giving/sharing/income diversity
Date: Fri, 26 Aug 94 17:22 CDT
Re: giving/sharing/income diversity
on  Thu, 25 Aug 1994  Rob Sandelin wrote:
        (Mike Adams  wrote:

>Allocating  resources ( like housing ) by price is efficient only if 
money can act as
>a proxy for the utility that someone will get from what is bought.  But
>if in the same community you have families with four children living in
>two bedroom units because that is what they can afford, and childless
>couples living in four bedroom units, I think that it can effect the
>dynamics of the community.
Rob wrote:

=My experience differs. One of my neighbors at Sharingwood is a 
=millionaire.  Another neighbor is barely making ends meet working 2 jobs.  
=that often projects come up which we could assess out to the 
=whole membership, such as our playground or basketball hoop or when we 
=bought our chipper.  Instead we first solicit donations and pledges and 
=this usually suffices.  Does this mean that some people put in lots of 
=money and others put in none? Yep. Does this cause a problem? Nope. Why 
=not? Because it's voluntary.  When we choose to look for donations 
=first we do so in order to let people contribute in the ways that best 
=meets their needs. Its OK not to give if that causes problems and we 
=reinforce that.  
        At Monterey we have done some of this (we haven't quite that range of
incomes,  ours probably range from approx $6000/year for two to $80-$100,000.)
We have paid for outside consultants for conflict resolution by donation, and
talked of that for some other possible common house expenses.

=We are funding the first phase of our commonhouse with voluntary loans 
=from the existing membership. An assessment of $2,000 was charged to 
=everyone and some people have loaned as much as $25,000 to the 
=community with no guarantee of payback.  Why? Because they want to. And 
=because they can.  ... We have created a place where 
=people can freely give donations to the community.  

        Simlarly, I can't face getting into all the complexities of our loans, 
But, our original earnest money and downpayment were both collected on a "what
you can afford" basis.  We bought the original property with $100,000
downpayment, $79000 from the residents and the rest in loans from non-resident
members.  As one of our members keeps reminding us, only the residents are
formally liable for the mortgages, which for a while we didn't realize, but I
think morally we feel that we are all in this together.  The result of all this
is that people who couldn't qualify for a mortgage are now shareholders in the
coop. We are similarly financing pre-construction development from loans from
mostly members, some non-members - again, as freely given (well, not totally,
we require new members to give at least a minimum loan of $1500).

        And people contribute - a media center, a cuisinart, plants, glasses,
dishes, etc, for common use.  Some is given, some is "shared" - by agreement,
meaning that conditions of use are specified, community may agree to pay for
repairs (or piano tuning), but ownership may remain with the individual.  So I
was able to use a tent camper last summer.  

        I think the issue of pricing homes is more complex, tho, partly because 
amount of money is so much greater, and also because the loans make it a long
term commitment.  We are pushing limits of most of us, so it gets tricky.
I haven't time for more
Judy Baxter, Monterey Cohousing Community, (MoCoCo)
Twin Cities Area, Minneapolis/St.Paul Minnesota
e-mail: baxter [at]

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