Interview with Associate Professor Jorge Sousa, Department of Educational Policy Studies, University of Alberta, on the Atkinson Housing Co-operative case study
1.Please describe the portion of your organisation that is involved with the CURA.
The Atkinson Housing Co-operative is located in downtown Toronto and was originally called the Alexandra Park Housing Project. Since 1969, there has been a strong active tradition in the form of a residents’ association in Alexandra Park. In the 1990s residents mobilized to deal with growing drug use and other social problems. They wanted greater community-based control in order to develop and implement local solutions that could improve the health of their community. In a referendum in 1996, 72 per cent voted to convert their project to a co-operative. After much community development and tireless negotiations the conversion occurred in 2003, which is arguably the result of a 12 year effort that relied on the commitment and expertise of the Co-operative Housing Federation of Toronto.
The Atkinson Housing Co-operative has functioned well over the last 9 years, and coming up to the 10th year anniversary they have much to celebrate. The property has not fallen apart. There is an engaged membership, and a board of directors that are elected annually. The property management and the Co-operative Housing Federation of Toronto have been pivotal to supporting the co-operative, but the final responsibility rests with the members.