MAHC Messenger Newsletter August-September 2020

by admin on September 1, 2020

To read more please follow the link below.

Celebrating 50 Years: A History of MAHC

by admin on July 16, 2020

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Housing cooperatives were becoming popular choices in the early 1960’s primarily as a result of FHA mortgage insurance programs. Michigan was rapidly expanding its housing base with the development of cooperatives under Section 213 of the National Housing Act. 

The Foundation for Cooperative Housing (FCH) was the recognized leader in the development of housing cooperatives in Michigan and by 1963 had a number of housing cooperatives in Michigan in various stages of development. A meeting was held at the Book Cadillac Hotel in Detroit to discuss forming an association of housing cooperatives. Members from 13 or 14 housing cooperatives attended the meeting. While many of the cooperatives had not yet reached final endorsement there were numerous concerns and unanswered questions regarding the future of the properties and their governance. 

It was decided that they would not establish a formal organization at that time, however they would begin publishing a newsletter. The newsletter contained articles regarding the operations of housing cooperatives, including many tips on the do’s and don’ts for Board Members. 

The Michigan Association of Housing Cooperatives was organized

Later that same year a second meeting was held at Cobo Hall in downtown Detroit and cooperative members expressed overwhelming support for a formal organization to represent the interests of housing cooperatives in Michigan. The Michigan Association of Housing Cooperatives was organized, modeling its dues and membership structure after those of the National Association of Housing Cooperatives.  

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The first board of directors was elected and represented a mix of cooperative members and FCH staff: 

C. March Miller II, President

James J. Tahash, Asst. to the President 

David Page, Asst. to the President

Dr. D. Samuel Harris, Vice President 

Maurice Shepherd, Secretary

Hon. Percival Piper, Treasurer 

Wendell Addington, Exec. Secretary 

The organizations first conference held at COBO Hall located in Detroit, Michigan had the following initial representative membership: 

Blackstone Cooperative, Chateaufort Place Cooperative, Colonial Townhouses Cooperative, Cooperative Services, Lafayette Park Cooperative, Pontiac Townhouses Cooperative, Royal Oak Townhouses Cooperative, Royalwood Cooperative, Williamsburg Townhouses Cooperative, Woodward Heights Cooperative and University Townhouses. Several of these original participants are still members today.

Wendell Addington was head of FCH’s Michigan operations, the Honorable Percival Piper was the Secretary of State for the state of Michigan, and lived at Lafayette Park Cooperative in Detroit. Dr. D. Samuel Harris and his son Paul were active in creating the first by-laws for the organization. Dr. Harris lived at Lafayette Park Cooperative in Detroit, and Paul lived in University Townhouses in Ann Arbor. 

(1963 – 1972) C. March Miller was the first president of Michigan Association of Housing cooperatives. Followed by James Tashahs, Paul Harris, Dennis, Al Reynolds, Estelle DePolo, Ray LaRocque.

Both C. March Miller II and James J. Tahash later became employed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development where they continued to make great contri­butions to the housing cooperative community. 

FCH’s active involvement during the early years was helpful to the growth of the association. FCH would build association dues into the operating budgets of the cooperatives, assuring the Michigan Association of Housing Cooperatives an ongoing income and membership base. 

The expansion of HUD’s 221 (d)(3) (BMIR) and 236 mortgage insurance programs allowed for the expansion of cooperative housing in the mid and late 1960’s. FCH continued to dominate the Michigan cooperative development market and began developing more low and moderate-income cooperatives.

The early years of MAHC 

In the early start of MAHC they worked on, a strong quarterly newsletter, paid dues accurately and promptly, quarterly training, Education and Growth and cooperatives working together as people.  Monthly meetings of the Board of Directors and quarterly training sessions for housing cooperators, managers, and others whose concerns were housing cooperative services.

The first few years were dominated by FCH involvement; By 1971 a number of Cooperators were expressing concern with the dominant influence FCH yielded over the organization and mounted a campaign to change the organizational structure. 

Several cooperatives from Illinois and Indiana had begun attending the conferences and meetings in the late 1960’s, and in 1973 Eden Green Cooperative in Chicago Illinois joined.  The Organization grew and broadened its scope.

MAHC Changes its name. 

 MAHC need to reach out farther than Michigan to some of the surrounding states.  At the next election the By-Laws were drafted to ensure that the housing cooperators were elected to a majority of the board seats.  With the new By-Laws cooperators would continue to hold the majority of the board seats. The Board of Directors of the Midwest Association of Housing cooperators was made up of 15 housing cooperators or 12 housing cooperatives with 3 professional or individual positions.  allowing for a maximum of 3 seats to be held by persons classified as “Professionals”,

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Dr. Herman Curtis, from Stonegate Manor in Flint Michigan was the first President of the new organization. Dr Herman Curtis served 15 years as president.  As president he oversaw the transition and expansion of Michigan Association of Housing Cooperative to Midwest Association of housing Cooperatives. Mr. Curtis devoted his life to improving the quality of life at his cooperative and the cooperatives through the Midwest.   

MAHC as a leader in education and resource center

In 1974, the MAHC Board President, Mr. Herman Curtis , was invited to address the membership of the Mo-Kan Association of Housing Cooperatives which is now known as the Great Plains Association.

In April 1974, MAHC leaders’ went to Washington, D.C. to take part in the National Conference On Cooperative Housing, which was developed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the National Association of Housing-Cooperatives (NAHC), and the Organization for Applied Science in Society (OASIS). The meeting encouraged all programs in cooperative housing to present a slate of current problems for possible problem solving and solution.

A number of issues of concern were identified including the lack of proper training and education for the cooperative boards. The Ford Foundation had provided a grant for conference participant’s expenses, and asked MAHC and OASIS to develop a proposal to address some of the problems and concerns raised at the conference.

This led to three years of Ford Foundation funding for the development of MAHC as an education and resource center for housing Cooperatives. HUD supplemented the first-year funding on a contract basis. 

MAHC established task forces to work on the various areas of the contract, including: Handbook, Discount Purchasing, Training, and Management Evaluation. After the first year MAHC had accomplished the following: 

Produced the first draft of the handbook. 

Prepared a report on the items and services available for a discount purchasing program. 

Developed a Financial Management course for cooperatives. 

Developed a course on Evaluating Management of a cooperative. 

Developed a course on Understanding Management Contracts. 

Throughout the years MAHC has continued to develop and present courses to aid cooperative board members in governing the affairs of their cooperatives. 

The Association had held conference every year of its existence, it began with one day affairs held close to home in Detroit and Ann Arbor Michigan.  In 1975 MAHC started moving around the conference after out of state folks joined.  

MAHC later started mini-seminars in Ohio and Indiana for purposes of assisting those housing cooperatives with their problems. Later it was called Midyear conferences that moved around the Midwest states.  

Bill Magee joined MAHC in 1982, and was elected to serve as President in 1990.   Bill Mage touched the hearts, minds and souls of so many people over the years he served. He had a great love and passion for the Housing Cooperative Movement.  So much so that he served this community for over 35 years in various capacities.  

Bill was a strong advocate for education and was instrumental in planning the classes for the MAHC conferences.  He strongly encouraged board members to “steep themselves in the learning process”, “Collect all the knowledge you can while in attendance and bring it back in the Cooperative spirit, to your fellow members”.

His passion for the Cooperative Community was never more evident than when it was expressed through his tireless pursuit of helping to organize housing cooperatives “We must continue to outreach to those still in the dark to shed light on the acres of uninformed Cooperatives”.   He worked side by side with distressed Cooperatives to educate and lead them to go on and become successful efficient communities.

MAHC has published a quarterly Newsletter since 1971. The quarterly newsletter provides timely informative articles from the “how to” of problem solving to analysis of new legislation. Also includes information regarding upcoming events and answers to member’s questions.

(1972 – Present) Dr. Herman E. Curtis was the first president of Midwest Association of Housing cooperatives. Followed by Almeda L. Ritter, William Magee, Dave Rudicel, Richard Berendson

MAHC Today 

MAHC is a leader in the development and presentation of quality education programs for those involved in the cooperative community. Boards of Directors, staff, managers, accountants, maintenance personnel and government personnel are among those who benefit from our cooperative training.

Leader in Cooperative Housing Education

The MAHC Annual Conference is the nation’s best gathering of cooperative housing leaders. Our con­ferences are designed for those whose mission is to strengthen cooperative housing and the people they serve. During three days in late May, cooperative hous­ing professionals from across the country will convene to take advantage of educational and networking opportunities and share experiences, challenges, solu­tions, and successes. 

Participants engage in peer-to-peer educational sessions and learn from national experts on programs and policies to help cooperative housing members. Past conferences have resulted in new and increased collaboration, new approaches, and improved practices across the nation.

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The Certified Cooperative Specialist (CCS) certificate program strengthens cooperative housing community, helping to achieve ever-increasing higher professional standards.  The CCS curriculum focuses on acquiring a detailed knowledge of housing cooperative operation and renewing our

commitment to the principles of cooperative housing.

The goal of MAHC Certification is to achieve “an excellence recognized by the Cooperative

Industry.” We continue to update educational topics that are constantly changing in our industry.  The MAHC group of highly experienced instructors has worked hard to keep CCS training exciting, dynamic

and pertinent.

Our Website is a Portal to Cooperative Housing Information

MAHC is working hard to integrate the new communications technologies into all operations.

The MAHC website at is the central exchange platform for new cooperative

housing information. Co-op and professional members now have direct online access to information

about the Annual Conference, registration, scheduled CCS classes, educational resources, cooperatives, professional service vendors and much more.  The continuously updated MAHC website is a treasure trove of cooperative housing knowledge and information.

Leadership Development

MAHC considers developing the leadership skills of our members a key to keeping MAHC strong

and improving effectiveness of those members in their professional and personal lives.  MAHC membership was originally centered in the Midwest but is no longer regionally limited.

Cooperative Housing Training Manuals Available for Online Download

MAHC offers a wealth of cooperative housing information for free online. In our information sharing web page we have some free manuals available for our members. The manual includes New Board Training, Common Equity and a Cooperative Dictionary of important terms.

The Midwest Association of Housing Cooperatives today consists of over 100 cooperative communities in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Maryland and support from many professional and individual members.  MAHC now represents 29,250 member units nationwide. This means that we represent 89,742 people living in cooperatives. The size and scope of the annual conference has grown every year.

The MAHC board is simply the coordinating group of MAHC on behalf of our members. At the conferences it is fellow members sharing their knowledge as instructors to other cooperative members. Throughout our nation’s history, people have come together through MAHC to pursue common

goals. As a natural part of that process, people engage with each other, learn more about their community’s strengths and challenges, and develop their skills in community problem-solving.

We as a group are MAHC, We embody the best of America. we provide a way for people to work together for the common good, transforming shared beliefs and hopes into action. we give shape to our boldest dreams, highest ideals, and noblest causes. we improve the lives of individuals, add vitality to American communities, contribute to local and national economies, and enhance the overall health of our democracy.

By: April E. Knoch

  1. Make sure virtual meetings are legally permissible in your State. Sometimes it may require a Bylaw amendment, and/or written policy to maintain the integrity of the meeting and voting process. According to Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised, 11th edition, virtual meetings must be authorized in your bylaws. For local governments, if you State has laws permitting you to meet remotely or if your Governor has issued an Executive Order permitting remote meetings, that will supercede Robert’s Rules.
  2. Choose a platform for your virtual meeting and a platform for your virtual/electronic balloting and schedule a test drive for the Board. Once those platforms are tested out by the Board, it is time to test drive the virtual meeting platform with the membership. Each platform is a little different and has its own nuances so once you select one, invest your energy in familiarizing yourself with that platform.
  3. A fundamental requirement for virtual meetings is to make sure everyone can hear and be heard.
  4. Give adequate notice of your meeting and clear instructions on how to log in to the virtual meeting and, if using a separate electronic balloting platform, direct them to that platform’s website and/or provide clear instructions on how to use the balloting platform.
  5. Prepare a “smart” agenda. Add times to your agenda items. For example, if you scheduled voting to take place on a virtual platform from 6:30 to 6:45 that means that you need to be finished will all agenda items that are ahead of the voting time before 6:30. Once 6:30 rolls around, the voting commences. At 6:45 p.m., voting closes and the tally is made through your selected voting platform. Then you can move on to the next agenda item.
  6. Dress appropriately and comfortably and check your lighting. Test out your microphone and camera, at least 15 minutes in advance and make sure everything is updated well in advance of your scheduled meeting. Minimize background noise.
  7. You must have a designated “Chair” who maintains control. That means that if the President is being assisted with a virtual meeting then he/she will need a co-host to assist with keeping the meeting on track and ensure participants do not become unruly (i.e., he/she will makes sure all participants are muted except for the participant who is currently recognized).
  8. No one may speak a second time until everyone who wishes to do so has spoken once. When someone wants to make a comment they must raise their hand and be called upon by the Chair. The Chair, with the assistance of his/her co-host will be able to go around the room to ensure that everyone who wanted to speak has spoken in that round of comments before a person is called on again to speak.
  9. As the Chair, do not allow inappropriate remarks or interruptions.
  10. Don’t assume a decision of the members. You can use viva voce by calling out for ayes and nays. If you hear no nays and/or the ayes clearly have it, you can call the motion carried. Alternatively, you can have the participants use the “raise hand” function and have the co-host assist you with counting the hands in favor and those against.
  11. Always use the cloud recording feature available for virtual meetings. This will assist the Secretary with transcribing meeting minutes.

April Knoch is an Associate Attorney with Pentiuk, Couvreur & Kobiljak, P.C. and the Supervising Attorney for all cooperative document review, research and drafting. She is involved in the many varied aspects of representing housing cooperatives including cooperative governance issues, attending and chairing Board and Member meetings, researching legal issues and drafting legal opinions and representation of housing cooperatives in civil litigation. She is a regular instructor for both the MAHC and NAHC Annual Conferences and she serves on the NAHC Member Services Committee.

Members elected to serve on the Board of Directors hold special and unique positions as fiduciaries to the housing cooperative corporation. A Director holds a position of trust, fiduciary and good faith to the housing cooperative to which he or she serves. While members elected or appointed to serve as a Director may not always be the savvy corporate type, it is important for Cooperative’s to establish certain policies, sometimes best contained in an Agreement, for each Director that will spell out that Director’s responsibilities and duties pertaining to ethical corporate conduct and the handling of sensitive, confidential information.

Sometimes, a Cooperative will find itself in a situation asking, “did the Director’s action or conduct serve in the Cooperative’s best interest?” Or sometimes a Cooperative may be asking, “is the Director benefiting from a given transaction between the Cooperative and a contractor/vendor/third party?” Adopting policies or agreements that spell out the Directors’ duties and responsibilities are useful tools to prevent the Cooperative from having to deal with unsightly legal issues between its Directors, membership or third parties. While these agreements alone will not by themselves prevent situations where a Director may act in a unfair manner, or in a way that is not in the best interest of the Cooperative, they do serve as helpful reminders for each Director as to their duties and responsibilities. Directors should be aware of these duties at all times, and the considerations and practices they require should be inherent in all action taken by the Board.

A Director owes three main duties and responsibilities to the corporation upon which he/she serves. These duties are generally categorized as:

  • Duty of Good Faith.
  • Duty of Care.
  • Duty of Loyalty.

When adopting policies and agreements that encompass these duties, it is easy for them to become verbose and robust. Scholarly articles, journals and cases have dissected each duty. However, a good policy or agreement will hit the key notes, reminding each Director of their obligations. Policies and Agreements can include language, that each Director agrees:

  • to perform his/her duties as a director in the best interests of the Cooperative, in good faith, with due care, and with devotion and loyalty to the Cooperative.
  • to regularly attend Board and Committee meetings unless absence is excused.
  • to keep up to date on issues pertaining to the Cooperative and its membership.
  • to conduct him/herself with professional competence, fairness, impartiality, efficiency, and effectiveness.
  • to refrain from acting upon the influence of any conflicting interest when participating in Cooperative Board meetings, deliberations, voting or decision making, and to refrain from using his/her service on this Board for personal advantage or for the advantage of his/her family, friends, associates or business partners.
  • to deal fairly with Cooperative members, suppliers, contractors, and employees, and avoid taking unfair advantage of anyone through manipulation, concealment, abuse of privileged information, misrepresentation of material facts, or any other unfair dealing practice.
  • to avoid and to disclose any potential or real conflicts of interest and to refrain from taking official Board action in any such matters where a potential or real conflict exists.
  • to maintain the confidentiality of all Cooperative Confidential Information and refrain from discussing confidential matters with persons not on the Board of Directors.
  • to continue to maintain qualifications to serve as a Director of the corporation.

Code of Conduct and Confidentiality Agreements that include these core concepts of a Director’s duties and responsibilities, will both assist incoming Board Members in understanding their position and responsibilities in serving on the cooperative housing corporation’s Board, but also reinforce these concepts for already existing Board Members and Directors. Moreover, if a Cooperative adopts a policy or agreement for each Director on serving on the Board, they may provide for certain penalties such as censure, removal from the Board or committees, removal of membership, or legal proceedings.

In adopting and adhering to best corporate practices, Housing Cooperatives should consider Board of Director policies and agreements that encompass the fiduciary duties and responsibilities that each individual Director must agree to abide by, and employ in the practice and conduct of their duties and service to the Cooperatives they serve. Cooperatives should consult with their legal counsel and attorneys for best ways to craft policies and agreements that meet the specific needs and desires of the Cooperative.

By:  Matthew T. Nicols

Attorney at Pentiuk, Couvreur & Kobiljak, P.C.

* Matthew T. Nicols is an associate attorney at the Pentiuk, Couvreur & Kobiljak, P.C., with offices in Wyandotte, Michigan and Chicago, Illinois. Mr. Nicols focuses his practice primarily in areas of cooperative housing law, and other community and condominium association law. He is licensed to practice law in the states of Michigan and Illinois.

As State Vice-President-Michigan for the Midwestern Association of Housing Cooperatives (MAHC), I would like to invite you to attend the 2019 MAHC Certified Cooperative Specialist (CCS) program on October 5-6, 2019 at Georgetown Cooperative in Taylor, Michigan.

Who or what is a Certified Cooperative Specialist?  Quite simply, it’s you, the board member.  We all know that continuing education plays an important role in becoming a good board member.  What better way to show your members you possess the knowledge and skills necessary to work successfully with other board members and members of the cooperative than by receiving a CCS certificate.

What does the program cover?  Quite a lot.  Taught by leading cooperative housing experts, over the course of a day and a half, you will receive in-depth training on the following topics:

  1. History and Types of Cooperatives
  2. Legal Operations
  3. Financial Operations
  4. Business of Cooperatives

You can find more information about MAHC at

Co-ops are better, and we can prove it

by admin on June 9, 2017

At a time when policymakers and housing advocates explore new approaches to affordable homeownership, it is useful to look back on the superior track record that co-ops have amassed over several decades, and to recognize the role of NAHC publications in bringing this research to light. Here are six key findings.

1.    Cooperative housing produces significantly higher quality of life for the resident as compared to affordable rental housing.

Mushrush, Larson, and Krause, Social Benefits of Affordable Housing Cooperatives, Center for Cooperatives, University of California at Davis, 1997

Saegert, Susan,“Survey of Residents of Currently and Previously City-Owned Buildings in the Bronx” in Housing in the Balance: Seeking a Comprehensive Policy for City-Owned Housing, Task Force on City-Owned Property, 1994

Saegert, Susan,“What We Have to Work With: The Lessons of the Task Force Surveys” in No More Housing of Last Resort: The Importance of Affordability and Resident Participation in In Rem Housing, Task Force on City-Owned Property, 1996

Altus and Mathews, “A Look at Satisfaction of Rural Seniors with Cooperative Housing,” Cooperative Housing Journal, 1997

2.    The higher level of participation in broadly-based, regularly functioning resident associations in low-income cooperatives, as compared to affordable rental housing, was effective in preventing in-building crime as demonstrated by crime statistics over a six-month period.

Saegart and Winkel, “Cooperative Housing, Social Capital and Crime Prevention,” Cooperative Housing Journal, 2001

3.    Limited equity cooperatives create social capital that powers social activism that preserves affordable housing an maintains diversity in a hot gentrifying urban market.

Saegert and Extein, “Limited Equity Cooperatives Reinforce Anti-gentrification Measures, Cooperative Housing Journal, 2003

4.    Cooperatives lowered monthly housing costs to residents by more than 20% compared to physically similar affordable rental housing managed by the same management companies.

Parliament, Vonnegut, and Parliament, “Keeping Housing Affordable: Cooperative vs. Absentee Ownership,” Cooperative Housing Journal, 1998

5.    Manufactured home owners experience appreciation in the value of their homes in a cooperatively owned park, and pay 7% lower monthly fees than residents in rental parks.

Ward, French, and Giraud, “Effect of Cooperative Ownership on Appreciation of Manufactured Housing,” Cooperative Housing Journal, 2005

6.    Limited equity co-ops do a better job of preserving affordability than the community land trusts and programs using deed restrictions.

Temkin, Theodos and Price, Balancing Affordability and Opportunity; An Evaluation of Affordable Homeownership with Long Term Affordability Controls, The Urban Institute, 2010

7.    Cooperatives are a lower risk to lenders and the government.

A.    In an analysis of defaults of FHA-insured multi-family loans in the 221(d)(3) and 236 mortgage subsidy programs between 1958 and 1993, cooperatives had a lower default rate than rental properties owned by both for-profit and non-profit entities.

Calhoun and Walker, Performance of HUD Subsidized Loans: Does Cooperative Ownership Matter, The Urban Institute, 1994

B.    The FHA Section 213 market rate co-op mortgage insurance program has returned unneeded and unused premiums to the co-op buildings in every year of its existence. Section 213 has the lowest default rate of any FHA multifamily or single family program.

C.    The National Co-op Bank reports that of its 4386 co-op building loans, none were in foreclosure as of June 30, 2011, and the delinquency rate is less than one hundredth of one percent.
NCB also services 7388 share loans for co-op members. The bulk of those are in New York City, where NCB has experienced no foreclosures. Below is a comparison of the status of NCB’s co-op portfolio and Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s conventional single family loans and multifamily rental loans as of June 30, 2011.


           Single family                 Multifamily rental
90 days+ deliquent     60 days+ deliquent

Fannie Mae                     4.08%                              0.46%
Freddie Mac                    3.50%                              0.31%

Share loans                     Co-op blanket mortgages
90+ days delinquent     60+ days deliquent
NCB co-op loans            1.88%                              0.008%

[courtesy of the National Association of Housing Cooperatives]

Courtesy of the National Association of Housing Cooperatives, check out this reportopens PDF file on the size and strength of our national cooperative community.

Multifamily Better Buildings Challenge

by admin on April 29, 2014

opens in a new windowClick hereopens PDF file  for a memo regarding the Multifamily Better Buildings Challenge Incentive: Allowable Management Add-on Fees.

HUD Tracking Travel Expenses

by admin on April 5, 2014

If your client or you are on the Board or a member of a cooperative that is supervised under HUD, please note the following:

Many management companies charge travel expenses to the site. If during the HUD audit the proper documentation is not set forth, the management company ends up reimbursing the site for those expenses. With this being said, it is very important that the management company establishes a “Travel Policy”. HUD auditors have found improper or excessive travel expenses, insufficient or lack of proper documentation or lack of a travel policy to control travel expenses.  Management should have a travel policy to make sure that the expenses are legitimate and reasonable travel expenses. Part of the policy should include a detailed travel expense form for any employee who is authorized to travel. In the policy it should state; when is travel permitted; detailed on how to make travel arrangements; what expenses are permitted, which ones are not; use of company credit cards, cash and out-of pocket expenses and how to fill out the travel expense form.

Please pass this information on to those management companies that might be effected by this new HUD audit procedure.

HUD Multifamily Policy Priorities

by admin on March 23, 2014

The new Program Administration Office of HUD recently identified 25 policy priorities. These priorities are currently on the time cycle for completion. To read about these new policy priorities as well as a list of policy goals, PAO staff and subject matter experts, opens in a new windowclick here to view the HUD Multifamily Policy Priorities memoopens PDF file .