SCHA logo

Mailing Address

7 Baggins End

Davis, CA 95616

[email protected]
SCHA Website (current)
SCHA blog (2010-11)
SCHA on Facebook

Sunwise Co-op

J Street Co-op

Corner Co-op

The Domes


The Solar Community Housing Association, or SCHA, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that owns and operates five housing co-ops in Davis, California: Sunwise Co-op, J Street Co-op, Cornucopia Corner Co-op (across J Street), the Tri-Cooperatives, and The Domes. SCHA's board of directors is comprised of members of these houses and community members; the Board has a majority of tenant-Directors, and thus is considered a cooperative (because those who use it, run it). Members are low-income individuals (less the 80% AMI) or students. SCHA can be contacted through any of its co-ops. From 1996 to 2006, SCHA also managed the Homestead Co-op but sold the property to Community Housing Opportunities Corporation/Yolo Community Care Continuum.

SCHA's mission statement is: “SCHA is committed to providing low-income cooperative housing that works to confront and critique systems of oppression through ecological awareness, inclusive self-governance and alternative economic models.”

Founding Documents

scha_articles.pdf SCHA Articles of Incorporation, a scan of the 1979 original with stamps and signatures! tax exemption.pdf. How we became an official non-profit. scha_bylaws.pdf The current bylaws, last revised in 1990. As mentioned in the letter on Davis Voice, SCHA members are currently revising them to provide a more consistent document — for instance, the bylaws use majority (see VII.9), while our practice accepts consensus. Interested in the process? Contact SCHA or see "Getting Involved" below.

Special thanks to the founders: Jennifer Fipps, David Sausjord, Glenn Schoenfeld, David Smart, Susan Beth Steckler, Barbara Wezelman, Jon Weinstein!


  • Get a feel for life inside SCHA co-ops on the blog.
  • DSC is saved! Many thanks to everyone involved. Check out Save DSC for more info. Special note: residents from Davis Student Co-op in the late 1970s helped to found Sunwise Co-op!
  • Sunwise now has two outdoor educational signs on cooperative housing, organic gardening, beekeeping and chickens. These were funded in May 2009 by a generous $300 grant from the Davis Cooperative Community Fund; thanks DCCF!
  • SCHA sponsored the Davis Bike Collective, which has finally become an independent non-profit.
  • SCHA is now in negotiations to take on third party management of the Baggins End Domes Community! You can sign up to volunteer to help re-open the domes at or

Cornucopia Corner Cooperative at 3rd & J

SCHA has developed a new co-op house in Davis!! On August 2nd, 2010 SCHA moved two historic homes from 311 and 315 B St to 3rd and J where they have been retrofitted as a green, affordable cooperative. See website for details. After the makeover, both houses are (August 2011) certified for occupancy as an 8-bedroom cooperative; an "open co-op" was held on the afternoon of October 15, 2011, 2pm – 6pm, at 233/239 J Street, Davis, CA..

Some history: on July 28, 2009 the City Council (acting as the Board of the Redevelopment Agency) accepted our proposal to develop the now-vacant lot on the corner of J and 3rd Str. See the City of Davis RFP site for project documents. Habitat for Humanity Yolo County also submitted a proposal. Both organizations do very valuable work and can help advance the city's low-income housing plans. The support of neighbors and the proximity to the existing J Street Co-op may have lead Council members to recognize that this is a precious chance to meet the overwhelming demand for cooperative housing in Davis. If you would like to get involved in this project, do get in contact with us at []!

Looking for ways to learn more or become involved?

  • Consider becoming a community director. Community directors are people from the greater Davis community that are interested in being involved with cooperatives, and want to offer their advice to make the association better and stronger. The basic time commitment involves attending one board meeting (2-3 hrs) per month. If interested in knowing more contact the SCHA at 753-7657 or 753-3039 or email us.
  • Come to a community dinner at Sunwise Co-op at 6:30 M-Thurs or J Street Co-op at 7pm. Give us a call ahead of time to give the cooks a heads up. Like having excellent home cooked multi-course local organic veggie and vegan food with friendly company? Become a regular and board at Sunwise or J-st. Contact the houses for more info.
  • Let the houses know if you're looking to move in and find when the next spots become available!
  • Join SCHA and other cooperative communities in the DCCN.

The Houses

J Street Co-op Sunwise Co-op Cornucopia Corner Cooperative

SCHA & the Domes

The SCHA board now manages the Domes cooperative on behalf of the University, on a five year lease. This story is wonderfully told in beautifully illustrated children's book format.



1964 - Village Homes design by Michael and Judy Corbett begins.

1970's - Students at Agrarian Effort and Davis Student Coop at the UC Davis campus meet to discuss post-graduation cooperative housing opportunities in the Davis community.

1978 – Those students connect with Michael and Judy Corbett to create permanently affordable, cooperative housing in the newly forming Village Homes. They agree and Co-signed the original financing for the Sunwise Co-op.

1979 – The Solar Community Housing Association (SCHA), a tenant-controlled non-profit organization, was founded to control the property, expand the amount of affordable housing, and educate people about environmentally-sensitive lifestyles.

1979 – Sunwise Co-op occupied.

1981 - Village Homes Construction completed

1980s – Home prices in Village Homes climb steadily. The Davis Art Center moves to Central Park, donating the old center located at 234 J Street to SCHA. A group of volunteers raises a new roof and retrofits the building to serve as a cooperative. Refinancing Sunwise Co-op helped to pay for this expansion.

1987 – J Street Cooperative occupied.

1992 – SCHA pursues further expansion with Homestead Concept to serve single parent households.

1992 – SCHA secures donation of an old house in downtown Davis that was going to be demolished to make way for a hotel. It was moved on the streets to a holding site in East Davis.

1993 - Another house was moved to the holding area. A "homestead" of buildings clustered around a court was proposed, and a land dedication from the City in an east Davis infill development was sought.

1995 – Foundations poured for 2 relocated homes and new structures.

1996 – The two old buildings were moved, rehabilitated, re-roofed, skylighted and otherwise enhanced with a variety of recycled plastic, steel and aluminum components. The new "common house," with enough kitchen and dining space for the community to share meals, was constructed with a passive solar design.

1996 – Homestead Co-op occupied.

2006 – It becomes clear that Federal funding requirements, the needs of single-parents and other challenges made the Homestead Cooperative a social and financial liability to SCHA. The property was sold to the Community Housing Opportunities Corporation and Yolo Community Care Continuum to better serve the community.

2007 – SCHA decides to refocus on their proven model of 7-10 person cooperative households operating without government subsidy and begins exploring expansion opportunities.

2008 – SCHA looks deeply into two expansion projects, exploring the possibilities of purchasing homes on the open market. The high cost of housing prohibits further expansion.

2009 – City of Davis posts RFP to develop lot across from existing J Street Cooperative with houses moved from B Street. SCHA decides to pursue this project and puts forth a proposal to the City of Davis.

2011 - New residents finally move into new co-op houses. Residents consense on naming them Cornucopia Corner Co-op.

From 1970s through 1996

by DougWalter:

Student housing cooperatives have a strong tradition on the West Coast, most particularly at UC Berkeley. Davis, in the 1970's, had nothing as well-established as the Berkeley co-ops, but there were the Davis Student and Agrarian Effort Co-op. Each was housed in old buildings into which the University was not pouring investment (They're still in the houses, along with Pierce Co-op; I've little idea if the maintenance and investment situations are better or worse.)

A group of students believed that they could extend cooperative housing, and have more control over their ultimate destiny, if they could secure ownership of an off-campus site. These folks were able to connect up with Mike and Judy Corbett, who were in the process of developing the innovative Village Homes subdivision in 1978. The Corbett's liked the idea of permanently-affordable housing in their neighborhood, owned by an organization, and they co-signed the original financing for what was to become the Sunwise Co-op. SCHA, a tenant-controlled non-profit organization, was founded to control the property, expand the amount of affordable housing, and educate people about environmentally-sensitive lifestyles.

Sunwise was truly a community-built project. The prospective tenants hired one experienced individual to serve as the construction foreman and volunteer coordinator; the balance of the labor was supplied by volunteers. They built a structure (occupied in 1979) that incorporated several important principles of passive solar architecture — such as the water-filled culverts providing thermal mass. They soon enhanced the structure using moveable window coverings from exotic materials, financed by a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Village Homes turned out to be a very pleasant and successful neighborhood, which meant that the value of Sunwise climbed steadily into the 1980's. As a non-profit, SCHA was eligible to receive a donation of property from another non-profit, the Davis Art Center, as the assets of both groups are irrevocably dedicated to charitable and educational purposes. So, when DAC wanted to move to spiffy new quarters in Community Park, their former building at 234 J Street was made available to us. The building that housed renters in the 1950's and 1960's, but it now needed rehabilitation. A group of prospective volunteers, raised a new roof on the east side, adding two new rooms and dramatically opening up the structure. The expansion was paid for by refinancing Sunwise, and putting a new mortgage on both properties.

SCHA had now almost doubled our "number of beds," and added diversity to our maintenance challenges. But after only five years of working together in this new configuration, Directors, members, and community activists decided at a retreat to attempt a third expansion, to serve single-parent households. Pursuing this vision, in 1992 we secured the donation of an old house in downtown Davis that was going to be demolished to make way for a hotel. We moved it on the streets to a holding site in east Davis, where it was joined the next year by another, smaller house, formerly belonging to Davis Community Church. The City of Davis lent SCHA the money to pay for the moves.

A "homestead" of buildings clustered around a court was our concept, and a land dedication in an east Davis infill development seemed like a good possibility. But, although we were able to secure significant financing from the State of California, gaining control of the site took far longer than expected. We were very fortunate that the "landlord" storing our buildings let us keep them there for one-and-a-half years longer than promised. Foundations were poured in the fall of 1995, and buildings moved in spring of 1996. The two old buildings were rehabilitated, re-roofed, skylighted and otherwise enhanced with a variety of recycled plastic, steel and aluminum components. The new "common house," with enough kitchen and dining space for the community to share meals, was constructed with a passive solar design and an active "roof pond" heating and cooling system. The new community formed in fall of 1996, with a grand opening on October 3.


For information about a former housemate and controversy around his departure, please see this page.

Gardens at SCHA co-ops


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2010-02-23 00:00:21   Room Available at Sunwise Co-op (Davis)

Sunwise Co-op is an eco-friendly house run cooperatively, providing low-income housing opportunities in Davis, California. Located in Village Homes, the house is full of low-impact features such as solar water heating, photovoltaic panels, passive solar design, and composting. We grow our own veggies in a big luscious garden, and have chickens and bees. We maintain the house through weekly chores and monthly workdays, share vegetarian/vegan dinners, and make decisions by consensus during bi-weekly house meetings. All house members must be either students or earn less than 80% of median income for the region (about $38,000).

Sunwise is part of the Solar Community Housing Association, a Davis non-profit dedicated to create community and respect for the environment through affordable, cooperative housing.

One of our eight rooms will be available April 1st. We may have other openings in the near future, so contact us if you are interested in our cooperative house. We would love to meet you, share a meal with you, and show you our house.

We are looking for co-operative, open-minded, responsible and flexible housemates who enjoy cooking, gardening, and living in groups. "Meet the house" dinners are being scheduled in late February and in March. If interested, please fill out the attached application questionnaire and email it to [email protected] or call us at (530) 753-7657.

  1. Tell us a little about yourself in terms of work, school, or however you spend your time.

  2. Have you ever lived in a cooperative housing situation before? What interests you about living here?

  3. Why are you leaving your current residence?

  4. From what you have heard so far, how do you see yourself being involved in our community? What would you bring to the community in terms of technical or interpersonal skills, hobbies, etc.?

  5. How often would you be available to join in our house dinners (Monday-Thursday at 7:30pm)?

  6. How long are you interested in living here? Could you sign a year lease?

  7. Please let us know what evenings you would be available for a “meet the house” dinner. Dinners are at 7:30pm Sundays through Thursdays; please allow at least 1 hour; we’ll feed you.

  8. Do you have any pets?

  9. Please provide us with a name, phone number, email, or other way of contacting you to follow up on your application.


2010-03-02 03:50:22   I dare SCHA to post their bylaws. They won't I'm sure, they say they followed their bylaws but it's a lie. I kept a copy from when I lived at J St. and will post it when I get back to california sometime. Their response is a load of bollocks. The guilty parties know what they did and I hope they don't sleep well because of it. F*** the SCHA board of mis-directors (except for Jesse Schmidt and Derek Downey, if he joined, they're ok). Also, I am deeply saddened that all of my rent I paid in 4+ years (x2!) is going to Community Director. What a waste of money... —PxlAted

2010-03-02 17:26:47   Thanks for posting the bylaws Carl. Here is a list of the bylaws the board of mis-directors (including Carl) violated in kicking me out, not to mention California Law, which gives me 30 days, not 3. Because they hadn’t let me sign the new lease, they tried to treat me like a non-member, while treating members who had left 8 months earlier, as members still. Be warned co-opers, only be critical of the board AFTER you sign the new lease.


SECTION 1. CLASSES OF MEMBERS The corporation shall have one class of members only, and the rights and privileges of all members shall be equal. No member shall hold more than one membership in the organization. No member shall have any voting, property, or other interest in the affairs of this corporation except as expressly provided in these bylaws.

SECTION 2. QUALIFICATIONS OF MEMBERS The membership of this corporation shall be comprised of persons who are residents of housing owned or leased by the corporation or have signed a contract to do so.

SECTION 4. RIGHTS OF MEMBERS Each member shall have the following rights in addition to other rights specified by law, the Articles of Incorporation, and these Bylaws: (a) Right to attend, speak, make and second motions or approvals, and vote at membership meetings. (b) Right to attend and speak at all meetings of Board of Directors. (c) All rights expressed in a written lease agreement between the member and the corporation.

SECTION 10. EXPULSION FROM MEMBERSHIP Upon petition by two-thirds of all members of the tenants cooperative to which a member of the corporation belongs, the Board of Directors shall commence the following procedures in regards to that member:

(a) A notice shall be sent by mail to the most recent address of the member as shown on the corporation's records, setting forth the expulsion and the reasons therefor. Such notice shall be sent at least 30 days before the proposed effective date of the expulsion.

(b) The member being expelled shall be given an opportunity to be heard, either orally, or in writing, at a hearing to be held not fewer than five days before the effective date of the proposed expulsion. The hearing will be held by a special member expulsion committee composed of not fewer than three Directors appointed by the President. The notice to the member of his or her proposed expulsion shall state the date, time, and place of the hearing.

(c) Following the hearing, the expulsion committee shall decide whether or not the member should in fact be expelled, suspended, or sanctioned in some other way. The decision of the committee shall be final. (d) Any person expelled from the corporation shall not have his or her lease renewed.


SECTION 4. NOTICE OF MEMBERS' MEETINGS (a) General notice contents. All notices of meetings of members shall be sent or otherwise given in accordance with Subsection (b) of this section of this Article VII not less than 10 nor more than 90 days before the date of the meeting. The notice shall specify the place, date, and hour of the meeting and (i) in the case of a special meeting, the general nature of the business to be transacted and no other business may in that case be transacted, or (ii) in the case of the annual meeting, those matters which the Board of Directors, at the time of giving notice, intends to present for action by the members.


SECTION 3. NOTICE Notice of any regular meeting need not be given if the time and place of such meetings has been fixed by the Board. If the time and place of regular meetings has not been fixed, and for all special meetings, four days' notice shall be given by mail or 48 hours notice shall be given personally or by telephone.


SECTION 3. DUTIES OF SECRETARY The Secretary shall attend to the following: (a) Book of Minutes. The Secretary shall keep or cause to be kept, at the principal executive office or such other place as the Board of Directors may direct, a book of minutes of all meetings and actions of Directors, committees of Directors, and members, with the time and place of holding, whether regular or special, and, if special, how authorized, the notice given, the names of those present at such meetings, the number of members present or represented at members' meetings, and the proceedings of such meetings