Re: Guest Rooms and Strangers
From: Judy Baxter (
Date: Tue, 16 Mar 1999 11:28:20 -0600
I've been thinking more about the issue of guest rooms and charging/asking for 
donations, accepting folks who are not friends/relatives of members.

I feel very strongly about the importance of encouraging others to explore
cohousing. And we have hosted a fair number of visitors from other groups in
various stages of development.  

That said, I know that if I ask to come visit some of you guys  (as I have
done, but never stayed in the community) and ask about lodging, I would feel
very uncomfortable, personally, if I did not contribute something to the
community.  It's just not in me to say, hey , can you put me up,  without that.
And it doesn't have to be money. So I'm really comfortable with our suggested
donation of $20 or $15 per night (and adjustments down for longer stays). It's
kind of like the old custom of a gift for the host, which some of us grew up
with.  Just my take.


 Patty Mara Gourley wrote:
 Be forewarned that you will receive lots of
> interest from "strangers" (non friends or relatives of members)
> who want to
> come and stay to explore cohousing.  We set a $25 per night use fee on our
> rooms for these folk, and are considering raising it.  Our
> priority is to have
> the rooms available for members, not run a hotel.
and Rob Wrote:
This attitude is both understandable and somewhat regretable. If all of us
in the first wave of cohousing, who have opened our homes and communities
for those who came after us had never been willing to share our experiences,
I suspect cohousing would be much poorer for it.

Judy Baxter, Monterey Cohousing Community,(MoCoCo) Twin Cities Area, Mpls.,MN
-- e-mail:      baxter [at]
        (usually checked on Monday, Tuesday, and Friday)
15 homes - 7 new townhomes plus 
        8 coop apartments               in a rehab Georgian building
(built as a retirement home in 1924 -) which also serves as our Common House
 Voice Mail for Monterey Cohousing - 612-930-7554
 web page: 

This is not in any way to find fault with the above post. It is a valuable
and true sentiment, expressed honestly and well.

There is a balancing point between giving something to help others grow, and
giving so much you resent it. Unfortunately, as a person who volunatarily
organizes many gatherings of cohousers, I find the vast majority of
cohousing people want nothing to do with giving to others trying to recreate
their miracle. In fact, some communities have completely withdrawn and said,
GO AWAY and leave us alone!  Again, this is both understandable and
regretable. It is understandable that you want to live your lives. It is
regretable in that It weakens the future of cohousing when the few working
models decide to close their doors because, quite rightfully, we are a
neighborhood, not a tourist display, these are our homes and I don't want to
be observed, interviewed or bothered with all your inquiries.

It is a lot of work to coordinate tours long after you are built. As a
group, you really get no advantage for it other than perhaps some future
buyers of resold units.

New groups, just coming into living together are often barraged with calls
for vists and tours, press people, architects, planners, politicians and,
yes, just plain tourists, eager to see these weirdo cohousers. (Look Madge,
is that one there?) It is annoying and disturbing to have strangers in your
midst, peering around, invading your cherished spaces. I recall once,
sitting in my house in my bathrobe, looking up and seeing some strangers
face peering into my kitchen window!

Guest rooms are one way to accomodate the needs of visitors while making
some money for the community at the same time. I have heard of groups that
have started charging a small fee for tours.

Yet, without some kind of examples for others, how can cohousing grow to its
potential, as a real alternative? Many cohousing residents say, Its not MY
job to help any cohousing movement thing, I just live here.  This too is

I hope we can continue to find people who are willing to give a small amount
to keep the momentum of the bigger thing growing. To the folks who have
given so many volunteer hours to the cohousing movement, I salaute you! May
someday, every town, hamlet and city have dozens of communities, warm,
friendly and sane so that, in those years in some distant future, cohousing
will just be taken for granted as how many people choose to live.

Rob Sandelin
Sharingwood Cohousing resident and tour giver for 9 years.

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