How does a co-op choose its members? Here are some of the things a co-op looks at when a unit comes available: Your position on the waiting list Your Income: Although people of any income may live in a co-op, the co-op has only so much subsidy money to help people with low incomes to pay their housing charges. If the co-op has not spent its subsidy money for the year, someone on a low income may be able to move in. If the co-op does not have subsidy available for that particular unit, it will need someone who can pay the full housing charge. Family Size: The co-op is supposed to use its space as efficiently as possible. Members should occupy units related to their family size. Guidelines recommended by Canada Mortgage and housing (CMHC) and by BC Housing include: - no more than two and no fewer than one person per bedroom. - spouses and couples share a bedroom. - parents do not share a bedroom with their children. - dependents aged 18 or over do not share a bedroom. - dependents of the opposite sex age 5 or over do not share a bedroom. Need: If your present housing is very hard for you to afford, if it's unsuitable, crowded, or unsafe, or if there is anything else you would like the co-op to take into consideration, let them know when you apply. Participation: The co-op also wants to know what you can do for them. Because the members as a group are responsible for running the co-op, the Membership Committee will be looking for people who are willing to help out. If you have skills the co-op can use, let them know. People without skills and people with disabilities can also contribute a lot to the co-op community. Internal waiting list: When a unit comes available, most co-ops give priority to people already living in the co-op who may have applied to move to a different unit, perhaps because their family size has changed. The interview: Most co-ops have a membership committee, which takes care of applications, interviews people who want to live in the co-op, and helps new members learn about the co-op. Usually, when a unit comes available, two or three members of the co-op's membership committee will interview several families. The people interviewing you live in the co-op and can answer many of your questions. Usually they want to interview all members of your family. Some co- ops like the family pets to come along too. If you're not sure whether to bring your pets, ask. Some co-ops will have the interview at the co-op; some will come to your home. Having an interview does not mean you will be able to move into the co-op. The interview is a chance for the co-op to choose the member who is most appropriate at that particular time. It is also a chance for you to learn more, and to be sure this co-op is really for you.