Canberra Student Housing Co-operative provides affordable and secure housing to Canberra students, self-managing a unique living environment that lives and breathes community, sustainability and member empowerment. We seek to create a home away from home where residents share responsibility and can learn from and support one another.
The Co-op is an incorporated entity registered under the Co-operatives Act 2002 (ACT). As a co-operative, we are governed directly by our members and supported by a board of directors. Membership is open to residents and non-residents alike.
Initial meetings of the co-operative took place in late 2009, inspired by members’ experiences at the famed Berkeley Housing Co-operative. We felt that this exciting and innovative model for living would be perfect for a city struck by widespread student housing shortages and inflexible and expensive rental markets. We committed a lot of time to meeting with relevant people and organisations, with hopes of developing a solid understanding of the housing market and funding opportunities in the ACT. The co-operative visited STUCCO to learn about what has made that co-operative so successful, and met with the STUCCO’s original architects to speak about design principles.
In 2011 the first group of students moved into Unit 13 of Havelock House, and were soon joined by seven more students in Unit 5. Over the next year and a half the Co-op acquired three additional units in Havelock House, bringing our total number of residents to 29.
We are committed to further expansion, and are constantly in consultation with government and other not-for-profit organisations in search of new opportunities. Our co-operative is capable of delivering an array of significant benefits to residents, university communities in the ACT, and the Canberra community at large.
At the co-op we aim to create an inclusive and safe environment where we value each other’s differences and embrace diversity. We believe that diversity makes our community stronger and more vibrant, and helps us all to grow as individuals as we learn from others’ different experiences and perspectives. At the co-op we all play a role in trying to make sure the co-op is a Safer Space. This means that we are aiming towards creating an inclusive environment where everyone feels comfortable to express their individual identities, without being made to feel unwelcome because of their sex, gender identity, race, cultural background, age, sexuality, sexual practices, religion, or physical or mental ability. We welcome discussions on controversial topics that are conducted in a respectful way where we are mindful of people’s different experiences and identities and are respectful of people’s choices not to engage in discussions of certain topics.The co-op has a zero-tolerance policy towards discrimination, harassment and bullying.