|CoHousing for currently homeless households||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Joani Blank (jeblankic.org)|
|Date: Mon, 11 May 1998 02:10:56 -0500|
Some odd thoughts on this subject: Problem: It can be very difficult to involve future residents in the planning, particularly if there is a long time gap between the start and the projected finish date. And participatory design is a very important component in cohousing. One potential solution: Make participation in some of the late stage planning a requirement for future occupancy. If you want earlier involvement, ask currently homeless or recently homeless people from the area where you are working/building to advise you. Problem: A lot of financing for affordable housing requires that a non-profit developer build the housing first and only then make it available on a first-come, first serve basis to households within fairly inflexible parameters of eligibility. One potential solution: Find a non-profit private developer with lots of financial resources of its own so that it can pick and choose who will live there based on the desire of those households to truly participate in the self-management of the community. Problem: No serious money available for major retrofitting or new construction. One possible solution Buy an existing small apartment building (perhaps 8 to12 units) and convert one preferably ground floor unit into a common house. Rip out all the walls (except the bathroom) perhaps using sweat equity or enlisting the help of Habitat or a volunteer group, to make one multipurpose room with kitchen. (if the place is big enough, keep a separate area for young kids.) Give residents enough money to modestly furnish the space, but require that they make the decisions about how to go about doing that with the resources they have. Guide them in programming the space and also have them plan and manage paying for common utilities and for common kitchen expenses. Even if the agency actually has to fund this, the decisions about managing the physical space and the expenditure of money can be left in the hands of the residents. Joani Blank Doyle Street and Old Oakland CoHousing (Bay Area, CA)
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