Earth Co-op (Earth Common Equity Housing Co-operative Ltd.) began in 1986, acquiring our first home in 1989 and building up to eleven households around eight years after starting. We found that starting a CERC (Common Equity Rental Housing Co-operative) was not an easy or quick fix to get into secure housing!
In the first 25 years there was very little changeover in our membership. Whilst still affected by life’s other requirements and circumstances, this model has provided stable secure housing for our members. In the beginning we had to find the houses and fit our purchase requests within strict budgets and other constraints. It took a long time and a lot of work but we learnt lots of practical skills that benefit us today.
Today we are a mature, stable and successful co-operative and it has taken a lot of work to be so. We deliberately chose a slow growth approach as most of us were, and still are, very engaged in other demanding walks of life. Also, we had for years always wanted to maintain that lovely presence of being able to meet around a dining table or in a lounge room.
Earth Co-op members have been around and involved serving many roles in the big picture development of the Common Equity Housing Ltd (CEHL) program and are still involved with leadership. Members of Earth Co-op have always been active with CEHL, with two members being Chair of the Board in the past. This is largely an extra voluntary job and has huge demands.
Various members have also been involved in the broader front, reinvigorating the sustainable communities and cohousing movement in Victoria and nationally through the Sustainable Living Foundation (SLF) since 2003.
Earth Co-op reviewed how we could best address the changing pressures on low-income families such as environmental urgency, the huge shortage of housing and spiraling rents.
The time had also come for us to address the ageing nature of our co-op membership and sharing of the tasks that make our co-op successful. We came up with cohousing as the best way forward. Our decision was based on experience, research and our international study tours which verify its enormous success. We took the cohousing idea to CEHL, who have supported it as a demonstration and innovative leadership housing option. This process led to the development of Murundaka Cohousing Community in Heidelberg Heights.
Earth Co-op significant dates
1984 Coop program kicks off
1986 Earth Co-op's first meeting
1987 CEHL is established
1989 First house at Cook St
1990 42 Bamfield Rd purchased
1994 Eleventh house purchased
2005 Earth Co-op Approaches CEHL about cohousing project
2009 Family vacates property for cohousing project
2010 Cohousing build begins
2011 First residents onsite at Murundaka Cohousing Community