PARISH– Mas Coop, residents’ cooperative in Southwest France is paving the way for a new model of affordable housing that bridges the gap between ownership and rent for low and middle-income households, while also addressing environmental and social concerns.
The cooperative located in the village of Beaumont-sur-Lèze, consists of 11 eco-homes and a communal building and garden. It is home to 29 residents, aged one to 74, who manage the scheme and share core values of non-speculation, solidarity, environmental awareness, and social and inter-generational diversity.
The cooperative paid for the land and construction with a € 2.07 million [US$ 2.2 million] state– subsidised social rental loan. The cooperative retains ownership of the land and buildings. To live there, residents must buy shares in Mas Coop and pay a monthly fee to cover the repayment of the communal loan and other expenses.
Shares are not indexed to real estate value and do not generate any capital gain. When a member leaves, Mas Coop returns their initial contribution, which is then paid back into the cooperative by the newcomers, ensuring the scheme remains affordable in perpetuity.
Mas Coop is active in several networks and welcomes visitors to promote the residents’ cooperative model as a solution to France’s housing affordability crisis and climate change. This innovative scheme is already inspiring other rural communities to follow its lead.
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