Associate Memberships and Community Partnerships

As of its most recent meeting, the HAUS Project board has drafted, edited, and voted into effect a new standard policy for establishing associate membership and community partnership criteria and privileges. Anyone in the broader community who wishes to support and be part of HAUS without actually living at one of the co-op residences may apply to become an associate member or community partner. There is a limit on the number of associate members for each of the HAUS houses, but no limit on community partners.

You can find more information on the HAUS Project membership page. Below is the policy in its entirety, as currently written (with light editing) and subject to change. Notations and clarifications appear in parentheses.

i. Associate Members: Non-Resident Members who generally enjoy all of the benefits of Resident Members excluding a room.

1. Benefits include: a vote in the house they are a member of, participation and a vote at the Annual General Meeting, 24-hour access to all common spaces and amenities including kitchen at all times, access to laundry facilities, internet, eligibility for becoming an At Large Director, membership to NASCO (North American Students of Cooperation, the continent-wide association for housing and business cooperatives).

2. Costs: One time $50 Membership fee + $100 per month + an average of 1 hour of labor per week to be determined with their house’s labor czar.

3. Requirements: must have other residence and complete the normal resident membership application process.

4. Associate Members will be limited to ⅓ of the total membership rounded down of current Resident Membership of any house (i.e., 5 for uRth HAUS, 3 for Rosalie HAUS).

ii. Community Partners: Generally individuals who wish to participate in the HAUS Project community in a greater capacity and/or wish to be considered for service as a Community Board Representative.

1. Benefits include Sunday Dinners, participation in the Annual General Meeting, eligibility for Community Board Membership, HAUS Project Google Group.

2. Costs: $35 per year.

3. Requirements: cannot be current resident of HAUS Project.

While it has not yet been codified, there is also a plan in the works to ensure that associate members get first priority in filling residential vacancies when they arise.

The $50 annual fee for associate members mostly covers membership in NASCO. The $100 monthly fee covers the expected use of food and utilities, and works out to less than the $7 daily fee for long-term guests that uRth HAUS charges.

The main reasons for the limits placed on associate memberships are 1) preventing a block of associate members from outvoting resident members or derailing consensus at business meetings, and 2) preventing absurdly long queues for the one washing machine or dryer at each location.

Community partners do not receive all the privileges of membership, mostly for legal reasons. There is currently no limit on the number of community partners, but no matter how many there may be, there is a limit on their representation at board meetings (though I’m not sure at the moment what that limit is—one per house, I believe). As currently configured, the board has seats for two community representatives.

At $35 per year, the cost of community partnership is an incredible deal: about fifty Sunday dinners for the price of seven, given that we request a $5 donation or a potluck contribution of food. Also, the Annual General Meeting is a day-long seminar worth several times that annual fee. The AGM combines HAUS Project business and “visioning” for the coming year with informative and entertaining workshops on all things co-op.

As of now, there is no separate application for either of these positions, but the process is essentially the same for associate members as for resident members: Complete the online application, come to two or more house functions (dinners or business meetings), and pay the annual fee along with the first month’s membership as a deposit ($150). The first applicants to meet all of these criteria will be the first considered for associate membership. Members then have 48 hours to raise blocking objections to applications based on known malfeasance or insoluble personality conflicts.