Solar Community Housing Association (SCHA) is a Davis-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides cooperative housing for low-income people. SCHA is governed by residents, who serve as representatives on the board of directors. SCHA houses 88-90 co-op residents between six co-op houses with 7-15 residents each and “The Domes” – a co-housing community of 26 residents housed in 13 two-bedroom dome homes. SCHA leases three of the houses (the Tri Co-ops) and the Domes from UC Davis, and owns the three off-campus houses. Our co-ops strive to be a safe(r) and accessible space for people with marginalized identities, while simultaneously creating space to unlearn oppressive behaviors.
On these pages you’ll find more about who we are, our involvement in the community, and resources for members and other housing cooperatives. Welcome!
“SCHA is committed to providing low-income cooperative housing that works to confront and critique systems of oppression through ecological awareness, inclusive self-governance and alternative economic models.”
SCHA cooperatives are shared, living-learning spaces that empower residents to educate themselves, organize, and inspire community. SCHA holds the following values:
- Cooperative Community: Striving to create a radically empathetic, inclusive, safer space, we are passionately collaborative, invested in systems of support and cooperation, acknowledging and welcoming the lived experiences of every generation/age of person, and accessible in the way we share resources, engage in communities, and democratize knowledge. We focus on the process of asking for and communicating consent, working through disagreements with mediation, and communicating our wants with respect and compassion.
- Shared leadership: As a non-hierarchical, self-governing organization, we are committed to developing leadership through empowerment and shared responsibility. We acknowledge that power and leadership can take many forms. We work to identify, encourage, and support leadership in traditionally marginalized and disinvested communities. We create processes for transferring skills and knowledge over time and engaging/integrating new members. We do this because we know that fairly distributing power organizationally requires making great effort to counter systemic privilege and inequitable distribution of resources.
- Social and economic justice: As institutions that assert the maxim “living and learning”, SCHA cooperatives seek to confront oppression and hierarchies that exist mutually outside of and within our homes. We specifically acknowledge the prevalence of white supremacy, both within the organization and without, with the hope of dismantling it. In this way, we are a community committed to collective liberation. We encourage educational programs, foster an awareness of climate change, and other mediums of sharing knowledge. We strive to empower one another as co-inhabitants and workers, and we work together to create a safer open space that nurtures dialogue about social and economic justice. We support sustainable economic models that are community-based and respect the inherent worth of people and ecosystems. We constantly strive to acknowledge the privilege we hold as a community of mostly settlers, and the colonization and ongoing genocide of Native Americans we are inherently complicit in.
- Ecological awareness: We strive for an active awareness of the land and resources we occupy, as an establishment mostly comprised of settlers on this land. We actively encourage sustainable relationships between people and the land. We work towards low-impact, environmentally conscious lifestyles and designs. In hoping to maintain a conscious engagement with colonized land and racist food systems, we try to source our produce locally as well as grow our own food.
APPLY TO LIVE IN SCHA CO-OPS!
Here are some application questions that are common to all SCHA co-ops that may take more time and consideration:
- Cooperative living means a lot of things. What does it mean to you? What interests you about living at the the co-ops you are applying to?
- What communities do you view yourself being a part of?
- By nature of living in a co-op, there is a level of participation expected. For example, all co-opers are expected to participate in co-op meetings, which can take up to 2 to 3 hours per week (depending on the co-op), chores with varying time requirements, and work parties up to 8 hours per month. Some co-opers are also on committees that meet for 1-2 hours each week and have work assigned in between meetings. Keeping your own ability in mind, how much time could you realistically see yourself committing to the house/organization a day/week?
- Related to that, is there anything you want your housemates to know relating to ability to participate? (Ex. physical/mental health/ability or work scheduling, privacy needs, dietary needs, religious needs)
- What are some things you do for self-care?
- What makes you feel safe and comfortable?
- What do you anticipate will be good for you living in the co-ops you applied to?
- What do you think will be difficult for you living in the co-ops you applied to?
- Conflict is an inevitable part of community living, and living in a community that practices consensus decision-making requires compromise. Tell us about a time when you have had to compromise. OR Tell us about a conflict you experienced that felt unresolved.
- What aspects of our community are you interested in being involved with or learning about?