Gung Ho is a fully mutual housing co-operative. Living in a housing co-op gives us the benefits of home ownership in terms of control over our house, the ability to set our own rent, security of tenure and the lack of landlords and letting agents. Moreover, we as individuals do not have the burden of a huge debt, we are still eligible for housing benefit and we have done this without the financial barrier of raising a large deposit. Gung Ho is a member of Radical Routes, which is a UK-wide federation of housing co-ops, worker co-ops and social centres. We received support from Radical Routes for several years whilst we got Gung Ho off the ground, culminating in us buying our property in 2009. We contribute to Radical Routes by joining in democratic collective decision making at quarterly gatherings and by contributing to the work of various committees such as finance and publicity working groups. All of our members are expected to contribute in some way to the running of Radical Routes, although our commitment to the network is as a co-op and we can divide this commitment amongst ourselves as we see fit.
We spend quite a lot of time together as a house, enjoy each others’ company (most of the time!), cook and buy (vegetarian) food and essentials together and have a weekly meeting to keep on top of everything. Gung Ho is not a hippy commune though! We don’t pool underwear or bathe together. We feel like pretty normal people using an effective strategy to win us some control and dignity over our housing situation in a capitalist society where people who don’t have the money to buy their own place often don’t have those luxuries. We would love to help more people to set up their own housing co-operatives.