Re: Members Leaving Cohousing Groups
From: Joani Blank (
Date: Thu, 26 Feb 1998 18:04:48 -0600
Blueberry Hill and others:

People's commitment to a cohousing group is a voluntary association. People
may and will leave at all stages before, during and after any stage from
group formation through move-in.  Usually, I think , people leave because
their individual goals, wishes or expectations conflict too much with how
they expected the group would go on whatever matters that they care a lot
about. A decision to stay with a community is a decision to buy into group
norms even though they may conflict to a greater or lesser degree with
individual desires or preferences. I can see how any individual (or
household) can find themselves--perhaps even quite suddenly--at odds with
the community on one big issue or a myriad of little ones that, taken as a
whole, make it impossible for him/her/them to stay connected. with the group. 

Of course if the "impasse" is created by misunderstandings and
miscommunications, steps can be taken to prevent or remedy that. But if it
is a matter of strong differing opinions on one or more important issues,
the group needs to graciously let go of that person or household. The
longer I have been associated with cohousing (almost 6 years now) the more
I am convinced that there is no way to predict in advance of "accepting"
new members, how good the fit for that person/household will be in the
group. Therefore, I am a devoted of fan of the "no screening" way for
welcoming new households into the group. I trust households to screen
themselves both in and out of groups. This means that there will be times
when an individual or household seems to be fitting in to the group really
badly. If it gets unpleasant enough, that person will undoubtedly leave,
even though they may still like a lot of things about the community or are
very close to some individuals in it. So be it.

Joani Blank
Doyle Street CoHousing and Old Oakland CoHousing

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