These notes have been written for people looking to apply for housing with Argyle Street Housing (ASH) Co-op and will hopefully explain some of the principles, ideas and structures of the Co-op. Please read these notes before you fill in your application form.
What is ASH Co-op?
Argyle Street Housing Co-op opened in 1981 and consists of a mixture of shared houses for single people and one-bedroom flats (usually allocated to single parents). The houses have shared kitchens, living rooms and bathrooms and the whole co-op shares the gardens, an office and a meeting room.
Houses and Flats
The co-op currently manages 22 properties, which includes shared houses (providing accommodation for 4, 6, and 10 people and a small number of self-contained, one-bedroomed flats (8 at present). The application process is different for flat applicants and anyone seeking to apply for a flat in the co-op should carefully read the eligibility criteria.
Location, location, location
Our properties are sited on three streets (Argyle Street, Fletcher’s Terrace and Swann’s Terrace) near the railway station in Cambridge. Various gardens and trees, which are maintained by the members, surround all properties. Each street and each house has its own character and personality and it is important that applicants are aware that this will normally be a factor when it comes to filling vacancies.
Finding a room in the co-op
The people who live in each house are responsible for interviewing and selecting prospective housemates, to ensure that they maintain a balance in their house where each member feels comfortable with one another and gets along (at least most of the time!). It’s important to make sure that you know what you want from a house too, as you have to be happy where you live and with the people you live with. Each house interview has to be a two-way process – the house members will ask you questions but feel free to ask a few yourself.
Who are you?
It takes a certain sort of person to live in a co-op. Being happy to share with others is not enough – as with other co-ops we insist on a level of participation and responsibility that is far higher than that expected in other forms of housing. Applicants should be aware that a lot will be expected and requested of them once they join the Co-op. If this does not appeal to you please do not apply.
We all have to try to get along and this is especially true within shared housing. Living and sharing with others can be difficult if people do not understand that this means having a reasonable level of open-mindedness and tolerance towards others. The Co-op operates an Equal Opportunities Policy and at their primary interview all applicants are expected to show that they possess a good understanding and commitment toward equal opportunities.
Getting involved in the Co-op
Each member of The Co-op is guaranteed an equal say in the running of The Co-op, via our monthly General Meetings, which all members can attend and indeed required to attend as part of their tenancy agreement. The meetings allow members to discuss and vote on issues arise, elect and hear back from Committee representatives, find out the latest news and generally catch up with each other. These meetings operate by a conduct policy. On the whole they are friendly, social affairs and offer a great opportunity to become actively involved in the running and management of your community.
Under the terms of their tenancy, all members are required to attend at least three General Meetings a year and be actively involved in the running of The Co-op. Given that most housing associations do not provide tenants with any say in the running of their housing, we feel that this represents a small effort on the part of each member to ensure that The Co-op continues to thrive as it has for the past 20 years. Members can also join the Management Committee and/or various Working Groups which manage the day-to-day business of The Co-op.
Rules and Policies
The Co-op has various rules and policies that members are required to abide by. All rules and policies are defined and decided by members in general meeting.