Re: affordable cohousing, etc.
From: Bob M . LKG1-3/A11 226-7570 (morrisontook.enet.dec.com)
Date: Tue, 16 Aug 94 16:23 CDT
mtracy [at] netcom.com writes:

>Affordability is of considerable interest to those of us who are actively 
>considering cohousing... 

> Cohousing, as it currently exists, is often more expensive than conventional 
> housing.  The food is cheaper.  A $200,000 cohousing <unit> will get you 
> $2.00 dinners.

  This is an issue I have been wrestling with for several years, and I think
it's an excellent topic for discussion here. Here in Greater Boston, there is
a huge number of potential cohousers who are not poor enough on paper to
qualify for any form of government subsidy for housing, but not prosperous
enough to afford the price range that is proposed for most local cohousing.
I include in this group people who are qualified for a mortgage but feel they
would be overextending themselves by going through with it.
  Martin sort of says something that I would like to clarify. There is
Affordable Housing and housing that is affordable. The former denotes a 
specific form of government-subsided housing and the latter denotes housing
that is not government-subsized but is within the price range of a high per-
centage of prospective buyers. It's unfortunate that the federal government
has usurped the term "affordable housing", because we now have to use more
complicated phrases to avoid confusion.

>If you have enough money saved up to put a substantial down payment on 
><affordable housing>, then you probably don't qualify.  It doesn't matter if 
>you've been living at the poverty level.  Officially, if you have savings, 
>you aren't poor.

  I had not heard about this restriction. It certainly would disqualify a lot
of people whose income is low enough to qualify.

>To be continued, if there is any interest...

  Yes, please continue this discussion.

Mary and Rich at mndfla [at] aol.com wrote:

> Subject: We're Looking for a Home!

> Hi, after 4 years of trying to bring cohousing to our area, and several
> months of voyeurism on this list, I am finally posting my first message.

  Welcome to the list.
  One piece of advice that Internetters sometimes forget: Unlike U.S. mail,
it's usually impossible to determine from one's Internet address where they
are. I figured out from your area code that you are in the Fort Lauderdale,
FL area. One way to make sure people know where you are is to append a
"signature block" to postings that includes one's town and state. I am not
familiar with Email on home computers (I use a mainframe computer at work),
but I think most systems can be set up to append a signature block automatic-
ally.
  Back to the subject:
  When I read the national cohousing directory in CoHousing Journal a few
months ago, I noticed there is very little cohousing activity in Florida. Why 
is this so? It seems like it would be an ideal place to do cohousing. But 
maybe not, considering that you have been trying for four years and have 
given up.

>We (myself, my husband and our two kids 2 1/2 and 4 1/2) are complete
>cohousing enthusiasts, and we have finally decided to relocate to an existing
>cohousing community in the United States.  We are looking for a non-urban
>environment in a place where there is plenty of "new-age" culture (it's got to

  As one reply has already said, this is a major challenge. If you don't want
to move to Calif., you may have to settle for a place with a much colder
climate than you are used to, or wait more than a year to move in. You also
may have to establish a temporary residence near a cohousing group, get on
their waiting list, attend meetings, and move in at some future time. 

Stephanie Fassnacht  Porchlight Cohousing  Madison, WI  writes:

>  Most of our current members can afford something in and around
>$100,000, give or take $20,000.  Most of what we've looked at so far
>has had a projected cost in the range of $150,000 - $225,000.  I know
>that there's been some discussion on the net of various ways around
>this, but I'd like to be able to fully explore the various options
>that surely must be out there.

  This is the same projected price range I have seen in the cohousing comm-
unities I have looked into in Greater Boston. You are asking more or less the
same question Martin Tracy asked: is it possible to have cohousing that is
affordable (in addition to cohousing that is Affordable Housing).

Bob Morrison

Home: Boxboro, MA               Work: Digital Equipment Corp., Littleton, MA

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