Mutual Housing Associations

Mutual Housing Associations (MHAs) are nonprofit corporations that construct, own, and/or operate affordable housing. MHAs are frequently formed to assist in the prevention and/or elimination of neighborhood deterioration and used to create neighborhood stability. MHAs incorporate community and resident involvement in the provision of high-quality, long-term housing for low- and moderate-income families in which residents: 

  • Participate in the ongoing operation and management of such housing;
  • Have the right to continue residing in such housing for as long as they comply with the terms of their occupancy agreement; and
  • Do not have an equity or ownership interest in such housing.

MHAs are also generally more inclusive of the larger community surrounding them, frequently including non-residents as board members. This allows MHAs to seek management expertise from outside experts and associations. Unlike community land trust (CLT) homeowners (introduced elsewhere in the report)), MHA residents cannot sell their units for profit; that is, they do not develop equity in the property. Instead, the organization uses resident rents to continually provide services and improvements which increase the overall value of the MHA.

Awareness and support. Local jurisdictions should be aware that MHAs provide an alternative to conventional affordable housing by incorporating residents in the ongoing decision-making processes regarding both existing and expanded housing developments. Additionally, these organizations can go beyond provision of housing to help support and revitalize communities by supporting community gardens, local merchants, and businesses, and encouraging neighborhood involvement and improvement.

Like other non-profit housing providers, MHAs can benefit from support by local jurisdictions. This can be in the form of financial assistance to acquire or develop affordable housing, expedited permit processing, or simply linking MHAs to available supportive resources.


Shelterforce. Watchful Stewards: Mutual Housing Associations and Community Land Trusts.


Mutual Housing California. Mutual Housing California.