Like so many other small towns in this region, Meadville is struggling to meet the needs of its residents when it comes to quality affordable housing. There is just not enough money flowing in our little city. 25% of properties are blighted. Many low-income residents live in unsafe conditions. Recent studies have shown that a majority of low-income Meadville residents are working full time and still can’t make ends meet.
That’s why Common Roots is pioneering a new approach to affordable housing. We acquire properties in struggling neighborhoods, rehabilitate them with help from our volunteers and support from our community, and operate them as cooperative housing.
Cooperative housing means that residents of Common Roots homes cooperate to care for and govern the property where they live with support from Common Roots. In exchange for taking on these responsibilities, residents build wealth, as well as leadership, financial literacy, home maintenance know-how, and more.
Here’s how it works: Residents of Common Roots homes are members of the cooperative. As members, they are more akin to owners than tenants of the property. Instead of paying rent, residents pay monthly fees to Common Roots. Part of the monthly fee goes towards sustainably maintaining the property, while the other part of the monthly fee is the residents’ investment.
Our cooperative housing approach is empowering for residents and efficient for donors and investors. Cooperative housing gives residents a voice and housing security, while creating wealth directly for the people and neighborhoods who need it most, not outside developers and/or owners.