Friday 2 February 2018

Mary Ann Johnson (MAJ) housing co-op is looking for new members

MAJ is a housing co-operative based in Tottenham.  We currently own two houses, which provide homes to five of our members, as well as a resource space for Haringey Solidarity Group and other local groups.

We are currently looking for a new member (or members) to join.  We particularly want to encourage people with dependent children and people of colour (from black and minority ethnic backgrounds) to apply.

Below, there is more information about our co-op, what being a member involves and how to apply.  If you have any questions about applying or joining, please email us at


MAJ started in 1998, when a few people from Haringey Solidarity Group decided to try and buy somewhere for their members to live and also to have a space for an activist resource centre.  The idea was that the resource centre and having members securely and affordably housed in the borough would help HSG.  It took eight years to buy our first house and another 10 years to buy our second.

Our current housing situation

We presently have one member who is not securely housed and we have been fundraising to buy somewhere for them to live.  With the funds we have raised so far, there is a possibility that we will be able to buy an additional one or two-bedroom flat, to house someone else.  This is why we are looking for a new member to join MAJ.

What does membership involve?

All MAJ members need to agree to our primary and secondary rules and play a part in running the co-op.  This means attending co-op meetings (usually every 4-6 weeks) and taking on some tasks (e.g. admin or DIY).

We are members of:

·         Radical Routes (a national network for co-ops involved in social change); and

·         St Ann’s Redevelopment Trust, which is developing a community-led plan to ensure that land sold off by the local mental health trust continues to benefit the community, mainly through affordable and tenant-controlled housing.

We require MAJ members to take an active part in these projects, but the precise nature of that involvement varies from person to person.  Enthusiasm and willingness to learn are more important than expertise.

The new member would be involved in the decision-making process for the new home, and so would be expected to take an active part in house-hunting and any related fundraising.  We should add that because of the changing nature and the difficulties in the housing market we cannot say how long it will take to find somewhere, or whether we will be able to find somewhere at all.

Any prospective co-op member would also be expected to support the work of Haringey Solidarity Group or a community project or local group organising along similar lines (organising in the local area, and non-hierarchically).  The level of support could be as little or much as you have time for, and/or be active in some form of political activity.

We are keen for the co-op to have a diverse membership, reflecting the local community and bringing people of different ages together.  Therefore, we would particularly welcome applications from black and minority ethnic groups, and people with dependent children, because those people are particularly under-represented in our co-op at the moment.

How to apply

Please follow the link and read our Secondary Rules.  Then send an email to with answers to the following questions.  Alternatively, replies can be posted to us at: 22 Chester Road, London N17 6BY.

1.       Do you share our values (as set out in our Secondary Rules)?  If so how?

2.       Do you have an existing connection to Haringey?  What is it?

3.       Are you in housing need?  Are you able to access affordable housing?

4.       What is your involvement in activism or social change work?  By this we mean community activity and/or taking action to live out your values.

Your responses can be as short as you want, but should be no longer than one page of A4.

Please contact us if you have any questions.

Monday 28 March 2016

It's a big ask, but...

Our last insecurely housed member needs a home!

Over the last eight years we have somehow managed to buy two houses in London to securely house most of our members. Buying one in London seemed hard enough, but managing to get the second seemed at times like an impossible dream. And we are really grateful everyone that helped us to make that dream come true. But, although nine of us are now securely housed we still have one member who is in insecure rented accommodation. Worse than that, we have just heard that the landlord where they live is now selling the house, so within two or three months our last insecurely housed member will likely be homeless.

We know we can buy a one bedroom flat or studio flat around Tottenham and we can afford a fairly decent size mortgage but with house prices rising due to gentrification around Tottenham (who would have ever though it could happen in Tottenham?) we need to raise £50,000 to be able to buy the flat. It’s a big amount we know, but by getting a lot of smaller amounts we hope we can raise this sum. We have managed it before. So, we are hoping people would be up for loaning us money to achieve this. Ideally we would like to borrow any spare money you have sitting in bank accounts earning money for the rich bankers but giving you nothing. By lending us the money you won't just help us house someone who is about to be homeless, you are helping secure affordable housing for years to come as the homes will all be kept in collective ownership way after all of us are pushing up daisies. Obviously if anyone has money burning a hole in their pockets and they would like to donate the money rather than loaning it that would be fantastic. Yes we know - a long shot, but we might as well ask. To give us some security, loaning us the money for at least five years (or longer) at zero percent interest would be fantastic but we're happy to chat about shorter lengths of time or even a bit of interest. Even if we got £50k for three years, it means we then have the time to raise the money to repay you and it still allows us to buy a flat now. If you are interested and want to know more about what's involved when donating or loaning to us via loanstock, fill in our contact form here (link opens on a new page) or if you already know the score, download our Donations and Loanstock Application form here.

Thank you!

Thursday 25 February 2016

New Year, New Homes

Well the end of 2015 saw an exciting new development for the MAJ - we bought a new property! A house with a one bedroom flat downstairs and a two bedroom flat upstairs near the Spurs ground in Tottenham... in fact as I write this I can hear the singing cheering Spurs fans which I am guessing means they won.

We completed in late November 2015 and three of us moved in by mid December, and as it was a real fixer-upper the place was a bit of a building site. Downstairs had no bathroom and upstairs had no kitchen (or kitchen floor) so for about two and a half weeks the day would start early with drilling, plastering, walls going up, cabinets being hung, great big holes being made for great big pipes and one co-op member up on the roof making it sound so that the constant rain wouldn't drip on our heads as we slept.

The downstairs kitchen and bathroom needed extensive work
What a palaver! But all the main work that was needed to make it habitable was done by Christmas and now those of us who live here are really loving the feeling of a secure roof over our heads for the first time. Oh, and having moved out of a completely unmodernised building, the joys of hot showers and central heating just can't be appreciated enough.
The upstairs kitchen didn't even have a floor!

This has been a major achievement for MAJ - we've been trying to get the rest of our members safely housed for years and it feels great to have three more of us under another MAJ owned roof. Thank you so much to all of those who have helped us with loanstock, gifts, advice and moral and practical support, without you this could not have happened and we are incredibly grateful. But we can't rest on our laurels as we still have one member in a perilously vulnerable housing situation, plus more work needs to be done on the new house (some walls and doors still need putting in, and access to the garden for the top floor flat). More about that soon.
Some neighbours

Sunday 1 March 2015

Investing in Mary Ann Johnson Housing Co-op

Appeal for Loanstock and Donations – Ends 31 August 2016
Mary Ann Johnson Housing Co-operative needs money to grow – your donations or loans can support a radical, sustainable community-based project!

You can donate to us or apply for Loanstock by downloading our Donations and Loanstock Application Form which has all the information you need to apply or donate.


Mary Ann Johnson housing co-op currently owns two properties in Tottenham, home to five of our members as well as a thriving office which is used by local community groups. Our aim now is to buy another property to provide secure housing for our last insecurely housed member. To make this happen, we need to raise about £50,000 in the form of loanstock investments or donations. We are therefore appealing to all those able to contribute towards sustainable housing, the co-operative ethos and a better society, to help our radical project to grow!

Establishing affordable co-operative housing in London poses unique challenges due to inflated property prices. However, our co-op members have long-standing connections to this area of north London, and a long history of involvement in residents’ groups, and community projects and campaigns. We have made a promising start with our first house and want to extend this further to show that the principles of a better society, such as tenants having control over their housing, can be established even in the most challenging conditions.

Donations to our project would be gratefully received and should be regarded as a socially useful investment. Alternatively, we are seeking loanstock, the principal source of funding for many small co-operatives. This is a form of fixed-term loan made by groups and individuals to the co-operative. Rather than being paid back in instalments, the total amount borrowed will be repaid at the end of the agreed term.
We welcome investments of any size and would prefer loans with fixed terms ranging between 5 and 20 years. With interest rates being what they are at the moment, we would normally offer 0% interest, but we are happy to negotiate on an individual basis with each potential investor. Any investment made with us will be managed through a contract. Updates about our project and activities will be available on request (and on our website!).

We are a long-established group, who have had to overcome many obstacles to get this far, and have now gained valuable experience in buying, converting and managing properties. We are confident that our determination and resilience as a group, as well as the support we get from our membership of Radical Routes, a national network of co-ops working for social change, will enable us to realise our dreams – but your generosity is needed to make this possible!
Investing in Mary Johnson Housing Co-op is an investment in social change through sustainable housing, community-based politics and the possibility of a better future.


If you would like to make a donation or apply for Loanstock, you can download our Donations and Loanstock Application Form which has all the information you need to apply or donate to us directly. Thank You!!!

If you want to know more about the co-operative and discuss in more detail how to invest with us, fill in our contact form here (link opens on a new page)

Thursday 19 September 2013

Zombie Disco is GO!!!

  It's nearly Hallowe'en and time for all you deadbeats to get re-animated... on the dancefloor! We'll have live music from Loathesome Ways, The Wailing Banshees and The Kemistry to make your flesh creep, and DJs playing tunes you'll be dying to dance to: from the Slits to the Supremes, from Manic Street Preachers to Michael Jackson. You'll be thrilled you came. From 8pm til 3am. Entry is £5 waged / £3 concessions. All proceeds will go to Haringey Solidarity Group and Mary Ann Johnson Housing Co-operative.

Monday 2 September 2013

Zombie Disco Benefit Night

Coming soon...  the Zombie Disco MAJ benefit night. You can always support MAJ by donating or investing, but how about doing it by watching live bands, dressing up as a zombie, dancing to crypt kickin' tunes and winning prizes for doing it? Save the date, Friday 25th October 8pm 'til 3 am at The Silver Bullet Bar, 5 Station Place, Finsbury Park (30 seconds from Finsbury Park Tube Station). Tickets on the door £5 waged £3.00 unwaged/low waged. It's a no-brainer! 

Facebook Event:- Zombie Disco

Monday 13 June 2011

Co-operatives Fortnight - How to set up a housing co-op

How To Set Up a Housing Co-op is an afternoon of workshops being held in
central London during Co-operatives Fortnight.

If you're intending to set up a housing co-op, or involved with a group that
is doing so, then this event will be for you. It aims to cover in
detail the issues you will face in incorporating, raising finance, finding
and purchasing a building - and keeping your group together along the way.

Workshops are facilitated by members of existing housing co-ops. The event is supported by Housing Justice and Radical Routes.
More information about the event and how to register is on the website -