|RE: Economic SUpport in Cohousing||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Rob Sandelin (Exchange) (RobsanExchange.MICROSOFT.com)|
|Date: Thu, 21 Dec 1995 11:24:49 -0600|
Mike Mariner wrote asking if any cohousing groups provided any sort of economic support during hard times for members. I am unaware of any cohousing groups which provide, or would be willing to provide direct economic support for their members. One of the basic unwritten, but very real tenets of cohousing is economic self reliance. There are lots of work at home, or self employed folks living in cohousing but I have heard of no cohousing groups which have community run businesses which employ members. Of course I don't hear or know about everything either so I would be grateful to learn of any which do. In that most cohousing groups are set up as condominiums, with individuals being responsible for their own mortgage, it requires more direct support than in a coop situation with a group mortgage, where the group can adjust the payments of everyone a little bit to cover for a non-paying share. I would think that a group which would do this for each other would be pretty close community, more so than most cohousing that I am aware of. At Winslow there was a woman who couldn't pay her share of the group mortgage and was eventually evicted by the group, a very painful thing for all involved. (There was a lot more to it other than just the fact that she didn't pay her mortgage). My general impression is that the mortgages in most built from scratch cohousing projects are so high, that it would be a pretty big burden for the group to assume someone elses mortgages, at least for long unless you had a group mortgage. For several years at Sharingwood we had an account for the commonhouse which accumulated several thousand dollars. We paid large assessments (such as the survey, legal or road paving bills) out of this account and let those who couldn't pay right away borrow from that account. Of course now that the commonhouse is under construction, all those funds are used up. One idea I have heard about is for a percentage of the profit from sale of a unit go into a community rainy day fund. That way, as units sell, part of the profit goes back into the community and an account gets built up which the community could use as a loan fund or support or whatever. (We don't do Rainy day funds in WA, they get spent too soon....) At Sharingwood we had one person who was perpetually in economic decline, who borrowed tens of thousands of dollars from a couple of members, got foreclosed on by the bank and dissappeared, bailing on his debts to the community members. He just got hauled to court on some other related matters in another part of the state, and we all found out he owes LOTS of people, lots of money. Mr. Bad debt. So I would advise compassion and commonsense when loaning group money to help out individuals. Rob Sandelin Sharingwood
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