Housing

We envision a world where every person has a home, and housing is a right rather than a commodity. We prioritize working alongside low-income communities and communities of color – those who historically and currently have the least housing security – to develop legal structures and policy mechanisms that remove housing from the speculative marketplace and give communities control over land and housing resources. In particular, we promote cooperative housing, community land trusts, and other cooperative mechanisms for creating truly affordable, community controlled, and ecologically sustainable housing.

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SELC’s Housing Program provides education, research, legal advice, and advocacy to promote more just, sustainable, and cooperative housing models.

Projects and Resources

Legal Services: SELC provides one-time legal advice for sustainable housing projects at our Resilient Communities Legal Cafe. Occasionally, we develop longer-term relationships with clients to create particularly unique and replicable housing models, though our capacity to do this is quite limited.

Legal Research and Online Resources: We conduct legal research on land and housing issues and publish easy-to-read legal information on our online legal resource library. This information is currently housed on CommunityEnterpriseLaw.org, and we are developing a separate legal resource library specifically focused on community housing in 2016. Stay tuned!

Public Education: We often host teach-ins and community conversations on a range of issues related to cooperative housing and community control of land. Visit our events calendar to see what's coming up!

SELC provides legal resources for sustainable housing, including themed teach-ins at our Resilient Communities Legal Cafe

Policies and Advocacy

Policy Brief on Short-Term Rentals: In March 2015, SELC released a draft version of our City Policies for Short-Term Rentals brief, and we're seeking your feedback! Check out our policy brief and leave your feedback here. Stay tuned for the final version of this policy brief, expected to be published in spring 2016.

Advocacy: SELC and several key partners successfully introduced and passed AB 569, a bill to facilitate cooperative housing development in California, especially the creation of Limited Equity Housing Cooperatives (LEHCs)! Click here to learn more.

News and Blog

The latest updates on SELC's advocacy work to create more sustainable and cooperative models of housing and land stewardship.

Why Are We “Rethinking Home”? 
All human beings need economically sustainable housing solutions. However, the burden of housing ourselves is heavy and the predominant options are limiting. Throughout the world, landless people’s movements are vocalizing the essential unfairness of the fact that so many people must struggle to simply secure a place to physically exist, much less make a livelihood, on the planet. 

The struggle is not confined to the poor. Middle-income people in the U.S. are floundering to determine how their current housing arrangements will be financially sustainable into the future. The speculative marketplace drives many of society’s decisions about land and housing, and contributes to the scarcity of land resources. Land and housing resources have also been made artificially scarce because we have parceled them into ever larger and more expensive single-family boxes. SELC is “rethinking home,” because we want to challenge and change many of the predominant models for housing ourselves, and create more cooperative and just alternatives.