Canary Co-op Documents and Timeline

Timeline

The concept for the Coop was born out of the experience our founder has had hosting homeless people with MCS at her house near Syracuse, NY. The lack of options for these homeless people, as well as her own desire for a place to live out her elderly years in community, but with independence also, prompted our founder to form the group and search long and hard for a suitable housing site. We have finally found one! Bravo!

2014 We came together as a focus group and began to learn and explore programs and possiblites. We zeroed in on the cooperative model and found our mentor, Andy Richer of UHAB.

We found a nice 3 unit site in Tully, NY, but the sale fell through. We continue to look for an affordable site.

Jan 1st. 2015 We received our 501c status. We continued exploring funding solutions and asked the county housing authority to provide home ownership vouchers to disabled people on Section 8.

March 2016  Launched our website.

May 2016 – We found a HUD house on Otisco Lake with two units that could be quickly developed, and two more that could be developed later.  We had acquisition money but no renovation money to change the one family into a two family.  We checked again with agencies and grants and donors, but we didn’t have much response and the most promising grant is temporarily inactive until the fall.
June 2016 – Two Environmentally Ill women in our circle came to us with small single family houses they needed help with. The Board voted to shift focus from multiple family to the smaller houses because they were smaller projects and we could use the resources we had in hand to help the people already committed to a site. We like this bottom up approach.  This change of focus gets something going immediately and helps build the “track record”. We have a $30,000 interest free loan from an individual, plus an individual’s good credit for an additional loan. That is enough to get the first sale going.   
December 2016 – After the purchase of a single family house fell through in the fall, we found our first housing site, about 15 miles southeast of Syracuse, NY. With the interest free loan from one of our board members increased to $50,000, we were able to purchase this site with cash. The closing occurred the day before Christmas Eve. Happy Holidays! We will need to refinance with a bank mortgage to fund the necessary renovations to make this site inhabitable.
January 2017Happy New Year! We are getting ready to launch fundraising efforts for our new site, and working on measuring, designs, and a business plan to apply for financing.
February 2017 Clean up and removal of old wiring and heating systems is moving along, but slowly. We could use more volunteers and we really appreciate the volunteers we have working on the project. We continue to work on designs for systems and infrastructure. Basic floor plans for the site have been drafted by our volunteer architect.
June 2017 Basic cleaning of basement and floor beams completed.
September 2017 Title of our first site was (finally) transferred to the Cooperative, putting us in the second phase of development — applying for financing and preparing the site for occupancy.

Documents

Canary Cooperative Case Statement A thorough explanation of the need for affordable MCS housing.

Canary Cooperative Values and Principles (3 page pdf)

Clearing Process for New Coop Members and Process for Creating a New Site   (2 page pdf)

Member Rights and Responsibilities (2 page pdf)

Why a Cooperative? Eleven reasons why MCS people need housing cooperatives.    (2 page pdf)

Follow the Money A four page explanation of why we need financial help to create affordable MCS housing, and how the Canary Coop would purchase a site and sell shares to members.

Our mission is to create and coordinate housing co-ops in New York State dedicated to the restricted lifestyle required by chemically sensitive and electrically sensitive people.