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On 29 Dec 2017, at 14:04, Peter Richardson wrote:
Dear full member,
We’ve said that when you become a member you get allocated a house but haven’t specified exactly which one. We’ve also linked signing the pre-sales agreement with allocation of an actual house. But before we get to the point of prioritising, it might work if we all just say what we want. If not, then we’ll have to invoke our (maybe slightly unformed) procedures.
So which plot do you actually want?
Allocations so far
Please note that we originally managed to get some of the door numbers in the wrong order – so if you’re in a duplex or a 1-bed flat, the number showing in the table below may be 1 more or less than what you agreed with Pete.
The problem arose because (as Maja pointed out) some of the blocks are mirror images of the one next door, so sometimes the door to the ground floor flat is on the left and sometimes it’s on the right.
I think we’ve now got the order right – and you should still be in the apropriate size unit in the block that you agreed. If not, tell Bill asap!
|Door No.||House type||Schedule||Allocated to|
|27||2-bed over CH||27||Ryan|
|28||2-bed over CH||28||Armitage|
|29||2-bed over CH||29||Leung|
28/5/15 (or 26?)
I’ve been asked to gather together (a) a list of “holes” in our processes and policies relating to allocations and (b) relevant resources and decisions. Bill
I’ll add things to this document as I find them, so it’s another work in progress. Worth checking back here from time to time while our discussions are ongoing.
Probably best to keep comments in one place, back on the main page.
The nine items listed back on the main page represent “holes” (unanswered questions) in our current process. But are there more?
The recent email thread on “number of beds per household” highlighted a few more:
10. Are full members guaranteed their first preference?
11. Do we give priority to full members if their circumstances change?
12. Do existing residents who want to move take priority over people on the waitng list?
13. When a child reaches 18, but doesn’t want to become a full member (or ChaCo really doesn’t think they’re ready to take on the responsibilities of full membership), what’s their status? From Minutes 13.9.17:
-Do children in households who are turning 18 and partners joining households need to become members? Yes we would expect this, but if there is a difficulty it could be referred to Needs and Wants who will look at the specific situation. But are members individuals or households? This isn’t currently clear and should be clarified.
Action: Welcome and Membership to look at this in more detail.
14. There are lots of loose ends and inconsistencies in our Membership Policy – which I’ve annotated here.
15. Question from Minutes 13.9.17 – does Chaco allow people to run businesses from their home?
Not in any particular order, but numbered for ease of reference.
- The Financial Model that Nikolai and Maeve use is here.
- There’s also an earlier attempt to summarise things in this Allocations Procedure document (with flow chart).
- The original ethnicity proposal is here. The meeting changed the LGBT+ target to 15%, like most of the others.
- Someone asked me recently if there were any spaces left and I thought this was a prime candidate for one of our FAQs. Here’s my first attempt at an answer. We’ve always said that PMs should have up to date info on the allocations situation. Would this sort of thing help? This is a dumb (manually produced) version, but could be very easily linked to the database to keep it up to date.
- Maeve’s Prospective Member Involvement Form
- The Households Table – which gathers all the allocations data into one place and allows easy exploration of different scenarios. Keeps track of the scores mentioned in the Allocations Procedure.
Most of the early decisions we made are summarised in our Membership Policy.
1. Membership- to become a full member need to resubmit form, be committed to ethos, give funding ( can be different ways of paying) and are guaranteed a place, if it goes ahead. It’s helpful to have a 6 month review, is it working for you and members? Agree roles and any specific needs.
• Unanimous Decision: to accept Hannah and Burj into full membership (even though we recognise that we haven’t got all the systems in place. Full members have also been asked.
• Our full members policy is written for when we are at the stage of having land and housing complete. We are not at this stage so some of it doesn’t make sense (e.g. committing to buying when the design and price have not been finalised).
• We therefore need a “as we are now” version of how to join.
• Would include phrase about “formal commitment” and would involve becoming a legal member of the cooperative
• Would include expectation of commitment and support with time/finance where appropriate
• Would include contribution to task group
• Would give a “first refusal option” on houses.
• Agreed that members contribution should be expected to be by standing order with the option of a lump sum, rather than the other way around.
• Action: Pete to draft an ‘as of now’ version
o We will reserve a certain number of remaining units for young people/ people with children and people who increase our ethnic diversity. Membership group to work out what we need to reserve.
3. Membership and Unit Allocations procedures:
Because of the late time, we just introduced the question. Currently the ethnic mix of all members, PMs and interested people by household is 60% white, 17% African-Caribbean, 23% other BME (households in which one member is BME are counted as BME).
Questions we need to consider for a later meeting:
1. are we happy with what we are currently doing which has resulted in the current ethnic mix?
2. should we be doing something else?
Three options (at least) to consider in a later meeting for deciding how units get allocated/reserved now that there are more PMs and people wanting to become PMs than unallocated units available:
1. First-in first-served: accepting more PMs than unallocated units, whoever gets to FM first gets the units;
2. Selective / competitive: accepting more PMs than unallocated units, then allocating according to as yet unspecified criteria;
3. A waiting list or pool. PM applications are considered only if there are appropriate units available.
NB: Not quorate!
b. Future allocation priorities. Kate mentioned that although starting in the shared house she may well want to move into a flat at a later stage. We discussed this and felt it was right that people in the shared house generally have priority if other units become available. We need to make sure people on the waiting list know this. We probably need to talk about this as a larger group.
c. We noted that we do not have enough units available for all the prospective members and people interested in joining. In particular we have too many people wanting 2-bed units. We felt that we should not be taking on perspective members if there are not units available for them and we need to be clear with people about waiting lists. We noted that there may be considerations we want to take into account when putting people forward for prospective members, particularly around diversity and connection to Chapeltown. Action: Yael and Bill to look carefully at the current list to see where we are up to.
a. There are a disproportionate number of white people as full and prospective members of Chaco. Diversity is one our 6 guiding principles and we are wanting to ensure ChaCo is reflective of the population of Chapeltown. There is an idea for discussion about setting an aim regarding ethnicity in a similar way to how we have an aim regarding variety of ages. We have also talked about the need to be clearer on what being a prospective member means and how the procedure for allocating units should work.
Given the current situation should we therefore do one of the following?
– Put a hold on new applications from white people until we have decided our aim
– Put a hold on all new applications until we have decided our aim
Pete had prepared a barchart showing ethnic representation within our current Full and Prospective Member households:
– White: 17 (households with at least one person in this category)
– African-Caribbean: 1
– Asian: 2
– Other: 1
By contrast, in the immediate vicinity of ChaCo, just 16% of the population is white.
An occasionally heated discussion followed, cut short because there was insufficient time to be able to reach a decision about putting new applications on hold. Straw polls indicated no clear preference for action. However, there seemed to be general agreement that ChaCo should act as soon as possible to increase the proportion of ethnic minority households. Also that we need to be very clear with PMs that availability of spaces will be affected by our various allocation targets. No guarantee that there will be a place.
We ran out of time to consider the current batch of membership applications, so these are effectively on hold at least until the next meeting.
Action: next agenda has to have ethnic mix and allocations procedure as an early item. If we reach a consensus on these issues, we can then consider membership applications. Otherwise, we will first need to resolve the issue about putting applications on hold. Bill already written discussion documents and draft proposals that will be circulated well before the next meeting. Everyone please email any comments to the group and, if possible, get together and discuss with others before the next meeting.
3. Membership – based on two attached documents (ethnicity and allocations procedure)
1. That we amend the Allocations Policy (using the four broad ethnic groups: “African-Caribbean”, “Asian”, “Other BME”, and “White”) as follows:
We will aim to have:
• 15% (minimum) of households with at least one member from the “African-Caribbean” group
• 15% (minimum) of households with at least one member from the “Asian” group
• 15% (minimum) of households with at least one member from the “Other BME” group
• 15% (minimum) of households with at least one member from the “White” group.
• For the other 40% we do not take ethnicity into account.
Decision: The above mix was agreed. However, we would hope that we would not end up with one group being dominant (55%!). We would also hope to increase these percentage targets in the future.
2. That we amend the Allocations Policy to include a specific target for the LGBT+ group:
Decision: 15% (minimum) of households will have at least one member from the “LGTB+” group.
(FLOWCHART FROM ALLOCATIONS POLICY HERE)
Decision: We would not accept a full member if by accepting them it would make it impossible to realistically meet one of our targets.
Note: We need to come back to allocations policy to explain it a bit more so it is clear; the fundamentals are all right though.
. Welcome and Membership
o Prospective Membership applications, updated the form to include agreed allocations. Also created a survey to be sent to existing members, so we have the relevant information.
There is a rough guide to buddying in Dropbox.
Proposal: have a timeline for processing, and process a batch at a time. Prioritise according to the batch. Pete offered to help Yael with this.
New prospective members. Need to be clear that PM doesn’t guarantee a place. Only take on slightly more people than we have places for. Some people might become PM and then decide they don’t want to be involved, or things change in their lives.
a. AGREED that for prospective member applications
1. Should not need a full discussion about whether or not to accept as the idea is that there is a 6 month (or 4 month) period to get to know them. Welcome and Membership can make recommendation then we could read out applications for all members to decide.
2. We will have to make sure we are not overwhelmed by taking on too many
3. Take prospective members applications in batches every 3 months.
b. Full member applications (proposal for discussion / decision)
1. Agreed – to take applications in batches every 3 months starting in January if possible.
2. Agreed – if the applicant has not been involved with ChaCo then their application will be postponed to the next intake. This will have to be a judgement of the full members. Would expect them to have been involved with the following (or to have negotiated an individual involvement plan with Needs and Wants):
i. members meetings
ii. task groups
iii. shared meals
iv. other activities (socials/workshops/meeting up with buddy and other ChaCo members)
v. and to have read the consensus decision making information
vi. and to have paid their prospective membership fee
3. Agreed – That 4 months will be the new expected minimum length of involvement
4. Discussed – prioritisation.
• Reminded ourselves that membership criterion includes commitment to core principles and that targets are aspirational and at some point we will have to put them aside if necessary in order to complete the build.
• Discussed how new members need to be people who are “co-operative” and communal.
• Lilac have saying “good enough for now, safe enough to try”
• Felt that the general approach to prioritisation seemed right but wanted some clear examples of how it would work in practice (or a clear flow chart).
• Discussed if we can take new member now or have to wait until this is sorted.
• Agreed – to produce clear examples and bring to the next meeting.
• Agreed – that full-members could take on new members now if it was “obvious” that the new member helped us reach our unmet targets and didn’t block.
5. Discussed – how do we make sure that taking on new members does not prevent us from reasonably being able to reach our overall allocations targets. Suggested that there may be times when full-members have to use their judgement as this might not be possible to do “scientifically.”
Yael and Pete have been looking at figures and processes for taking on PMs and FMs. This is a complex issue. Bill said that there are still enough places to cater for all likely PMs and FMs but that the quotas will need to be satisfied. ChaCo aims to be transparent in its membership and to let people know re likelihood of places. Sadie wondered if we could get programming help to assist with the complexity of allocation of places.
Issues re membership: Jenny pointed out that we need to focus on building a community of ChaCo members. Bill said this needs as much attention as the building of the houses.
Yael wondered if we need to postpone acceptance of FMs until October.
Decisions: We decided that postponing take-up of FMs until April would help equalise the quotas.
We could review this in April.
8. Proposal about membership applications.
We agreed to hold back considering new PMs unless they help us achieve our
ethnicity targets. Situation to be reviewed after the next set of Full Members
have been decided (April/May).
3. Prospective members left. Full members agreed to adopt Option 2 (see below) as our new financial model, with these amendments:
a) Full members who cannot afford the new full rent should be referred to the Needs and Wants group (this probably only affects 1 household). We don’t want rents to rise above LHA level, so any subsidy would need to be via the income-related Common House Charge.
b) We hold Option 1 (existing) as an ambition. Once we have the prices from the contractors, we will aim aim to reduce rents to original “Affordable” levels by cutting costs where possible, consistent with our values.
c) We will have individual conversations with prospective members to assess the impact of Option 2, but are unable to offer any subsidy.
d) We will now offer the units left as in Option 2, (keeping our membership process) and start a waiting list for any prospective households we are unable to accommodate.
Option 2 – Increasing rents to afford £5,000,000 development costs
• Rents increase by 25% subject to cap at LHA, which means they could be fully paid by housing benefit
• Allocations work the same as Option 1 – so again we can probably accommodate all current full and prospective members as long as they can afford the increased rent.
• Use increased rents to fund additional borrowing – feasible but more expensive.
8. Welcome and Membership
8.1 Report – there was no time to present this.
8.2 Recruitment Strategy
Yael and Maeve presented the proposal to either shorten the prospective membership approval from 4 to 2 months or to extend the current October deadline for allocations to be confirmed. Concerns raised that 2 months would be too short. Suggestion that we could provide more opportunities to get to know each other over less time. Rather than time, membership could rely on number of interactions, attendance at consensus training, members meetings, task group.
Decision made to extend the deadline for allocations and continue with 4 months but with a sense of urgency and clarity about what people must do before they can become prospective members. 22nd July – social for new members, current members should come along to meet people.
Yael and Maeve proposed that until we become financially viable we prioritise buyers of a higher percentage before other allocations targets. Active consent.
Proposal: Give all full members access to the households table on the member’s area of the ChaCo website.
• Table with tick boxes allows full members to see to what extent we meet our financial and diversity targets depending on which households are part of Chaco. Also, a useful record of who is a member/prospective members and their details. Useful for buddies who want to let their buddees know information about what is available. NB: No permanent changes are made when households are selected or deselected via the tick boxes. This is simply a tool to explore how different households help us meet all the different constraints.
• Pointed out that if all members are to have access to it, it should be ensured that it is accessible to everyone and that they can easily use it.
• No objections, no reservations, no stand asides.
• Bill and Riley able to support other members to use table. Please contact them for assistance. Mary K suggested she may need assistance, Bill to help.
8.1 Making our recruitment and allocations process as fair as we can
We agreed that
1. The Welcome and Membership Group should alert the Full Members about who is next eligible to apply for Full Membership. If any members have concerns or reservations about the application, they should express these to the Welcome and Membership Group & Buddy before the meeting at which the application is considered. If necessary, the applicant will be forewarned that there are concerns.
2. When considering a Full Membership application, the question to be answered is
‘How shall we respond to this application?’
(This gives more flexibility in our response than a simple In or Out answer.)
Although not formally adopted, the following suggestions were made
– It is the responsibility of Full Members to get to know Prospective Members.
– Primarily, we are looking for members who are enthusiastic about working out our core values. Because these are open to a breadth of interpretation, we also take into account gut feelings of existing Full Members.
– We need to be able to say NO when required.
– We need to balance carefully the needs of the group with the needs of an individual, as part of future-proofing ChaCo.
5. Prospective Member applications.
There can be reasons to say no if people have expectations that can’t be met (eg they need a 4 bed house and we already have a waiting list for 4 beds) Also we need to balance renting/ buying and diversity targets. A question was raised about whether Chaco’s long term goal is to increase, reduce or keep the same the level of rented properties. If there is a clear position then this needs to be clear to new prospective members.
Question from Riley: Are there enough full members to provide buddies for prospective applicants? Maybe this should inform how open we are to accepting applications for prospective membership from people who are unlikely to end up living in ChaCo.
Bill: If possible it would be preferable to treat this batch of prospective applicants the same as previous applicants, and not start creating new rules.
The group seems to agree with the suggestion, although the point was made repeatedly to ensure to make this clear to the prospective members.
We need to revisit the question of what to do with people who apply for properties that aren’t available. This will be revisited later on in this meeting.
6. Allocations process
These notes were available at the meeting but not sent out beforehand:
Introduction to Item 6: Allocations process
In a few months’ time we’ll need to know that we’ll have enough money to start the build. We’ll need to know that we’re going to get at least £1.6m from sales to shared owners. But the only people who can sign the legally binding commitments we need are Full Members (FMs) – not Prospective Members (PMs).
However, not all PMs make it through to become FMs. Some decide that ChaCo is not for them, some realise they can’t afford the rent or raise enough capital, some just don’t get involved, and some don’t manage to persuade the FMs that they’d cope well with community life.
That’s why we’ve been accepting more PMs than we’ve got spaces for – knowing that a percentage won’t make it through. But this is awkward for all of us, building relationships with people who may or may not be our future neighbours. And it’s particularly problematic for PMs, who are expected to throw themselves into the life and work of ChaCo without knowing if there’ll be a place for them at the end of the process. (See table above.)
So how does a PM evaluate their chances of getting a place? There are so many factors to take into account, including:
• the current availability of their preferred type of accommodation
• ChaCo’s need to bring in enough capital to make the project viable (including paying for the construction of the fully rented units and common house)
• ChaCo’s allocation targets relating to: Chapeltown connection, age, income, (dis)ability, ethnicity, etc
• commitment to the project
• the current availability of car parking spaces
PMs need to know that there’s a fair (and transparent?) system for allocating their position in the queue for their preferred type of accommodation. In principle, it would be perfectly feasible to provide a page on the website where PMs could monitor their current position in the queue. However, first we would need to set up a working group to propose the precise set of rules to be coded. This would need people from the Welcome & Membership, Finance, and Process task groups, together with several PMs (as they are the ones most directly affected by this).
Pete suggested that we firm up and develop the allocations process.
Bill suggested that we put together a task group to finalise the work on the allocations process and look into filling in any holes, and making it crystal clear. Then it can be shared with prospective members and they will have a clearer idea of their chances to actually end up getting allocated a unit.
Task group can develop proposals that can be discussed in a meeting.
Example of a hole: a couple of meetings ago we decided that until we were financially viable we would prioritise prospective members who could bring in finance over other prospective members. We didn’t define what we meant by financially viable, what we mean by giving priority (ignore everything except finance?), or what kind of finance we meant (having the money in the bank?).
Bill recommended that prospective members get allocated order of priority according to how well they meet our stated requirements and for that to be made public on the website so that people know where they stand.
There was some concern that this would be difficult, and people might get their hopes up if they are high on the list but not end up getting a place. Criteria might also change in the future.
General support for clarifying the criteria and making them public, but not enough support for getting a number for place in the queue.
Alex pointed out that the points for attendance system might not be a precise process. Some members don’t feel comfortable with such a points system. Pete explained that we are just looking for a minimum level of involvement rather than keeping exact track of points and prioritising people who have come to more ChaCo meetings/socials etc.
Robin clarified that it’s the buddy’s responsibility to keep track of how involved prospective members are with ChaCo.
Bill wants to improve communications and make the process less stressful for prospective members.
General approval for making a task group to clarify membership prioritisation criteria.
Alex and Thomas expressed an interest to be involved with the task group.
Sorry! This has now moved to here.
There’s no quick answer to this question! Altogether we’re building 29 new homes plus the all-imporant common space. Some of the spaces have already been allocated to the Full Members of ChaCo. We also have a number of Prospective Members interested in the remaining spaces. It works like this…
If you think you’d like to live in this exciting new community-led housing development, you need to become a member of Chapeltown Cohousing Ltd – our housing cooperative. This applies to every adult living at ChaCo, and joining up usually takes at least 6 months: time for us to get to know each other and time for you to get stuck in to the life and work of the community.
ChaCo Prospective Members (PMs) are people who have said they’d like to spend time getting to know us in order to find out if ChaCo is for them. Applying for Prospective Membership is fairly easy, provided we think there’s a reasonable chance that there’ll be a suitable unit available when the time comes – but there’s no guarantee that this will be the case.
After 6 months of eating and chatting at social events, decision-making at Members’ Meetings, and working in small groups to help make ChaCo happen, a Prospective Member can then apply for Full Membership. If the existing ChaCo members feel the applicant would fit well in the community and be able to meet the necessary financial commitment, the PM then becomes an FM and is allocated one of the remaining units.
Inevitably, of course, some PMs decide that ChaCo is not for them – or maybe their circumstances change. So in order to make sure that we’ll have enough Full Member households by the time we need to start building, we take on a few more PMs than we have accommodation for, and hope that we end up with about the right number of households at the end of the process. It’s not an ideal solution, and we realise that the uncertainty for PMs can be challenging, to say the least.
Current availability of accommodation
The final column shows the number of currently unallocated spaces. Figures in red indicate oversubscribed units. FM = Full Member, PM = Prospective Member.
|Housing type||Quantity||Allocated to FMs||Wanted by PMs||Availability|
|1 room in shared house of 5||5||1||0||4|
|2-bed small duplex||3||3||0||0|
|2-bed large duplex||4||4||0||0|
|TOTALS||33 places||25 FM households||9 PM households|
There are a number of factors that might affect someone’s chances of getting a place, including:
- the current availability of their preferred type of accommodation
- ChaCo’s need to bring in enough capital to make the project viable (including paying for the construction of the fully rented units and common house)
- ChaCo’s allocation targets relating to: Chapeltown connection, age, income, (dis)ability, ethnicity, etc
- (for car owners) the current availability of car parking spaces
Emlyn and Chris recently signed up as Prospective Members of ChaCo. More >>