New Legislation Helps Drive the National Cooperative Movement

Jun 20, 2013, 14:00 ET from Office of Congressman Chaka Fattah

WASHINGTON, June 20, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The chief Congressional champion for the national cooperative movement, Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA), has introduced H.R. 2437, the Creating Jobs Through Cooperatives Act.

The legislation authorizes $25 million per year through 2017 to create the National Cooperative Development Program within the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. This program will provide assistance in a number of ways including:

  • awarding grants to nonprofit organizations, colleges and universities for technical assistance to cooperatives or groups seeking to form co-ops;
  • providing guidance, best practices and technical assistance to communities seeking to establish cooperatives; 
  • creating a revolving loan fund to provide seed capital to groups attempting to form cooperatives; and
  • provide funding to train providers with technical assistance and support existing professional development for organizations engaged in cooperative development.

Cooperatives are gaining in popularity in both urban and rural communities.  They are owned and operated by the people who utilize the goods or services provided by the co-op and they operate for the benefit of its members. Co-op members combine their resources to bring about economic gains that would be difficult to achieve if they went it alone.

Fattah, who represents Philadelphia, a District abundant with cooperatives said, "Co-ops are their own kind of economic stimulus because they invest in the communities they serve by employing the people they serve."

Cooperatives focus on the needs of its members and they range in size from the corner grocery store to larger Fortune 500 companies.  Co-ops include housing, healthcare, credit unions, insurance companies, grocery stores and energy businesses.

"Co-ops bring communities together by encouraging residents to pool their skills and resources," said Fattah. "They empower people to make decisions that will create opportunities that grow their communities and provide an added sense of belonging. This legislation brings federal resources and a policy priority to that effort." 

SOURCE Office of Congressman Chaka Fattah