Training & Services - Existing Co-ops

Training and Technical Assistance for Housing Co-ops

The Bay Area Community Land Trust (BACLT) offers training, education and technical assistance to housing co-ops.

Training can help a co-op operate more effectively; solve existing problems and increase residents’ satisfaction and participation. Many co-op members have never owned a home and have not had the opportunity to learn how to manage property. Owning property cooperatively presents unique challenges to the co-op’s Board of Directors. Training and technical assistance can help the Board meet these responsibilities and ensure that the co-op runs smoothly.

Often when long term members move out or there is a significant turn-over on the Board, new members need assistance in developing budgets, managing co-op finances, working with professional management, or addressing other challenges.

For co-ops facing these challenges, BACLT offers the following:

  • Assistance in solving specific problems unique to your co-op
  • Providing facilitation for meetings or to resolve conflicts with the co-op

  1. Value of Co-ops - What are the benefits of living in a cooperative? How do co-ops benefit the residents and the community at large? This workshop can help refocus on the positive aspects of co-op living.
  2. Meeting Skills – Are your board meetings as productive as they could be? This workshop includes basic meeting guidelines and facilitation practices. This can help residents work together to run a successful co­-op.
  3. Operating Rules - Most co-ops have agreements between members about how the co-op operates, often assembled in House Rules or an Operations Manual. We can help you review and revise your policies. This workshop uses problem solving exercises to identify preferences and priorities of co-op members.
  4. Co-op Legal Documents – Does your co-op have Bylaws and other governing documents? Do Board members understand their responsibilities? We can help your co-op review these documents, clarify roles of the Board, manager and members, and suggest possible amendments to improve operations of your co-op.
  5. Co-op Finances and Budgeting – We can help Board members understand how to develop an Operating Budget, maintain adequate reserves, and keep residents informed about the co-op’s financial situation.
  6. Maintenance Planning and Budgeting – How to schedule and budget for preventive maintenance and major replacements, maintenance responsibilities for individuals and the co-op, and how to select contractors to carry out repairs.
  7. Marketing and Member Selection - Do you have clear process for selecting new members? If not, we can help develop policies on how to conduct interviews, and how to choose a new member who is right for your co-op. Review of requirements of fair housing law.
  8. New Member Orientation– When new members move in, how can you integrate them successfully into the co-op? Maximize the likelihood that new members will be happy and participate fully in running the co-op.
  9. Increasing Membership Participation – Are members actively involved in your co-op? Would you like to increase membership participation? This interactive workshop helps determine barriers and brainstorms ways to overcome them.
  10. Officer Training Management duties vary in different co-ops. These trainings offer hands-on training for each officer and can benefit for one or more board members:
    1. President & Vice-President, or ‘Chair/Facilitator’: meeting facilitation, providing leadership and direction, preparing agendas.
    2. Treasurer: financial responsibilities, paying co-op’s bills and keeping the checkbook balanced, income taxes, standard co-op bookkeeping and preparing financial reports and budgets.
    3. Secretary: note taking, record keeping, maintaining correspondence.
    4. Maintenance Coordinator: basic maintenance skills, planning for repairs and capital improvements, hiring contractors, record keeping.
  11. Co-op Elections Do you have clear procedures for electing your board of directors? There are state laws that can affect co-op elections. This workshop will orient the board to basic election procedures. BACLT can provide training to conduct elections, or provide an experienced Election Inspector to perform the services.
  12. Managing the Manager/Management Company Most co-ops with more than 25 units have some paid staff. This can be done by hiring an individual to serve as manager or hiring a management company. It is important to have a clear process for selecting the manager and a clear set of duties for both the manager and the board. We will help the board determine the role they play and the tools they need to guide the manager.
  13. Co-op Community Assessment – Co-ops can experience a diverse set of challenges. Members may express dissatisfaction with actions of the board, or a general sense that things are not working. This can discourage members from serving on the board and reduce overall member participation. A Community Assessment can be conducted to assess ways to address these concerns. Members are invited to attend a session where they can express their concerns and hear those of other members. From these sessions, a careful analysis is done and a detailed report of the findings issued, with proposals which may include actions the board can take, specific changes in operating procedures and workshops and trainings for the board and the membership.
  14. Workshops and Technical Assistance are offered on a sliding scale basis.