Community of Urbana-Champaign Cooperative Housing


Member Profile: Ying

Ying wearing orange hat

House: Brooks

What do you do? "I study honeybees and work in the garden at Brooks."

Signature dish: "Soup of any kind, but my spicy corn soup is particularly delicious!"


COUCH was formed in 1997, and incorporated in 1998, by a group of Champaign-Urbana residents with interest and experience in cooperative housing. Patterned after cooperative housing organizations in other college towns, but without a formal connection to the University, COUCH began functioning as an umbrella organization, to assist existing co-ops, and to help form new ones.

In 1999, COUCH rented its first house, Nova Casa, gaining valuable experience in procedures for rental, formation, and operation of new co-ops. In 2000, COUCH arranged for NASCO Properties, an Ann Arbor, MI associate of NASCO, the North American Students of Cooperation, to purchase a large campus-area boarding house, to be rented and managed by COUCH. After a year of non-co-op property management, Brooks Co-op opened as COUCH's first member-controlled co-op in August 2001.

At the same time that Brooks Co-op was opening, Green House, a longstanding Urbana co-op and COUCH associate house, was forced out by its landlord. COUCH assisted the members of the former Green House, and in August 2001, Phoenix House opened as the rebirth of Green House, this time rented by COUCH for the benefit of its members.

In late 2000, only months after the purchase of the future Brooks Co-op, NASCO Properties was able to purchase another boarding house for a bargain price. After another year of operation as a boarding house, Harvest House opened as COUCH's third member house in August of 2002.

COUCH's bylaws contain extensive additional information about the organization.