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California Cooperatives:

Today’s Landscape of Worker, Housing and Childcare Cooperatives

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Cooperatives are a time-tested but under-utilized tool to address three major crises facing California: the jobs crisis, the housing crisis, and the childcare crisis.

In fall 2021, with the COVID-19 pandemic still ongoing, these entrenched challenges show up in both new and familiar ways. After years of struggling with a bifurcated job market that leaves many working people economically insecure, the high cost of housing relative to wages, and a dearth of affordable childcare, many Californians face deep uncertainty in the wake of the pandemic. Some families are behind on rent and facing possible eviction; others want to return to work but cannot find childcare. Although employers are hiring and wages are beginning to increase, many workers are refusing to return to, or stay in, jobs that do not meet their economic needs or expectations for agency and respect in the workplace.

In this report, Project Equity, the California Center for Cooperative Development, and the Sustainable Economies Law Center provide an in-depth look at the cooperative landscape in California, focusing on three types of cooperatives that are particularly well situated to help address the biggest crises facing our communities: jobs, housing, and childcare.

Dedicated sections on worker cooperatives, housing cooperatives and childcare cooperatives convey the presence and impact of these coops across the state, and provide recommendations to grow California’s cooperative economy, with calls to action for government, philanthropy and employers.

We also produced separate reports on each type of cooperative (worker, housing and childcare) with the same content as the full paper, and the addition of annotated bibliographies. The full report, a stand-alone executive summary, and the worker cooperatives report as well as our related webinar are linked below.

Published October 2021 

Executive summary


Full report

Please contact us or the California Center for Cooperative Development, if you would like to receive the other sector-specific reports: California Housing Cooperatives and California Childcare Cooperatives.

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