Re: Affordability -- a new leaf <FWD>
From: Fred H Olson WB0YQM (
Date: Sun, 21 Aug 94 00:33 CDT
Pablo Halpern  phalpern [at]  is the author of this message but
due to a listserv problem it was posted by the COHOUSING-L sysop.

> From: mtracy [at]
> For most of us, summer vacation means two weeks of play, our reward for f
> Cohousing, as it currently exists, is often more expensive than conventio
> housing. ...

I don't know any community for which this is true. In general a cohousing 
house costs the same (more or less) as an equivalent house outside of 
cohousing. If what you mean is that cohousing is mostly composed of 
upper-middle class people building expensive houses, you may be partly 
right. Affordable housing can rarely be built without subsidies and it 
always takes government a long time to recognize something as good enough 
to subsidize.
> If you have enough money saved up to put a substantial down payment on 
> <affordable housing>, then you probably don't qualify.

This is not true of all affordable housing programs. Ultimately, enough 
people have a down-payment *and* qualify for affordable housing such that 
waiting lists existfor most programs in existance.

> Much of the architecture, design, and resulting effectiveness of cohousin
> dictated by and limited to what the banks will accept.

This last point and all of the previous points fall into the category of 
"that's the way it is." I don't mean that that's the way it *should be*, 
but that these facts have nothing directly to do with cohousing. Cohousing 
did not create these problems and I get upset when some people (not you, 
Martin) imply that the cohousing movement has a special responsibility to 
solve these and other problems.

Here is a partial list of social problems that some people expect us to 
address through our choice in housing:

        Energy waste
        Environmental distruction
        Child abuse
        Lack of affordable housing
        Excessive control of our lives by banks
        Excessive control of our lives by employers
        Poor educational system
        Difficulty finding reliable baby-sitters
        Not enough time to cook
        Too much stress
        No time to visit friends
        Lack of affordable child care
        Over-reliance on cars

Some of these issues are things that cohousing is designed specifically to 
address. Others (such as energy efficiency) are things where any 
home-builder has partial, bot not total choice. (If the bank won't lend you 
more money to put up solar panels, then you don't have total control over 
your decision.)

If you want banks to loan money for solar collectors or if you want 
government to subsidize affordable cohousing, I don't think this forum is 
the best place to address these issues (try the politics.* newsgroups). On 
the other hand, I do understand that these issues impact cohousing so I 
wouldn't be too upset to see this thread continue. Just count me as a "not 
interested" if you're keeping track.

- Pablo

Pablo Halpern              (508) 435-5274         phalpern [at]

New View Neighborhood Development, Acton, MA

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