and we can’t adjourn it without a vote of the membership.
There just isn’t time. What do we do?

Closed sessions are for the discussion of matters that should not be disclosed to non-directors because of privilege or confidentiality. Closed sessions are an invaluable tool for Boards to conduct business for the Cooperative but only if the tool is used properly.

Just on the heels of another housing conference, the issue which popped up on countless occasions was regarding policies for Board Members attending these annual conferences. Some Board Members think this is a right, not a privilege to attend these annual conferences, which are usually held in cool locations, hundreds of miles from home. 


We visit some great cities for our MAHC Annual Conference. Wouldn’t it be great if we could make a meaningful contribution to remind those cities of our visit? Rescue shelters across our nation have many needs. One of the most pressing is socks for the people who come into the shelters.

January 2020

2019 was a year accomplishment and new opportunities for MAHC members, professionals and staff. MAHC set new standards in cooperative education, training and certification. Cooperative boards, managers and professionals benefit-ted from the training programs held at the Annual Conference and onsite at select locations. Here are a few examples of MAHC at work:

The 2020 MAHC Annual Convention in Denver, May 17–20 is fast approaching. Co-op members and professionals should register and make hotel arrangements as soon as possible. Professional members should be aware of the available opportunities for exhibits, sponsorship and advertising. Look for more information on pages 4–6, and learn about the Big Blue Bear.

The expansion of the MAHC organization and the enhanced venue of upcoming conference are going to provide superior service to cooperative members and partners. For us, customer service is not a department, it is an attitude.  MAHC is the only organization to provide Cooperative Certification for board members. The Annual Conference early weekend session starts off on Saturday, May 16 with a 2-day Certified Cooperative Specialist (CCS) class.

Ralph Marcus serves as President and CEO of Marcus Management, a family owned and operated company specializing in the management of Townhouse Cooperatives, Condominiums and Homeowners Associations. Ralph is a proud MAHC member and dedicated advocate for the Cooperative Housing Community.

Ralph has been instrumental in affecting legislation and has written the regulations that made it possible of Cooperative to qualify as homeowners under the Michigan Homestead Act. This has saved Michigan Cooperatives literally millions of dollars since 1993.

The MAHC Annual Report 2019 will be published and sent out to MAHC co-op and professional
members in February. The Report will summarize the accomplishments of 2019 and outline the goals
to be achieved in 2020. 2019 was a year of significant progress for the MAHC organization and associated members.

MAHC is pleased to welcome Interstate Restoration to our family of professional service members. Interstate is a full-service emergency response restoration and reconstruction company with a long history of working with property owners and managers. With offices and equipment located throughout the country and one of the most experienced teams in the industry, Interstate can handle any emergency.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness; it was April 1, 1973 when Robert & Patricia Kirkpatrick founded Kirkpatrick Management
Company (KMC) on a hope and a prayer. It was the age of Gestetner duplicating machines, not high speed Canon copiers; the age of rotary telephones, not IPhones. One could dial & answer ringing
phones, but never dreamed of sending & receiving emails from all over the world, typing and reading text messages at any time of day, snapping pictures, and searching the Internet at the speed of light,
all from the palm of one’s hand.

Twenty-five years ago, I found myself needing to find a new place to live. After 13 years at my prior
address, I had no idea how expensive moving had gotten. Needing a place big enough for three children and myself, I wondered how I would ever find a place or afford one when I did find it.

I had a friend that suggested I look at the Cooperatives she lived in. She told me they were clean, a nice area and most important to me at the time, affordable. I had driven by a few times and honestly didn’t think much about them, but after looking for another month, decided I’d give it a try.

Georgetown Place Cooperative is a beautiful, fully occupied, cooperative conveniently located in Taylor,
MI. The Cooperative membership decided that it will always have affordable membership equities and
they had this memorialized with the By-Law change that took place in 2009. The equities to purchase a
membership are very reasonable, and their equally reasonable carrying charges include water, sewer and heating costs.

We visit some great cities for our MAHC Annual Conference. Wouldn’t it be great if we could make a meaningful contribution to remind those cities of our visit? Rescue shelters across our nation have many needs. One of the most pressing is socks for the people who come into the shelters.

The class was attended by cooperative board members, managers and assistant managers and maintenance supervisors. The composition of the class made for lively, in depth conversations on several topics. The class covered the history and formation of cooperatives, and moved on to hot topics such as finances, refinancing, fair housing, and deferred maintenance. These are the hard topics that we deal with every day in the business of managing cooperatives and their assets.

The board members requested the onsite training and MAHC was pleased to oblige. The University
Townhouses is a 609-unit cooperative located in the southeastern corner of Ann Arbor.

Hermitage Manor Cooperative of Chicago celebrated its 50th year anniversary on September 19, 2019. The Board of Directors, led by the President, Mrs. Gwendolyn Warren, hosted a grand affair which celebrated both the legacy and history of the Cooperative. The board honored the Members of the Cooperative based on years of membership.

Tailor Made Property Services, Inc. (TMPS) was formed in 2002. The players in this firm are an experienced team; with several of the associates having been in property management for over 40 years. For the members of our team, Cooperative Management is a unique, special operation that we call home. TMPS manages other types of property, from Commercial to residential. A large part of our portfolio consists of Cooperatives of all types, including limited equity, subsidized, and market. TMPS also manages townhomes, apartments, mid-rises, high-rises and historical buildings.

The Rogue Board Member and the Confidentiality Agreement Randall A. Pentiuk, Esq.
The fundamental organizational structure of Cooperative living is founded on the tenets of self-communal governance. As the membership depends on its elected Board Members to effectively oversee the conduct and affairs of the Cooperative as fiduciaries, and to act in the best interest of all, it is becoming more common to hear about a Board Member going “rogue.”

How far can a Cooperative Board go when it comes to regulating conduct on the cooperative premises? Turns out, quite far so long as the rules do not conflict with the governing documents and are not essentially an amendment of the Cooperative’s governing documents requiring the membership vote.

The Census Bureau is already counting the population in remote areas of Alaska and will soon start
counting in your neighborhood! Census Day April 1, 2020 is observed nationwide as the official start date for counting the population of the USA.

By April 1, 2020 every home in the country will have received an invitation to participate in the
2020 Census. When the invitation arrives, you can respond online, by phone or by mail. In May, census takers will begin visiting homes that haven’t responded to make sure that the count is complete.

October 2019

Like any successful cooperative housing community, MAHC’s solid foundation begins with you: our members and partners.  Your commitment, ideas and sense of community contribute to our success and make our work possible. Much of the change you have seen in recent years at MAHC is due to your input.

Honesty, Integrity, Commitment and Compassion. These are but a few words that come to mind when describing Robert S. Kirkpatrick, Jr. (Rob).  he is a friend and mentor to the employees.  His drive for excellence constantly pushes each one of us to try harder, dig deeper, and to reach higher for each Member of our Cooperative Family.

In the last MAHC Messenger (July 2019) we learned the difference between a Quorum and a Majority. Every year at your annual meeting you need a quorum to make the meeting official and conduct business. Here are some ways to achieve your quorum.

Randy Pentiuk, MAHC Vice President for Michigan, received the prestigious Jerry Voorhis Award at the National Association of Housing Cooperatives (NAHC) Annual Conference. The Jerry Voorhis Award is NAHC’s highest honor, recognizing significant leadership in both the theory and practice of cooperative housing. NAHC created the lifetime achievement award in memory of it’s founding father, Jerry Voorhis; a man of impeccable integrity who taught and applied the use of basic cooperative principles.

Quorum and majority are two terms in the cooperative world that seem to get confused far too often. So why does this keep happening? In some cases the bylaws may not be as clearly drafted as is necessary, but in most cases it is because there is a fundamental misunderstanding of the difference between quorum and the number of votes necessary to actually pass an action.


Marcus Management, located in Farmington Hills, a family owned and operated company specializing in the management of Townhouse Cooperatives, Condominiums and Homeowners Associations. Marcus Management is a proud MAHC member and dedicated advocate for the Cooperative Housing Community.

On the evening of Saturday July 27, 2019, Noble Square Cooperative celebrated its milestone 50th anniversary. Noble Square Cooperative, located in Chicago, Illinois, has now been thriving for half a century! The highlight of the evening was the presentation of “Golden Member” awards, distributed to the 30 members of the Cooperative who have been at Noble Square from day one.


On Saturday, September 21st, 2019 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., The Concord Consumer Housing Cooperative Board of Directors hosted the 10th annual “Concord Family Safety Day” for our community. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?! THE TENTH ANNIVERSARY!!!


Ben Sanders has started work as the new Marketing Coordinator for MAHC. He brings a lifetime of experience in marketing, publications and education. Ben spent the last 15 years as communications director and copywriter for a national franchise. His responsibilities with MAHC will include redesigning publications, the newsletter, social media, the website, and outreach to new and prospective MAHC members.


Just on the heels of another housing conference, the issue which popped up on countless occasions was regarding policies for Board Members attending these annual conferences. Some Board Members think this is a right, not a privilege to attend these annual conferences, which are usually held in cool locations, hundreds of miles from home. 


Come join us in Denver this spring for the Cooperative Housing educational event of the year. MAHC is recognized as the Nation’s leader in training, education and support services for Housing Cooperatives. The MAHC Annual Conference features many ongoing educational opportunities, including classes and workshops. Attendees will be able to meet and share ideas and practices with coop members, as well as service professionals and vendors.


July 2019

 “It was awesome,” said a Co-oper who was attending for the first time.  “The speakers not only knew what they were talking about, but they were very open to questions and engaged with the audience, which is different from many other conferences I have attended. I was blown away by the amount of knowledge and experience many of the speakers have in Cooperatives.  I learned a lot.”


Nathan Henderson was elected to the MAHC Board of Directors.  In addition to his new position, Nathan also serves as Secretary for Colonial Village Cooperative in Riverview, Michigan.  Nathan said he had no plans to run for the MAHC Board, but then he met with Rich Berendson and Blaine Honeycutt at last year’s MAHC conference in Las Vegas.  They said MAHC would love to have him on the board.  He thought, why not?  Nathan sees his election to MAHC’s board as a win for his cooperative.  “The more that I can learn, the more that will help me here [at Colonial Village].” 


This year Karen Harvey had a lot to celebrate at MAHC’s conference in Seattle.  First, she received the Dr. Herman E. Curtis Co-Oper of the Year Award in recognition of all the work she has done for cooperatives for more than 25 years. Second, she was elected to the MAHC Board of Directors, a position which allows her to work on cooperative issues close to her heart.


In 2019 we gave out awards to some of the many deserving people who work above and beyond the call of duty to lead Cooperatives now and in the Future. We wanted to share them with you.


Quorum and majority are two terms in the cooperative world that seem to get confused far too often. So why does this keep happening? In some cases the bylaws may not be as clearly drafted as is necessary, but in most cases it is because there is a fundamental misunderstanding of the difference between quorum and the number of votes necessary to actually pass an action.


On a lovely spring day, as you drive down a woodland road, you come across a gem.  Branford Townhouses, located in Taylor, Michigan, is surrounded by all this lush greenery.  You hardly know that you’re in the city as you look around the property.


January 2019

Excitement is in the Air!  Despite all of the snow and cold, this is a very exciting time of the year for those of us at the MAHC office. Why? You might ask.  The answer is simple, we are in high gear preparing for the 2019 MAHC Conference in Seattle Washington April 30th –  May 1st, 2019.  This looks to be one of the best conferences ever!

Sadly, it’s not often in one’s lifetime that you feel you’re in the presence of a very special person, and that is exactly how I felt about Thomas Hutch. I knew Tom for over 25 years and my company has had the privilege of managing his cooperative, Manchester Knolls Cooperative, for the past 16 years. He was a very special person. He was special in a way that completely transcended all that we think of as normal.  He passed away January 17, 2019 after giving ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) the fight of a lifetime. He battled ALS to the  bitter end, courageously taking experimental drugs from Emory University in hopes of helping find a cure for this dreaded disease for the next generation. His undeniable tenacity fighting ALS for the past two years reminded me of the opening refrain of a poem by Dylan Thomas, a Welsh poet, who wrote:

50 Years of anything is nothing short of a monumental occasion – birthdays, anniversaries are all one thing, but this is 50 years of a community that has created friendships, memories and bonds that have lasted a lifetime is a milestone. The summer of 2018 was the year for Townhouse Green Cooperative to celebrate and celebrate
they did.

The original Certified Cooperative Director, Certified Cooperative Manager and Certified Cooperative Maintenance Manager classes were developed in 2009, copywritten and developed by the Midwest Association of Housing Cooperatives.  Over the years, yearly corrections have  been made but the material was still pertinent
and used for training and recertification of the  designation for over 350 students involved in Cooperative Housing.

The fundamental organizational structure of Cooperative living is founded on the tenets of selfcommunal
governance. As the membership depends on its elected Board Members to effectively oversee the conduct and affairs of the Cooperative as fiduciaries, and to act in the best interest of all, it is becoming more common to hear about a Board Member going “rogue.”

Dear Counselor:
We are approaching our Annual Meeting and are concerned about keeping the meeting within the allotted time. Prior meetings have taken a lot of time to go through the agenda and it is difficult to maintain the attention and attendance of the membership. Sometimes members become agitated and hostile when discussing topics sensitive to them. What can we do to make sure meetings do not exceed time allotments and run more smoothly?

Many people research and find their homes and jobs over the Internet. Most people are coming to expect that any professionally run business will have a web site. With a well-designed site your small business becomes a real player both on and off the net. Websites are an essential component to doing business in today’s world. What is basic business information?

Fall 2018

So, let gets into it: why is training important?  Members annually elect their Board of Directors to oversee and protect their investment.  This is a major entrustment of membership resources and faith.  You have to remember: training is an investment in your multi-million dollar corporation, and you have a fiduciary duty to protect that investment. Keeping up with recent trends gives you the advantage to learn things that prevent problems which could eventually increase exposure to lawsuits and other problems.  Training is a form of insurance to prevent problems before they happen, rather than after.


Legacy, LLC holds an annual contest called “LEGACY LLC SHINES CONTEST.”  Each property can self nominate either a staff member or the team that “Shines.”  This year’s winner was Colonial Townhouses Cooperative, and they take property events to unprecedented levels to encourage interaction and a sense of community.  Here is a glimpse of what they do to entertain their membership.


Asleep on my sofa on an early summer night a few years back, I was suddenly awakened by the sound of cascading water hitting the floor between the area that separated my dining room from the kitchen. I couldn’t believe it! A mini Niagara Falls taking place right there before my very own eyes in my apartment? Looking upward, I noticed water gushing from a dime size hole in the ceiling.


I recently  read a great book titled “The Truth About Getting the Best from People”by Martha Finney.

Most of the book refers to employees and employment but makes so much sense on many levels.  I particularly liked the following chapter which I have rewritten in my own words to keep from just rewriting the chapter. 


What exactly does it mean to lose a motion to lay on the table?


June 2018

Fountain Court Consumer Housing Cooperative is enjoying its 50th anniversary.
With its newmotto—“50 years strong”—FountainCourt has catapulted itself into this
millennium. Jerome Rayford, Fountain Court’s current president, sat down and gave
us an interviewabout the cooperative’s bright future. All of the latest renovations and
work themembers have put into the cooperative have placed FountainCourt in better
shape than ever.

On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Midwest Association of Housing Cooperatives (MAHC), I
want to thank you for attending the MAHC’s 53nd Annual Conference. This was truly a Celebration of
Knowledge and Experience!

In 2018 we gave out awards to some of the many deserving people who works above and beyond the call of duty to lead Cooperatives now and in the Future. We wanted to share them with you.

Whether your Board just completed a new RFP process formanagement or your existingmanagement agreement
is expired, negotiation and re-negotiation of management agreement terms including key points for your
Cooperative’s particularmanagement plan are necessary courses of action to ensure continued operating success
into the future. Your management agreement and management plan provide a comprehensive and detailed
descriptionof theManagementAgent’sduties, responsibilities andpolicies tobe followedby theManagementAgent
in themanagement of your Cooperative. TheManagement Plan itself ismore of a comprehensive description of the
contractual duties and responsibilities outlined in the Management Agreement. In some instances, your
management agreement may be a single document which contains all terms including a proposed management
plan; it is not, however, uncommon for theManagement Plan to also be a separate document incorporated into the
management agreement by reference as an addendum or contract exhibit. In either event, it is vital that both
documents are presented to your Cooperative Attorney for review and legal guidance.

Following the closing of the Civil War, the Civil Right Act of 1866 was enacted with hopes of affirming that all citizens are protected equally by the law regardless of their race or color.  Unfortunately, the law would go largely unenforced for over 100 years.

Originally,my goalwas towrite an article on the steps of howto plan for  major building plumbing project by using front loading strategies. However,due to recent current events happening across this country, I decided to delay the writing of that article for a future publication. Rather my focal point here will be on how Cooperative housing can
play a role in mitigating some of tension resulting from political divisiveness occurring in many communities.

January 2018

CharterOaks Cooperative decided to give back lastmonth during the holidays to the people
that sacrifice the most. Marlene Fletcher, Linda Springer and Ken DeBoer served on a
committee to bring care packages to the troops overseas. At the close of the cooperative’s
annual meeting last September they announced their intention for this incredible project.
Member’s were asked if they had family or friend’s serving over in the Middle East but no one
was directly connected. And just like that the plans were in motion

When a cooperative elects to initiate eviction proceedings against amember
whose conduct has violated the governing documents – for whatever the
reason may be, not every case in a court of law is guaranteed win.
Sometimes key witnesses’ testimony will change, sometimes witnesses will
refuse to testify (even after issued a subpoena), or unfavorable factsmay be
unearthed during discovery. Even if the cooperative has dotted every “i”
dotted and crossed every “t,” sometimes judges and juries will side with the
resident member in an eviction case despite what the law and facts may
show. This is why most civil lawsuits settle.

Another year has ended, 2017 is in the history books. However, our
efforts to continually improve and growas an organization never stop.
Recently, the MAHC Board members updated our strategic planning
with a focus on how Cooperative housing needs efficiency goals to
achieve effective operation along with a need to have a “trained and
fully engaged” board members to do so.

Dear Co-op counselor,
We are running into an issue with board meetings and
speakersmisusing time.We have business to attend to and
things are not getting done. How can I help keep these
meetings on track and follow the correct procedure?
Inquiring Member

What makes a community?
Since the late nineteenth century, the use of the term “community” has remained, to some
extent, associated with the hope and the wish of reviving oncemore the closer, warmer,more
harmonious types of bonds between people. “Community” is so easy to say. The word itself
connects us with each other. It describes an experience so common that we never really take
time to explain it. But, the meaning of community is complex. And, unfortunately, insufficient
understanding of what a community is and its role in the lives of people in diverse societies
has led to the downfall of many well-intended “community” efforts.

Before any subject is open to debate it is
necessary, first, that a motion be made by a
member who has obtained the floor; second,
that it be seconded (with certain exceptions);
and third, that it be stated by the chair, that is, by
the presiding officer. The fact that amotion has
beenmade and seconded does not put it before
the assembly, as the chair alone can do that.He
must either rule it out of order, or state the
question on it so that the assembly may know
what is before it for consideration and action,
that is, what is the immediately pending
question. If several questions are pending, as a
resolution and an amendment and a motion to
postpone, the last one stated by the chair is the
immediately pending question.

October 2017

We are pleased to introduce to you our new Office Manager, Annette Dukes. Dukes,

I have been reading a book called “Verbal Judo” and realize how this is practiced or the lack of it is practiced at every board meeting we all attend.  So, I thought some of these Principals were so on point that they would be appreciated by our members.


The election of Board Members, who will end up running the Cooperative on behalf of its Members, is an essential part of what makes housing cooperatives a unique and successful form of home and community ownership. But for many Cooperatives, the ordeal of organizing and executing nominations and elections can be incredibly tiresome and even stressful due to their long-term importance.

We just discovered that our site manager was embezzling money.  What should we do?
Please advise.


What exactly is quorum?


June 2017

 Democracy In Action

MAHC honors the Leader of the cooperative

By Shirley A. Berger President, North Park Cooperative

Michigan’s Medical Marijuana Act (MMMA) was amended by the passage of three new bills in December 2016

Can the Board remove a fellow Officer or Director?

February 2017

MAHC at Work Training Co-Op Leaders for the Future

 what kinds of animals are permissible, and, if I can even have a pet at my Cooperative

Spring is also a time to think about expanding our minds though our Cooperative Education.

Violence Against Women Act & Cooperatives

How should a chair handle debate in a meeting?

October 2016

Latisha Billy knows the value of hard work and sees opportunity in any challenge she faces.  Her strong work ethic and excellent customer service skills have helped her progress through her current company, Kirkpatrick Management Company (KMC).


Known as the Cooperative Masterpiece with the Million Dollar View, Noble Square Cooperative doesn’t sit on their past accomplishments, they are ever moving forward. Under the leadership of the Board of Directors and President Christine Johnson, enhancing the member experience at the Cooperative is a primary focus at all times.

MAHC will come to you for training!  When new board members, long term board members (who feel like they need an update), and employees need or want training: think of MAHC as your source.

Great classes are offered, ranging from four hour subject specific lessons to our popular certification classes.


Dear Coop counselor
  I’m looking for some funding sources to initiate or establish some programs at my co-operative.  I know I may need to apply for a grant, but I don’t even know where to start.  Please advise.
 Finding Funding


July 2016

Last summer my family visited the Atlantic Ocean in North Carolina. When we arrived on the beach however, we noticed that red flags were flying. The red flags warned us that there were rip tides and that swimming was out of the question.  We had to wait a few days to get in the water, but it was safe when the red flags came down.


Has your Cooperative ever received a charge of employment discrimination?  Such charges are often filed by Cooperative employees after termination.  The terminated employee contacts the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or a State civil rights commission and files a charge.  Charges often allege the employer discriminated against an employee because of race, color, gender, religion, age, etc. In the past dozen years, the number of claims against employers alleging discrimination based on disability has also risen dramatically.


Dear Counselor
 I understand that HUD has issued a new rule on criminal convictions in screening applicants for membership; does this mean that we can no longer ask about criminal histories? Please advise.
  Criminal Conscious


MAHC continues to dedicate itself to ongoing education for the Board of Directors and its members. The MAHC Board of Directors and staff have responded to overwhelming requests for new, improved, and extensive training for Board of Directors and their staff. 


A little history about that Robert guyAs Henry Robert first conceived his book, he wanted it to be brief and simple enough to serve as a guide in the hands of every meeting-goer. He thought it might run to about 50 pages. By the time the first edition was published, he found he needed 176. Following its publication, letters asking questions about parliamentary situations not clearly answered in the book began to pour in — by the hundreds through the years.


January 2016

Another year is entering its last quarter, 2015 is almost in the history books.   However, our efforts to continually improve and grow as an organization never stop.
                  Midwest Association of Housing Cooperatives plays a central role to elevate the cooperative housing model not only at the local and state level, but also at the national stage in collaboration with other players in the housing field.

                  Recently, the MAHC Board members spent 2 full days over 2 weekends to update our strategic planning with a focus on how Cooperative housing needs efficiency goals to achieve effective operation along with a need to have a “trained and fully engaged” board members to do so.


Would your D & O policy cover a claim against the board members for purchasing inadequate insurance coverage which exposed the cooperative?  In our years of experience as insurance consultants we have seen many D & O policies specifically exclude coverage for decisions relating to insurance.  This could mean disaster for you as a board member.


Kansas City has many reasons to celebrate recently (Go Royals), but another big party here in the Heartland was Loma Vista West’s 50th Anniversary Celebration. And the best way to feed a hungry crowd is by serving World Championship Barbeque. Members came to together to mingle, munch down and commemorate on Loma Vista’s past 50 years of being a community.


Dear Counselor;
 I have a question about professional hierarchy and specifically who answers to whom?  Does the cooperative attorney represent the Management company or the cooperative
As a board member, I was told by my management company NOT to take matters to the Cooperative Attorney.   I am not sure who I can talk to? Please advise.
Who’s Who


What happens when the family of a recently deceased member shows up at the Cooperative office expecting immediate access to the unit and presents you a Power of Attorney as their authority?


September 2015

During the recent MAHC Annual Conference, it was surprising to hear attendees share stories of the poor experiences they encounter with their Management Agent. Having been in the property management business for over 37 years, I have developed a set of “Best Practices” that serve useful as a tool to professionally deliver and fulfill our fiduciary responsibilities to our clients. The concepts that follow are merely suggestions and qualities you should look for when selecting a professional property management company.

we hear this from clients all the time, and the answer is that it is not enough!

Dear Counselor;
I We are a Senior Living Community, a Cooperative, and a 55+ commu­nity or so we say in various advertisings. We have been told that we
have a Fair Housing 55+ exemption which I am told means we are able I to discriminate based upon age for prospective members. When the I question came up about a person wanting to buy in to the cooperative who was 55 but had a 52 year old spouse, one person said we could not I stop them and another person said we could lose our 55+ exemption if
I we allowed the 52 year old in. Without the 55+ exemption we would they both light or wrong?

A frequent and major source of claims against business owners is that of employees of independent contractors who become injured while working at the business owner’s building. This could involve employees of painting,
carpentry, sprinkler, roofing contractors, or other trades people working at the business premises during construction or renovation activities. It could also include employees of independent contractors who are involved in repairing machines, as well as mechanical and electrical contractors performing repair or maintenance or janitorial work. Other exposures to property owners from the use of such independent contractors involve property dam-age caused by the contractor, defective work of the contractor, or liens re- suiting from the contractor’s failure to pay subcontractors or material suppliers. Marsh and McLennan attorneys have represented clients in such cases and the purpose of this Special Report is to outline some risk management techniques that can be used to limit your exposures to such risks.

Is it possible to withdraw a resignation after it has been submitted.

May 2015

In 2008, the Michigan legislature enacted the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA), which legalized the use of medical marijuana in the State of Michigan.¹  Specifically, Michigan residents who obtain a valid medical marijuana identification card are permitted to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and/or 12 live marijuana plants.² Numerous other states have enacted similar measures regarding medical marijuana, and some states have gone so far as to legalize marijuana for general recreational use. 

The MAHC Messenger caught up with a few attendees from this years conference to find out what their opinions were on some interesting topics.  We spoke with MAHC Member, , Fred Gibbs who is a Managing Agent with FK Gibbs Company in Kansas City, MO, and Ted Dowl of Town Square Cooperative  in Detroit, and Linda Asim from Retreat Cooperative in Indianapolis, IN.  The interviews are as follows:


Dear Counselor;
Our Cooperative board has compatibility issues, our meetings are not productive because of the conflict and difficulties we have getting along with each other.  I feel that racial tension and personal prejudice may be an underlying factor.  How can we address this issue and eliminate this toxic atmosphere so that we can have productive board meetings.

 Signed: Board With Drama

The 2015 MAHC Annual Educational Conference provided yet another successful, innovative and informative program, filled with opportunities to build your professional network.  Each year this event allows you to learn, reflect and engage with colleagues from around the country. Topics covered included fair housing, ethics, legal structure of cooperatives, policy making, decision making, financial integrity, and battling renter mentality in today’s cooperatives.  “It was awesome,” said a Co-oper who was attending for the first time.  “The speakers not only knew what they were talking about, but they were very open to questions and engaged with the audience, which is different from many other conferences I have attended. I was blown away by the amount of knowledge and experience many of the speakers have in Cooperatives.  I learned a lot.” 


The method of vote on any motion depends on the situation and the by-laws of policy of your organization. There are five methods used to vote by most organizations, they are:


January 2015

Does your Cooperative Board of Directors have a Code of Ethics? Has every
Board Member signed it?
Maybe with a new year, it should be a topic on your agenda to just review it
again at a Board meeting so everyone starts out with a clear perspective.

An Interview with Joanne Day
We were able to catch up with MAHC’s newest staff
member recently and decided that you might
want to know a little more about her;

Dear Counselor;
How does a cooperative find members that are interested
in serving on the board? And once elected
long should a member serve on the board?
Signed: Wondering about Term Limits

Social media is becoming more popular than ever, this presents the question of
whether or not your housing cooperative should utilize this forum. Consider that Americans
spend an average of 37 minutes daily on social media, a higher time-spend than
any other major Internet activity, including email.¹ Last year nearly 2 billion people
worldwide were actively engaged in the use of social media, and it is expected to double
in 2017. By January 2014, Facebook alone had 1.23 billion monthly users active on
their website, 600 billion of them logged into their account from their mobile device. ²
Twitters user’s numbered 255 million monthly users in 2013 with over 500 million tweets
being sent daily.

Isn’t it necessary to summarize matters discussed at a
meeting in the minutes of that meeting in order for
the minutes to be complete?

October 2014

The Messenger staff had the honor and privilege of interviewing one of MAHC’s newest board members recently.  We learned some very interesting things. Dwayne’s answers were pretty impressive and above all we found him to be very sincere.  He comes from Bloomfield Townhouses Cooperative, in Bloomfield, Michigan  Here is the interview;


Many people research and find their homes and jobs over the Internet. Most people are coming to expect that any professionally run business will have a web site. With a well-designed site your small business becomes a real player both on and off the net. Websites are an essential component to doing business in today’s world.  What is basic business information? Think of a Yellow Pages ad. What are your hours? What do you do? How can someone contact you? What methods of payment do you take? Where are you located at? Now think of a Yellow Pages ad where you have instant communication. If you could keep your customer informed of every reason why they should do business with you, don’t you think you could do more business? (You can on the WWW MAHC is offering a new service to our members to help them get started on web.)

We have a member that is constantly complaining to HUD.  The latest complaint is about an excessively noisy upstairs neighbor that no one else seems to hear?  HUD is telling us that we have to address this member’s concerns.  What should we do? 


I’m sure there are many co-op board members, who from time to time look at the cost of attending a MAHC or other organizational conference and think “Wow! it sure does cost a lot to go to a conference.” Then we start thinking of ways to cut corners.  Over the years, either as a cooperator, an educator or as a student, I’ve seen and heard many horror stories from cooperative board members.  Some of the statements I’ve actually heard are:

Can ex-officio members vote, and are they counted in determining whether a quorum is present?


August 2014

On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Midwest Association of Housing Cooperatives (MAHC), I want to Thank you for attending the MAHC’s 52nd Annual Conference. This was truly a Celebration of Knowledge and Experience!


They say it’s not what you say, but rather what you do that truly counts.  While Christine Johnson – Nieves is not likely to ever be found tooting her own horn her life has been dedicated to service.


Dear Counselor;

As a board member, I am not sure how I should respond to a member who recently approached me to complain  about a problem she is having with her neighbor.  It seems that her neighbor is creating a disturbance due to  excessive noise and loud music that is being played regularly.  How do I respond to this?  What should my involvement be?   


When healthy dialog turns into personal insults, innuendo, gossip and disruptive arguments, board meetings can get off message and contentious.  Left unabated, the board fractures, no one is satisfied and the community suffers.  How can a board deal with a disagreeable board member?  Each situation is unique, so specific approaches will differ.  However, there are a few helpful tactics boards can use.


Is it true that the president can vote only to break a tie?


April 2014

We had the opportunity to interview MAHC Board Treasurer, Blaine Honeycutt recently and were very privileged to gain his perspective on life as a Board Member at his Co-op as well as his insight on what MAHC membership means to him. 


We have a board member that is divorced with two small children living in her unit.  She has been a member for nearly four years.  Recently our board members have heard rumors that a man is living with her, but he is not listed on her latest re-certification.  What can we do in this situation?

The federal government recently amplified its pledge to reduce discriminatory practices that limit opportunities for minority groups. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development issued a new rule on March 5, 2012 that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation in HUD assisted programs

A handful of SAHC members decided to take action to protect their members’ investments over fifteen years ago.  They created Share Credit Corp as a non-profit lending institution dedicated to the single purpose of providing share based financing.


Is it true that, once a quorum has been established, it continues to exist no matter how many members leave during the course of the meeting?

January 2014

It’s not often that you meet people that leave a lasting, profound effect on your life.  It is certain that we all are impacted by people that are driven with a purpose to make a change.  People that have a desire and willingness to serve for all the right reasons have a lasting effect on each of us.  Bill Magee was in fact one of those people.  Mr. Magee, or “Bill” as he liked to be called lived a life that modeled his heart of servitude.  His service, which spanned a lifetime and included service to our country as well as service to his community, both on a state and local level are impressive; but it is without a doubt his service within our Cooperative community that has left the largest impact and is for certain his greatest legacy. 


                 Our cooperative just learned that one of our best employees has a criminal record.  The employee failed to disclose this in the application process.  Because the criminal charge was “a long time ago” and no longer  relevant.  This person is an excellent worker and we hate to lose them as an employee.  What can we do?


The Midwest Association of Housing Cooperatives has made it one of its priorities to offer quality education to its members, its associates, its partners, and anyone interested in Cooperative Living and Managing in today’s market.


One of the big problems we run into with Housing Cooperatives is that this form of home ownership is such a big mystery.  Consequently, financial institutions miss a large business opportunity to provide loans to people interested in buying Cooperative units, or those already living in Cooperatives that want to finance improvements or draw some of their equity out.  

Actions Speak Louder Than Words…


August 2013

Unfortunately in today’s fiscal climate we have to live with public safety budget cuts and staff reductions.  Programs such as Community Policing, D.A.R.E. and G.R.E.A.T. are the first to go in addressing road patrol staffing and community response.  In speaking with current and former law enforcement officers, they all express the same sentiment, “police response times suffer.”  Attempting to do more with less is a nightmare for the head of the agency and he or she hears about it at council or township board meetings. 


MAHC has been serving cooperative housing for 50 years – that is 5 decades and still going strong.  MAHC has held training conferences since its inception – knowing that education is the key for the future of cooperatives.  In 1975, they extended training conferences outside of Detroit as a result of Cooperatives joining throughout the Midwest.  The conferences are held to educate Board and Committee Members on what it takes to operate as a cooperative.  This includes legal updates and the operational challenges we all face – from budgeting to maintenance programs.  This training also extends to management companies that work with Cooperatives on a daily basis.  MAHC’s mission is to help and support all Cooperatives – and all of us who volunteer to serve.


Dear Counselor; If a cooperative gets sued can individual board members be liable? 


Discussions about civil rights laws are almost commonplace now, and anti-discrimination concepts are familiar even to those who don’t completely understand how the laws work. For example, due to an increase in education and the prevalence of media coverage of high-profile lawsuits, most people realize that it is illegal to discriminate against someone in the workplace because of:


March 2013

Over the years MAHC has contributed to the cooperative movement in so many
ways. First MAHC is the leading organization, run by its own cooperative members.
MAHC encourages cooperatives large and small to join forces to improve and preserve the cooperative
lifestyle for all. MAHC’s focus on education has been instrumental in cementing the future of our way of life,
bringing young cooperators into the fold is a primary focus. While education may not have physical properties,
the lack of it is readily apparent. An uneducated board has no idea of their responsibilities to themselves or their
membership. We teach individuals to live with imagination to see their likenesses and understand their differences
by building dreams with foundations. In summary, the answer to the question is; MAHC has consistently
and continually contributed knowledge, wisdom, hope, time, travel, and yes money to create leaders for tomorrow.

I n early 1964, the Foundation for the 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 the new cooperatives.

Dear Counselor; Can you help me with a issue our cooperative is having with confidentially? How do you hold a
board member accountable when you know that they are discussing cooperative business with others whom should not be subject to privileged information?

Harriette Woodards joined MAHC as a board member from Fountain Court Consumers Cooperative back in 1976 before the organization had had a chance to grow. We tracked her down for an interview which was a very difficult task since she is one very busy lady. Here is what we learned:

October 2012

Sometimes we wonder whether the classes we present to the MAHC Membership at our Annual Conferences provide information that the attendees are able to take back to their cooperative and actually use to make a difference.

On September 13, the Obama Administration released the “OMB Report Pursuant to the Sequestration Transparency Act of 2012 (P. L. 112–155).” The report provides detailed estimates of the Budget Control Act’s required sequestration (i.e. mandatory across-the-board spending cuts) to defense and non-defense funding. NAHMA was very concerned to learn that federal affordable housing programs could be cut by 8.2 percent across-the-board (if they are funded at FY 2012 levels) in 2013 due to sequestration

Many of you have attended the Annual MAHC Conferences in exciting locations such as Jacksonville, Las Vegas, and San Diego. However, you may not have realized that this elaborate and complex conference is the brainchild of MAHC Secretary, Rich Berendson. Working diligently behind the scenes, Mr. Berendson is constantly organizing and ensuring that things go off without a hitch. Rich has been involved in housing cooperatives for over a decade, and it shows.

It is inevitable. The ravages of time, and the natural elements, take their toll on buildings and their related common areas. Sooner or later the buildings and surrounding improvements must be repaired or replaced. Boards of Directors are prone to leave what appears to be a complex process to their management company, a retained construction manager, a general contractor and/or an architect, only to be disappointed when costly surprises pop up during or after the performance of the work.

After 43 years of operation, the Noble Square Cooperative group decided it was time to upgrade the heating system. High efficiency was a must-have in choosing the best system for the building in order to save on the rising costs of heating, while providing the comforts of heating and hot water to tenants

August 2012

The federal government recently amplified its pledge to reduce discriminatory practices that limit opportunities for minority groups. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development issued a new rule on March 5, 2012 that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation in HUD assisted programs.

With summer upon us and warm temperatures abounding, one of the main concerns of housing cooperatives is how to maintain attractive and affordable lawns. It’s time to weed, fertilize, remove moss, and reseed to create “curb appeal”.

Harold Rider, Co-President of Realty & Mortgage Company, is no stranger to the Midwest. Mr. Rider grew up in the Chicago suburbs, and then headed east to attend Colby College, where he graduated in 1988. From there he moved to Wilmington, Delaware where he worked for JMB properties, which was the largest real estate company in the world at that time. Mr. Rider went through JMB’s training program and worked in their office group for a few years before he moved back to Chicago and started working at Realty Mortgage Company.

I would be remiss as President of MAHC if I did not take the time to thank all the wonderful people that donated money to the educational fund to make it possible so that we can educate fellow cooperatives.

If your housing cooperative employs the help from any volunteers, you may be liable for
their actions. In California a volunteer was supervising an after school group on a non-profit’s
property. One boy was getting a little rough during a game, and was admonished several times by
the volunteer. The boy did not listen to the volunteer and made a dangerous gesture toward the
volunteer, who lightly tapped the boy upside the head and told him to “knock it off and settle down.”

The world of cooperative housing was a hit at the Indiana Black Expo, and the MAHC booth was a success. The concept was well received by attendants who had no knowledge regarding housing cooperatives. We had the opportunity to network with Senator Carson, other politicians, judges, attorneys, insurance companies, seniors, social workers, health workers, and visitors from Alabama, Ohio, Mississippi, Texas, and Illinois.

Our member cooperatives should start to plan for the likely event that those cuts become a reality. What HUD will do and how HUD will handle the cuts is not known at the moment. If the cooperative has a project based Section 8 contract, there is a possibility that individual members’ participation to rent (carrying charges) will rise from 30% to 35%. This possibility and the possible short funding, which we experienced a few years ago, would require Boards with a HUD subsidized or a HUD insured cooperative, to make difficult decisions. It is important for these Boards to begin to plan NOW.

HUD has issued page changes to the Section 8 Renewal Policy Guide Book.  HUD explained that the renewal guide changes

The House and Senate leaders announced that they reached a deal on a continuing resolution (CR). The CR would fund all government programs at FY 2012 levels for the first half of FY 2013, unless otherwise specified. The fiscal year begins on October 1. The CR would last through the end of March 2013.

If you are thinking about using pictures of your cooperative residents in a photography contest or any sort of fundraiser, think twice. While it is unlikely that a court would allow a suit alleging misappropriation of a resident’s name and likeness in order to promote products or services, or make money from the commercial use of their identity, your cooperative could be subject to a lawsuit. Michigan is the only Sixth Circuit State without a “right of publicity” statute, and the only one that does not provide post-mortem right of publicity protection. In most states, you can be sued for using someone else’s name, likeness or other personal attributes without permission for an exploitive purpose. As a general rule, you should never use someone’s name or photograph in advertising or promotion of your website or blog without permission.

June 2012

Jane Doe was 19 years old when she was charged with prescription fraud.  The court allowed her to enter into a diversion program and was able to avoid  having a criminal record that would follow her for the rest of her life.  She went on to have a productive career as a nursing assistant until she was fired after seven years of employment at a nursing home.  The Department of Community Health informed her that she was barred for life from working in long-term care because of the drug offense in her youth. 

A leader has quietly risen among the ranks to become President of the Ralph Bunche Cooperative in Detroit.  Kevin Kanoyton, a native to Detroit, became the interim president this last March, and was officially elected as the cooperative’s President on March 22.  Mr. Kanoyton grew up in Detroit and cites his grandfather as his biggest role model.  His grandfather taught him the value of good work ethic, the spirit of entrepreneurship, and how to be a good provider and role model for his family.  Mr. Kanoyton graduated from Cass Tech High School in Detroit, and graduated from Madonna University in Livonia. 



Most housing cooperatives have a tenant selection policy, which helps ensure that tenants are selected for occupancy in accordance with either HUD requirements or state, federal and local laws.  If your housing cooperative is regulated by HUD, then there are specific guidelines you must follow in order to continue to receive government assistance.  If your housing cooperative is not regulated by HUD, then you can use these ideas to create your own policies in accordance with applicable state, federal and local laws as well as the cooperative’s established management policies. 


Although Nikita Frederick is one of MAHC’s newer board members, she has been in the housing cooperative community for years.  Ms. Frederick was first introduced to housing cooperatives while living at Birch Run Cooperative in Romulus, and joined their board in 1989.  She went on to serve for more than 17 years, and became a staple in their housing community.  Ms. Fredericks remembers, “I ran for the board just to see what was going on, but once I joined I saw how important it was to be a knowledgeable board member.”  She went on to serve as a Secretary as well as the President of the cooperative. 


Huntington Management, overseeing 25 properties with 3,500 units in Southeastern Michigan, adheres to a clear and concise mission statement to keep consistently on point.  The company’s mission is to preserve, maintain and enhance value.  So what does Huntington Management value in Cooperative living? “The biggest benefit of living in a Cooperative is not only cost containment, but the advantage of having an environment of neighbor awareness or a ‘village’ so to speak, where everyone looks out for everyone’s best interest.  Co-ops have a mutual awareness which is not always present in a rental community”, says Executive Director, Cindy J. Jones, who has managed 48 properties in her many years of experience.


WASHINGTON, DC — (Marketwire) — 05/03/12 — One hundred fifty cooperative leaders from all sectors of the economy and corners of the nation will meet with top policymakers at the White House on May 4 to discuss how their organizations spur economic recovery through job creation and ongoing investments in their local communities.



With the rise of technology and the increased computer use in the legal profession,                E-Discovery for lawyers has become increasingly important.  Whether you are advising your client on     e-discovery issues before a dispute arises, or you are requesting or producing electronically stored information in the course of litigation, there are important updates that you should know to help you stay on top of your e-discovery obligations. 


It was the cutest little kitten Mrs. Smith had ever seen.  She scooped it up and took it home, back to her Coop unit.  What Mrs. Smith didn’t know is that her Coop had a no pet policy.  Mrs. Smith didn’t bother to read it and no one said anything about her new little kitten.  Pretty soon, Mrs. Smith’s kitten grew up to be a cat and Mrs. Smith would let it outside on occasion.  It also had a nasty habit of clawing the curtains and checking out the garbage.  Mrs. Smith worked a lot and was not aware of where her cat was at all times.  Pretty soon, neighbors began to complain.  Eventually, the fact that Mrs. Smith had a cat made its way to the Board of Directors.  The Board of Directors read on the internet that they could ban all pets in the Coop, and decided to enforce their policy.  They gave Mrs. Smith two weeks to dispose of her cat or else she would be evicted from the premises.


April 2012

Chicago, Illinois, April 8 –  To supplement the excellent article by Randall Pentiuk in the April 2011 MAHC Messenger on the above subject, it should also be borne in mind that the backup protection, in the event that the advice provided by Attorney Pentiuk does not work, bearing in mind, no systems are full proof, there bonding or crime insurance coverage

The Congressional “Super Committee” was tasked with coming up with $1.5 trillion in debt savings over a ten year period.  Their failure to do so, has forced agencies, such as the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)  to implement mandatory budget cuts to  its fiscal year (FY) 2012 budget.  Overall funding for the department will be down $1.1 billion from the net levels in FY 2011.  Expect to see additional across the board cuts of 7% in 2013 and 8% in 2014.

Dave “Rudy” Rudicil is a lifetime resident of the Downriver community, which is located on the south side of Detroit.  As the second youngest of eight, he learned not to take life so seriously.  Rudy says that his greatest influence in his life was his mother, who said, “Smile and the world will smile with you; cry and you will cry alone.”


IT’S NOT WHAT YOU KNOW, IT’S WHO YOU KNOWWe have all heard this cliché phrase in our lifetimes, particularly when looking for a job or a business opportunity.  The question is; why is this one of those “trite but true” sayings that permeates our culture

Cooperatively strengthening communities by focusing on future needs and current benefits”, is how President of Marcus Management, Ralph Marcus, describes his mission.  Ralph, a Board of Governor of the RCM program (Registered Cooperative Manager), is part of a long-standing tradition with Cooperative housing.  His mother was one of the first MAHC Board Members, and his son is joining the Marcus Management team. 

Long believed to be almost extinct, these pesky little night-biters have returned with a vengeance and are headed for a mattress near you.  Bedbug infestations in recent years have increased dramatically in all 50 states, according to the National Pest Management Association.  Last summer, Terminix  pest-control service ranked Chicago as the fifth-most bedbug-infested city in the country. 


Every day in America, we are used to making purchases and paying sales tax on paper products, prepared foods, vehicles, and now digital downloads.  However, we have never paid sales taxes on the sale of our homes.  It was the one investment that remained untouched by the sales tax, instead it was taxed on a yearly basis according to market value.  That is all about to change.



It was a quiet, peaceful community, until one resident of a housing cooperative insisted on keeping a pet.  Many housing coops do not allow pets in their units.  The member was advised she could not keep her dog, even though the member had a note from her doctor diagnosing the pet as a companion animal for psychological reasons.


February 2012

WASHINGTON D.C., Dec. 15 – Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA), Congressional leader for the national cooperative movement, especially urban co-ops, today introduced the National Cooperative Development Act.

“It’s high time for Cooperatives — a great idea that has emerged from and gained success in our urban neighborhoods as well as rural communities – to move onto the national radar,” said Fattah, whose Philadelphia district includes numerous thriving co-ops. “This legislation brings federal resources and a policy priority to the effort.

Michigan Alliance of Cooperatives – November, 2011


             With approval of the board of directors; Lucille     Morgan Williams, Clementine Stitt-Wood, Barbara Williams, Pearly Williams and Janice Tillman (none of the Williams are related), the “Summer    Intern” program at the Chicago Cooperative, Hermitage Manor, was implemented.


EVERY AREA OF LIFE HAS CUSTOMERS, and the real estate management industry is no exception.  Your tenants/residents,  vendors and owners depend on you for solving problems, saving money and getting things done

Linville Management Services, Inc., is a full-service professional management firm with more than 30 years of        experience in cooperative housing.  “We work for the governing body of a cooperative — the board of directors — and are    responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the property, the job performance of on-site staff, occupancy and marketability of the cooperative and the handling of all accounting, real estate and legal matters associated with the administration,        operation and maintenance of the cooperative”, says Melva Linville, founder.  Melva found out what a housing cooperative was in 1969 when her family moved into North Brighton Townhouses. Moving into North Brighton gave her and her family a home, a community and a future.  It also gave Melva a job as the on-site manager. “What a wonderful job it was to help families find decent, safe housing at an affordable price”, she says.  Her passion for housing cooperatives did not take long to develop. In 1989, she formed Linville Management Services and was managing one cooperative in Independence, MO, and two in Kansas City, MO by the end of the year.


The year 2012 has been recognized as the International Year of Cooperatives (IYC) by the United Nations. This is an acknowledgement by the international community that cooperatives drive the economy, respond to social change, are resilient to the global economic crisis and are serious, successful businesses creating jobs in all sectors.

The refinancing of a    cooperative is a expensive and time consuming process. One of the cost associated with refinancing involves the purchase of land survey which is known as an ALTA survey.    Lenders commonly require such a survey. ALTA stands for American Land Title Association and an ALTA survey is a very detailed map which is drawn to specific specifications. Boundary line locations  and a   description of all the main and   ancillary buildings are included.  All easements are detailed and such easements include access rights for water, gas, phone, cable and any other utilities which service the property and sometimes adjacent properties. Parking Lots, roads, driveways, sidewalks, fences,    patios, pool and any other       structures which exist on the   premises are also shown.

People, pets and parking are the common issues faced by every Board.   Getting a handle on these problems and developing strategies to deal with them will alleviate a lot of headaches among the Board.



October 2011

As co-op managers and boards begin to think about preparing their budgets, they are faced with a series of new concerns. Co-ops that count on HUD funding for significant parts of their operations have to plan on probable reductions in HUD funding.


“My board and myself work hard to keep our property safe and clean so that our children can have a great place to live”, declares MAHC’s new Board Member, Karen Mitchell.  Karen, mother of six     children, and Nanny to 17 grandchildren, is indeed no stranger to hard work.  Born and raised in Gary,      Indiana, she started out working in a steel mill.  When her position was phased out in 1998, she moved into the Grandville Cooperative in Indianapolis and a community activist was born.  She ran for the board in 2003, and has been serving ever since. Today Karen is the chair to the senior services committee and has been the    president at her Cooperative since 2005.


As president of a coop, I truly understand how hard and time consuming it can be to take care of your coop. We all struggle with getting members to volunteer for committees, and take    responsibility for contributing to the success of their coop. The best way for a coop to be successful is to get as many members involved as possible.  The best way to accomplish that goal is through committees. MAHC has two classes to help you

If you change furnace filters, make sure this gets done before the cold weather hits.  Also use this time to inspect and clean the furnace.  Make sure flue pipes are in good condition and connected properly, check the heat exchanger for cracks.

On Saturday October 15, 2011, MAHC hosted an educational seminar in downtown Kansas City, Missouri at the Hotel Phillips. Eighty-four participants registered to attend this event which represented twelve cooperatives from the states of Kansas and Missouri.


These suggestions are for new Board members and serve as a refresher for        seasoned Board members, to prepare you for serving most effectively.  Incumbent Board members should pay attention to them in order to be helpful to new Directors

             Since 2002, Tailor Made Property Services has been in business by telling property     owners, “you tell us what you need, and we’ll go from there”.  Now managing 16 properties, the Tailor Made name continues to be based on a promise to constantly adapt to each property’s custom needs.  The property services group has        implemented what they call the “out of the box” philosophy which is designed to encourage all clients who own property to look beyond the day to day errands regarding people, pets and parking, and think about future goals.  Tailor Made wants to be a part of their client’s vision for the future and aspires to always keep the big picture goal in mind.


August 2011

The Midwest Association of Housing Cooperatives recently completed another successful annual conference in Jacksonville, Florida.  Over 200 Board  members and Managers from over 50 Cooperatives made the trip.  MAHC’s commitment to education continued with the Key Note Speaker, Alex Miller of the Southeast Region and over 25 classes offered to members during a four day     period.  Classes  included cutting edge topics like bed bugs, recent developments in Fair Housing Law,            refinancing, effective meetings and recent developments in Coop law.


Mr. James Pierson has served on the Fountain Court Board for many years and has been President since 1992.  MAHC’s newly elected Board Member says it was attending the MAHC conferences that drew him into his current level of involvement.  “Through annual conferences and continued support, MAHC  prepares all its Board Members to work their Cooperatives through top notch service.  The knowledge is presented very simply and if you attend and         participate I  guarantee 200% you are going to walk away with a better            understanding of what coops are all about,” says James, who hopes to begin teaching at next year’s event.


Will Caldwell, President of Blackstone Cooperative and Board Member for 20 years, was selling BlueCross health insurance over 20 years ago when he was first introduced to MAHC.  Incidentally, Will met the mother and father of Ralph Marcus, Blackstone         Cooperative’s Manager.  After talking with the couple regarding different ways to cut costs in healthcare, they developed a relationship and recommended him for his first board      position.  Will immediately began researching financial operations of a Cooperative in a quest to be an educated, well-rounded addition to his Board.


At the MAHC annual educational conference in Jacksonville, Florida, a session was given on bedbugs.  Just the subject we all want to deal with, right?   But one that is a reality that many Cooperatives as well as rental properties, nursing homes, group homes, hotel, motels, and other multi-unit properties are dealing with all over the world.


CHAPTER ELEVEN: RESERVING THE CORPORATION  This section looks ahead to the future viability of the Cooperative and the measures that today’s Board can take to ensure that your corporation enjoys a bright and long future

“Life changes, goes up and down, you never know until it comes around. We try to smile, through good and bad, depend on friends to keep away sad. The journey is long, the road is rough, faith and hope will be enough. Don’t waste a day in anger or regret keep joy in your heart your needs will be met.”


Boasting over 30 years of experience and currently overseeing more than 10,000     apartments across 4 states, “Unified by numbers” indeed fits for this company’s slogan.      Unified Management Services is on a mission to consistently exceed the property management expectations of the property owners and residents who they work for.  But how?   President, Kathy Sinicropi, says it’s “the depth of our relationship with our clients that really sets us apart.  Everything we do is focused on the people we serve.  Many companies have strong   professional relationships; we have strong personal and professional   relationships”.  The company’s management philosophy is described as “servant leadership!” meaning a philosophy and commitment to hire the very best.  “We aim to lead, train and support these employees at the very highest level. By doing this we insure that the members and Board Members at our communities are provided the best service in the industry,” says Kathy.

Carolyn Jackson has been with MAHC for a strong 10 years.  She was retired from a Health and Safety position with General Motors, when she began helping out by answering the phones in the main office.  Carolyn, when asked how she got involved in this position said, “They needed someone to do it, so I did it”.  Soon enough, she had taken on every clerical duty you could think of in addition to handling the organizational duties of the annual       conference while simultaneously sitting on her Board of Directors in Romulus, MI.  Not quite the relaxing life style most people envision for retirement

April 2011

As a housing cooperative, often many individuals forget that it is also a corporation subject to various legal fiduciary and accounting principles.  Over time, human nature begins to take precedence over these principles creating too many opportunities for the less scrupulous to take advantage of the corporate accounts.  The results of failures to properly govern and watch over those we entrust with the corporate  accounts are devastating.  Simple key undertakings however, will tighten the ship and make it less enticing for someone to take financial advantage over your cooperative.  This article is not intended to be an exhaustive list of financial safeguards, rather, it is a guide to help you first, prevent misappropriation of funds and second, identify items that out of the ordinary.


Earlier this year, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Housing  proposed a new rule to revise existing regulations limiting FHA insurance to existing rental projects. 

Cynthia Phillips moved into a Cooperative over 38 years ago and  immediately started getting involved. She initially wanted to over turn the existing local board, but after petitioning for change, she decided, “If you can’t beat them, join them”, and was elected in 1980. 


Jennifer Rhodes may be relatively new to her position on the MAHC Board in  Indianapolis, but is a seasoned pro at co-op living.  Jennifer moved into her first co-op in 1979 completely unaware that she would later refer fondly to cooperative living as “America’s best kept secret”.  Her desire to constantly educate herself, drove the new tenant to attend a couple of Board meetings where she linked up with like-minded      ladies and made her first contribution to associated living.   The small group of women formed the Membership Committee, which, among other things, took the application screening process into local hands.  Today, Jennifer says the most important thing she does is simply take the information that she gains from the MAHC conferences back home and not only share it, but implement it.  It’s Jennifer’s rule that each member who attends a conference has to come back and give a presentation on what they gained.  She remembers the San Diego conference as one of her favorites, as they launched    multiple new classes. 


Spring is upon us and with that comes the spring thaw and plenty of April showers.  This translates to a most frustrating period of time for many cooperatives, especially those buildings which are built with basements.  Members are often strongly encouraged to      maintain adequate insurance coverage for their unit interiors and the contents, however, some individuals continue to ignore the advice of the cooperative, assuming such a risk is the       cooperative’s problem.  This, however, is an incorrect and risky assumption.

Recent guidelines published by HUD make it clear that individuals evicted from housing as a result of domestic violence may have a basis to file a discrimination complaint under the Fair     Housing Act.  The Violence Against Women Act establishes protections to victims of abuse and who are subsequently evicted or denied housing.  As a result of its application in relation to the Fair Housing Act, HUD would be able to take complaints filed by victims of domestic violence and       determine whether adverse housing action violates Fair Housing dictates based on gender or another federally-protected basis.

HUD has charged the owner and manager of a New York apartment complex with violation of the Fair Housing Act.  According to the charge, repeated denial for a reasonable accommodation in the form of an assigned accessible parking space constitutes a failure to provide equal access to  housing for persons with disabilities.  The resident initially requesting the accommodation, suffers from a neurological disease that makes it impossible to walk long distances and maintain balance.

How many times have you wished the people you work for, or with, knew what it was like to perform your job?  If you work for Lisa Gamble, President of Keli Management, this wish would come true. Lisa began her climb through the ranks in 1986 as a receptionist for a commercial real   estate company.  She rose steadily taking on roles including secretary, administrative assistant,  bookkeeper, controller, human resources coordinator, office manager, property manager and finally, corporate vice president, before opening Keli Management with her husband, Kenny Gamble, in   November 2010. 


January 2011

Built in 1967, Townhouse Plaza Cooperative is located in Clinton Township.  Like most Cooperatives some of the benefits included in the Association Fees include gas, water, grass cutting, snow removal and full maintenance.  They don’t stop there however.  As a Cooperative member or Board Member reading this – imagine what it might be like for your Cooperative if you had no Mortgage.  Impossible in this economy?!  Not at all. 


On Friday, November 5, 2010 Ms. Frankie Morton, Board President of Mayfield Green     Cooperative in Indianapolis, IN was presented with the 1st annual Cooperator Community    Service Award from the Indiana Cooperative Development Center (ICDC).


The program is volunteer based and there are 3 very important players.  Ms. Lauretta Christy, Mr. Terrance Bryant and “Tom.”  Ms. Christy has been running the program for years, keeping it up and running despite numerous setbacks.  If anyone needs a lesson in perseverance they could look at The Yappo Learning Center.


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.


On September 15, 2010, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban                 Development issued a policy statement regarding implementation of optional     smoke-free housing. The policy  statement urges owners and management agents  participating in specific Multi-family Housing rental assistance programs to              implement smoke-free housing in some or all of the properties they own or manage. 


I am aware that some of us look at the many educational conferences we attend during the year as a vacation or a chance to go to an interesting city and see things to which we have not yet been exposed.   I would never say that you should not take in a lot of what different places have to offer, but always keep your proper perspective.   In the forefront of your mind should be the many    reasons why your cooperative sent you there in the first place.  Remember you are spending not just your cooperative’s money; it’s your money and your neighbors’ money that sends you to these educational events.   It’s not some  distant corporation with no face and no name.   It’s your Coop and the people who elected and placed their trust in you by financing your trip; you owe them something.   Collect all the knowledge you can while in attendance and bring it back, in the Cooperative spirit, to your fellow members.


August 2010

Midwest Association of Housing Cooperative’s Annual Conference was held at the Bally’s in Las Vegas, Nevada.  With more than 300           attendees, 64 Cooperatives were represented, and 10 management   companies all convened in Las Vegas  May 23-27, 2010.


On July 10th, 2010 the Midwest Association of Housing Cooperatives held its Retreat Board   Meeting in Romulus, Michigan.  All board members were able to make this meeting except two.  The discussions were lively and productive.



April 2010


This article is designed for Board members who are ultimately responsible for the success or failure of a board meeting but is principally addressed to presidents in preparing for board meetings, and to entire board’s whose assistance is required in assisting the President in carrying out the ideas to be discussed.


Cooperatives have good times and bad times the same as any other organization, but the founding cooperative principles by which cooperatives govern themselves provide them with the power to stay the course.

In this turbulent economic environment we have seen giants of industry fall, entire blocks of homes foreclosed upon, unemployment skyrocket.   But Cooperatives’ have for the most part been able to weather the storm.    What is the key to our survival in this challenging time?   Cooperatives by their very nature are frugal and tend to live within their means.  The dangers of spending what you don’t have and basing your decisions on pure speculation could not have been made clearer than in the last 18 months of American history.


February 2010

I became aware of cooperative living in 1996 when I moved to Ash Street Cooperatives, in Illinois, with my children and grandchildren.  Throughout the years I became more knowledgeable about the advantages offered through cooperative living.  I found that the cooperatives offered affordable housing, maintenance—free conditions, as well as providing a strong sense of community relationships.  Above all, I learned that as a member, I was also an owner. 



Whether you believe in global warming or not, the government is giving away benefits upon benefits to energy saving technologies. We all know that natural energy like wind, water, and solar are what our energy sources of the future will be. The newest incentives from the government are from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, along with the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. These acts can save you green!


If you are like every other community, you receive complaints from Members spanning from noise to odor.  Understanding that people are unique and expect to be treated that way, a lot of communities struggle with how to handle arguments and disagreements between neighbors.  Rules are a good place to start. 

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) receives more than 10,000 complaints a year about discrimination. You would think that in the year 2010 we would not have to think about discrimination as an issue. Unfortunately, the world still is not perfect, so we must keep making a conscious effort to change

Cooperatives ban fur

bearing animals for many reasons including health, safety and

welfare of the members.  On the surface, pets are cute, fuzzy and adorable.  They cuddle with you and alert you to trouble. They provide the conversations a lot of us crave because they cannot talk back.  For all that cute fuzziness however, some pet owners just do not get it when it comes to pet care in a housing community making it necessary to limit types of pets and or all out banning pets.


We all know of a certain Detroit Mayor that was involved in a texting scandal. He never thought that the text messages he sent would ever get him caught, or a certain football player that tweeted about his coach and then ended up sitting for the majority of the season, just to be traded to another team. Celebrities are constantly on twitter updating their status to the world, which has only gotten easier with today’s free technology at everyone’s fingertips.

According to the Bankruptcy Code, if the woodchuck is a member of a housing cooperative, he is not going to get to discharge all of his carrying charges, and if there is a possession judgment against him, the automatic stay may not protect him either.


The first line of MAHC’s mission statement is “To support and champion the cause of quality housing through education “. This is the part that I personally take seriously, which is the heart of MAHC. Members have been requesting more education, and thanks to Marlene Dau, Melanie Phillips and Dino DeMare, three new classes have been developed for cooperative living. Certified Cooperative Director, Manager and Maintenance.


Summer 2009

Coops—Ultimate goal is not to make a profit; it’s to provide benefits

I did not rest well at all the night
before April 25, 2009. My phone rang early
in the morning; the person on the line was
saying to me that it was time to get ready
for my trip to the airport. I was glad and sad
all at the same time that morning. Halfway
to the airport I realized that I had left my
ticket and passport at home. The driver had
to turn around and take me back home to
retrieve the documents before I could truly
say that I was on my way.

Perhaps you recall that radio commercial which ask “Do you know where your children are tonight?” Well now something else has come along that takes that question to the next level for cooperative housing and management agents. The question now being asked is: “Do you know where your email and electronic data are today?” If you don’t, you could be in for a rough legal time when litigation comes knocking on your door. What brought about this concern for e‐data anyway and why ought you be concerned?

As federal housing policy continues its journey into the twilight zone, and the housing needs of low ‐ moderate‐, and
now middle‐income households become more acute, programs that supported low‐equity cooperatives, the most successful federal housing programs in the nation’s history, continue to lie dormant

My name is Brenda McElhaney and I have received the privilege to serve on the MAHC Board. I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself to the members of MAHC.

Spring is when we usually begin to shed our winter pounds. Everywhere I turn, I find people dieting, getting ready to look their best for the summer. And just as it’s important to make smart choices about the food you eat, it’s important to choose what kind of people you surround yourself with, and let yourself be influenced by

The Midwest Association of Housing Cooperatives Board of Directors and staff have responded to overwhelming requests for new, improved, and extensive training for Directors and their staff The Midwest Association of  Housing Cooperatives is leased to announce that new classes they have been working on at the request of their members and comprehensive courses which offer certifications are w ready.

Winter 2008

“Company’s coming!” In the small-town, pre-Internet, pre-videogame world that I grew up in, those words were almost always good news. It usually meant that friends or relatives were on their way, and that our family would enjoy visits with people of importance to us. Or sometimes, the company would be more official in nature, such as a local priest or minister, or someone calling from a community business. But nonetheless, it was always very nice to welcome someone to our home-except for one thing.

My name is Tracey Goetsch and I have had the privilege of being recently elected t o the MAHC
Board or Directors. I would like to introduce myself to the membership of MAHC.

This famous line form the movie Jerry McGuire should serve as a mantra for our onsite managers throughout the Cooperative system. The greeting a person receives when entering our office, whether a member of the
cooperative or a potential member, should make them feel immediately welcomed and comfortable talking with our managers

Cooperative Housing Boards are often faced with many questions regarding compliance with
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. This Article is the second in a series that helps Managers and
Boards be better aware of the law and what it requires of them in terms of a Cooperatives duty to make
program changes in order to comply with the law and accommodate members with disabilities. For
specific legal advice, however, you should always consult your legal advisor.

Spring 2008

Accidents happen; it’s a fact of life. Every day, residents inadvertently expose property owners and other residents in the community to a variety of risks. Some are life threatening—such as kitchen fires—and others are simple mistakes, such as accidentally  overflowing a bathtub.

Every cooperative, regardless of its size, should have an emergency disaster plan which
addresses that property’s needs. It is the road map by which the membership responds to the crisis,
both during and after the specific event. The Board of Directors responsibility is two-fold. First, to protect the lives of the occupants, and secondly, to protect the investment of the  membership.

Cooperative Housing Boards are often faced with difficult questions regarding compliance with
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. There appears to be confusion about the law’s application
to different types of Cooperatives depending on whether or not they accept Section 8 funds, are built prior
to 1973 or have their mortgages insured by HUD. This Article helps Managers and Boards be better aware
of the law and what it requires of them in terms of a Cooperative’s duty to make physical alterations to
their structures and units in order to comply with the law and accommodate members with disabilities. For
specific legal advice, however, you should always consult your legal advisor.

As we all know, Cooperatives are formed for many uses; agricultural, retail, grocery, and of course some of the most beautiful properties in the world. They come in all shapes and sizes; high rise buildings, senior communities, town home communities, and much more.

The following list was generated by the National Fire Protection Association. It provides insight as to why, each year,
hundreds of people die inside their homes trying to put out fires instead of getting out

Where do we go from here? As a community, we must remember the guidelines of a “higher and better way—the way of shared prosperity” as we seek to improve the lives of all Americans. I believe that a combination of sound, political and business leadership is key to that achievement.

Summer 2007

Every organization regardless of how large or how small they are is measured by its success..“Success is a peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best that you are capable of becoming.”


More than 262 participants from nine states convened in San Diego, California May 13—May 17 for the Annual Conference.      We offered two extra events for 2007: the City Tour and a Casino trip. The City Tour was an early bird special for members that arrived early for the conference. We filled five buses with 218 people for the Casino trip on Monday.


Scams are everywhere. However, identity theft and its evil twin, phishing, have become major problems. Strictly, identity theft occurs when someone literally steals your identity. They set up bank accounts, take out credit cards, and borrow money in your name. But related scams include someone using your credit card number illegally, or stealing your PIN and looting your bank account.


A cross connection is an arrangement of piping which could allow undesirable water, sewage, or chemical solutions to enter your drinking (potable) water system as a result of a backflow. Cross connections with potable piping systems as a result of backflow have resulted in numerous causes of illnesses and even death.


Fall 2006

Cooperative Boards, in discharging their duties, usually award contracts to low bids. They also try to cut corners in entering into contracts with bidders. Obviously, the motivation is to keep costs down for the benefit of their members. That is what they perceive as their job, and they are correct—in part.        But the rest of the story needs to be told. Sometimes the low bidder is not an established, reputable businessperson. Sometimes, the low bid means cutting corners. Sometimes, it spells disaster for the Cooperative.


Once again, this year’s Annual Meeting held at the Jacksonville Hyatt Regency Hotel on. Sunday, May 19, 2006 was a great success with a turnout exceeding 200 attendees, We also had a “filled-to-capacity” turnout of vendors in our exhibit areas, which fortunately not only bring benefit to the Association but benefit to Association attendees as well. A testimonial to our growth and popularity over the years.


I have lived my entire life along the philosophy that if you say something it should be more than just mere words, it should translate into meaningful actions, as the old saying goes, “action speaks louder than words”.


Living in cooperative housing is the best of both worlds, according to Blaine Honeycutt, president of the board of directors at Georgetown Place Cooperatives.        It many cases, it is less costly than buying a house or a condominium, and it provides for a level of homeownership that apartments do not, he said.


Hello, let me introduce myself, I’m Hope Turner. I was recently elected in May to the MAHC Board at the Annual Conference in Jacksonville, Florida.         I am the President of the Concord Consumer Cooperative in Trenton, Michigan where my children and I reside


A large number of Cooperative Boards are presently exploring the option of refinancing their existing mortgage. Whether motivated by a desire to get rid of HUD, to take advantage of relatively low interest rates, a soft market for construction, a need to improve the property, or any combination of these considerations, the Board must do a lot of homework. We have listed some vital questions that should be answered by the prospective lenders before a selection is made

Spring 2006

It’s  a board meeting day. You’re expected to participate in discussions or give an update about a new initiative or some committee work.


Congratulations! You’ve volunteered and have now been elected to your housing cooperative’s Board of Directors. Your civic duties will be rewarding but could be a source of unforeseen liability. Disgruntled shareholders in your cooperative may not be appreciative of your efforts and decisions while on the board or acting as an individual officer.        Most likely, your housing cooperative has a Directors and Officers Liability policy in force. Directors and Officers Liability coverage may also be referred to as:


Central to the success of any cooperative is a board of directors that represents all the members. The board is also responsible for the co-op’s long-term future. This makes it vital that directors be free from conflicts—personal, financial or other.


As volunteer leaders we are an integral part of the game plan of our Association, helping it to grow and providing an objective sounding board for the implementation of the association’s agenda to move ahead. In realizing the extent of leverage, it is incumbent on us to use our consensus building skills to help the association reach its goals and objectives. Indeed, the grown of an association is directly

What is phishing (fish’ ing)? Phishing is a type of fraud designed to steal your identity, it is the act of sending an e-mail to a user falsely claiming to be an established legitimate business in an attempt to scam the user into surrendering private information that will be used for identity theft. In phishing scams, scam artists try to get you to disclose valuable personal information by convincing you to provide it under false pretenses. For example; an e-mail directs the user to a visit a web site where they are asked to update personal information, such as passwords and credit card, social security, and bank account numbers, which the legitimate organization already has.


Everybody I have talked to about the upcoming annual MAHC Conference being held this year in Jacksonville, Florida has expressed a great deal of enthusiasm and excitement about being in one of Florida’s most beautiful cities, especially since the weather promises to be perfect for the occasion and may I add, just in time for those of us who are suffering from a large dose of “cabin fever” at this particular time, due to the harsh weather we have all suffered through this winter.  I know that I am looking forward to being there and hope that I will be seeing you there, as well.