• The Housing-Health Connection
  • Volume 20, Number 2
  • Managing Editor: Mark D. Shroder
  • Associate Editor: Michelle P. Matuga
 

Creating Permanent Housing Affordability: Lessons From German Cooperative Housing Models

Kathryn Reynolds
Urban Institute


The United States and Germany, as major economic and world powers and, respectively, the first and second largest destination for immigrants worldwide, are each faced with their own unique challenges in creating economic opportunity for their most vulnerable residents. Moreover, in both Germany and the United States, the location, quality, and quantity of affordable housing is one of the most significant factors in creating greater equality of opportunity (Katz, Noring, and Garrelts, 2016). This article explores Germany’s use of cooperative housing as a platform for long-term affordable housing and better economic outcomes for low- and moderate-income persons. In the United States, shared equity housing models, which typically take the form of community land trusts and cooperative housing, have become increasingly popular in the past few years, in part, as a local response to increases in inequality. Germany has a robust market for cooperative housing with around 2,000 cooperative projects offering approximately 2.2 million units (Bundesministerium, 2017). Lessons from Germany’s experience with cooperative housing can inform recent efforts in the United States.


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