Students from the Davis Student Cooperative worked with Village Homes architects Mike and Judy Corbett to build the Sunwise Cooperative from 1978-1979. Founders Jennifer Fipps, David Sausjord, Glenn Schoenfeld, David Smart, Susan Beth Steckler, Barbara Wezelman, Jon Weinstein created the Solar Community Housing Association to own and manage the property, to be directed by a board of the residents.
In 1986, the Davis Art Center moved from its location on 234 J Street to Central Park and donated the old J Street building to SCHA. Taking a mortgage on Sunwise, SCHA refurbished the building to create a total of seven bedrooms and replace the roof through a volunteer effort, giving rise to the J Street cooperative.
In 1992, SCHA began to move and renovate several buildings to a lot in east Davis to create a “homestead” of houses. The houses featured a variety of experimental green building measures, from recycled materials to roof ponds, and originally opened to serve exclusively single parent families. The properties were originally occupied in 1996.
By 2006, it has become clear that Federal funding requirements, the needs of single-parents and other challenges made the Homestead Cooperative a social and financial liability to SCHA. The property was sold to the Community Housing Opportunities Corporation and Yolo Community Care Continuum to better serve the community.
In 2008, looks deeply into two expansion projects, exploring the possibilities of purchasing homes on the open market. The high cost of housing prohibits further expansion.
In the spring of 2009 the City of Davis issued a call for proposals to implement a low-income housing project on two vacant lots in Old East Davis. SCHA proposed a low-income cooperative, and was awarded the project on July 28th, 2009. The support of Old East Davis neighbors, other local organizations, and SCHA alumni was instrumental to the award.
January 2012 SCHA offered its first leases to full-time students to live at the Baggins End Domes in the Sustainable Research Area on the University of California, Davis campus. In 1972, ‘the Domes’ became the first student-built campus housing cooperative in the country. Remaining loyal to SCHA’s roots in the cooperative communities on campus, SCHA is partnering with students and the university to help maintain sustainable, cooperative housing opportunities at UCD for years to come.
Supporting our Communities
Supporting similar communities promoting sustainable and cooperative living is part of the mission on which SCHA was founded (see the founding principles in Articles of Incorporation). SCHA has pursued this objective in a variety of ways. Some recent projects are described here.
Davis Cooperative Community Network (DCCN)
SCHA members helped found the Davis Cooperative Community Network in Spring of 2010. The Network exists to help promote communication and interaction between the rich and varied collection of cooperatives in Davis.
Davis Bike Collective
In March 2009, members of the Davis Bike Collective approached the SCHA board seeking fiscal sponsorship (the proposal to SCHA here) that would allow them to receive tax-deductible donations and sign a lease on a shop space on 4th and L. Our board agreed, adding the property to our insurance and the name to the lease. The collective has thrived in its new home and recently received its own recognition as a 501(c)3.
NASCO: The annual conference for cooperatives in North America. We send some members to the conference each year. Any member of SCHA can have one trip to NASCO paid for by the SCHA board during their tenure of their membership.
WESTCO: The West Coast chapter of NASCO, which we helped host in 2010.
CCCD: California Center for Cooperative Development is based in Davis, and holds a variety of cooperative conferences each year. We often sponsor attendance.
We offer formal and informal workshops in bee keeping, composting, green building, and other skills. Contact us for more information.