RE: affordable housing, a national cohousing loan fund
From: Marci Malinowycz (
Date: Mon, 30 Nov 1998 11:17:55 -0600
This sounds like a good and timely idea, Rob. I'd like to add to it a bit: the 
position could be a paid one, instead of purely volunteer.

For almost all areas of cohousing endeavor, including most of the activities 
of the new TCN, I strongly believe that volunteerism is the way to go.

In this area you describe, though, a paid coordinator may be the way to go. 
The grants themselves should be the source of compensation for the person who 
brought in the money. The tasks you list will take a lot of time and demand a 
bit of expertise, and with a paid coordinator we could secure that time and 

Volunteers can still play a role. Some of the tasks might work well if 
distributed across a team of volunteers. The paid person could work with such 
a team.

-- Marci Malinowycz

From:  cohousing-l [at] on behalf of Rob Sandelin
Sent:  Monday, November 30, 1998 6:46 AM
Subject:  RE: affordable housing, a national cohousing loan fund

The Cohousing Network, which is I beleive a 501c3 now? has the potential to
be an umbrella organization for applying for low income housing block grant
money, which it could then setup as a revolving fund. There are more than
300 affordable housing grant giving organizations nation-wide which the TCN
could apply to.

Unfortunately, I suspect the TCN suffers from the same malady of most
organizations of its kind, lack of human volunteer resources. In order to
accomplish a National Cohousing Affordable revolving fund the TCN would need
one or more volunteers to:
Investigate and create a report on potential funders, application procedures
and deadlines.
Create a list of worthy projects, describing how they benefit recipients.
Become educated in grant writing and applications.
Write 30 or 40 grant proposals (This is the largest time hit)
Create a program for distribution of funds received.
Create a followup program to show benefits to use in next grant cycle.

I suspect a person with grant writing expertise could add to this list. For
this to work would require a steady hand of coordination and leadership.

There are millions and millions of dollars available for affordable housing,
both locally and nationally.  In Washington State alone, 140 million dollars
was granted to affordable housing in 1997. The hard part is finding the
dedicated hours of volunteer time/work it takes to get in the right lines to
receive it.

There may be some affordable housing organization which the TCN could get
into a partnership with. But again, that takes somebody willing to put in
the hours to find that potential. With nearly 50 cohousing projects up and
running now, such volunteer energy may be available. Maybe it's time for the
TCN to ask around? In other nonprofit, volunteer endeavors I have
contributed to, I found that asking the membership usually resulted in
meeting the challenge, especially if you ask right.

A simple, volunteers needed page on the Cohousing Website could be a
starting place.

Rob Sandelin

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