East Bay Permanent Real Estate Cooperative

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By Zack Haber:

"The East Bay Permanent Real Estate Cooperative (EB PREC) is working to keep Black, indigenous, people of color and allied communities in the East Bay by communally purchasing and sustaining land and housing with local residents.

“The critical part of our project is that we take land and housing permanently off the speculative market,” said EB PREC’s Executive Director and third-generation West Oakland resident Noni Session. She, along with six other local residents, form the Black led and POC majority staff of EB PREC, and the growing cooperative currently has more than 125 other non-staff members including resident owners and investors.

In an interview with The Oakland Post, Session explained how EB PREC is replacing landlords with resident owners and investors who are driven by the desire to sustain the community as opposed to make money.

California residents can invest up to $1,000 in EB PREC’s collective fund and receive 1.5 percent in annual dividends, a rate similar to what many banks offer. After five years, investors can choose to sell their share, which allows them to get their invested money back plus any outstanding dividends. Local investors who own a share of the collective also can attend EB PREC events and vote on major cooperative decisions.

“If 100 of us can join together to create a pot of investment,” said Session, “that means…we don’t have to wait for organized capital, or follow the very poor advice of commercial developers, or wait for charity-based subsidies from our city in order to change our outcomes.”

In June 2019, EB PREC collaborated with the Northern California Land Trust (NCLT) and residents of a four-unit building in North Oakland called Coop 789 to purchase the building from their former landlord.

The residents now no longer pay rent but instead pay monthly lease shares. The lease share money goes towards the cost of the project, minimal property management fees, an emergency repair fund, and equity that goes into residents’ capital account that they can cash out if they want to move and sell their share back to the coop.

EB PREC’s mission is to keep these housing costs permanently affordable. The coop doesn’t allow the residents to ever sell the property, leaving it as a community resource as opposed to a commodity to be sold for profit." (https://postnewsgroup.com/2019/09/19/eb-precs-plan-to-replace-landlords-with-communal-ownership/)