Photo by Lindsay Isola
Want to start your own housing collective? While mainstream might laugh at your idealistic plans, two German banks specialise in alternative projects: the UmweltBank (“environmental bank”) and the GLS Gemeinschaftsbank (a community bank based upon anthropological ethics) both finance communal, ecological housing.
Stiftung Trias provides interest-free or low-interest loans to non-profit, ecologicallysound housing projects. The foundation has limited resources, so financing is usually just a partial contribution of between €500 and €2000, or in rare cases, up to €5,000. Stiftung Trias also provides assistance at the development stage. It plans to acquire land to donate to such projects.
Stiftung Edith Maryon is a foundation that acquires residential properties (or land on which housing can be built) with the specific intent of taking them off the commercial market. The foundation subsequently rents these buildings and apartments out to interested parties who may also, in individual cases, be granted the right to use the property. Stiftung Edith Maryon grants a long-term building lease or offers a Miteigentum arrangement: a type of lease whereby the tenant enjoys the benefit of additional rights, but the foundation retains the title to the property. It also promotes communal, self-managed living.