Membership in a Co-op offers a sense of community generally not found in regular apartment buildings. Since the Co-op is run by the Members, residents are able to actively participate in the decision-making. There is no landlord – we are it! We are all responsible for the way things operate.
The structure of the Co-op consists of a Board of Directors, various Committees, and the General Membership. The Board (elected annually) meets monthly to set the goals and objectives of the Co-op, as well as to make decisions based on policies approved by the General Membership. The Board also liaises with the various Committees.
These include the Membership, Finance, and Maintenance Committees, -just to name a few. Committees carry out the day-to-day, as well as the long-range tasks that enable the Co-op to operate. For example, the Membership Committee interviews prospective applicants, while the Maintenance Committee oversees general grounds, planter boxes, and lawn maintenance. Individual Members are expected to attend General Meetings, as well as regularly participate on the Committee of their choice. Additionally, Members are legally responsible for adhering to the terms of the Occupancy and the Participation Agreements signed before move-in.
On January 17, 1984, Vancouver City Council voted to lease city-owned land at 638 Alexander Street (near Oppenheimer Park) for 60 years to the DERA HOUSING CO-OPERATIVE.
The building started taking in occupants in February 1985. When the 60-year lease expires in 2044, the land lease will be renegotiated for another term.