In 1974, a group of non-profit housing co-operatives set up a small organization to promote the development of new co-ops and to provide the education and assistance needed by the growing co-operative housing sector.
Today, the Co-operative Housing Federation of Toronto (CHFT) is a member-supported organization representing more than 50,000 people living in more than 175 non-profit housing co-operatives located in Durham, Toronto and York Region.
The growth of co-op housing created a huge demand for information, education and services. In 1975, CHFT published the first manual for co-op housing directors. By 1990, CHFT and the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada had set up the Co-op Housing Bookstore as a joint project. Since then, the Bookstore has produced 32 “plain language” publications on co-op management and community issues.
CHFT also provides education for co-op members and staff. Each year, CHFT offers education events in Toronto and Durham. These events bring co-op members from across our membership area together for a day of workshops and networking. As well, we offer portable workshops to cover topics such as What Makes a Good Board?, Chairing Skills and Financial Management.
Member co-ops can participate in Co-op Cost Cutters, a bulk-buying program. Co-ops receive discounts on energy saving appliances, paint, office equipment, natural gas and more. In 1996, CHFT introduced the Co-op Housing Investment Program (CHIP). Alterna Savings gives CHFT member co-ops higher interest rates on current accounts and term deposits.
CHFT staff is available to advise co-op boards, committees, members, and staff. Co-ops that belong to CHFT can request neutral chairs for difficult meetings and mediation services to resolve disputes between neighbours. CHFT also helps co-ops deal with government policy issues.
CHFT is a non-profit co-operative financed by membership fees from housing co-operatives. Each member co-op appoints a delegate to attend CHFT general members’ meetings. These delegates elect CHFT’s Board of Directors.