Re: Selection process
From: Bitner/Stevenson (
Date: Thu, 30 Sep 1999 09:15:39 -0600 (MDT)
>     The second thread I would like to start is the selection process.  =
> We have a selection committe who have been working on an application.  =
> We are in perhaps an unusual situation in that we have more households =
> than houses planned, mainly because of a possibilty of subsidized =
> housing (pretty cool!)  So, what did any of you use as criteria?     =20
>     We have been stressing that just because a household invests money, =
> doesn't automatically mean they will be included, but there is plans for =
> a third neighborhood (ThroNg) and one or two more, so the people who =
> don't make this one could look to one of those.  Part of the reason for =
> this is that some of the potential members don't have money to invest, =
> but because of funding possiblities, would like to live in co-housing, =
> and we are looking for diversity.=20

The selection process is a real potential landmine. There was a thread about
the process gone wrong a few months ago; you should research it if you can.
In many groups the experience has been that the process itself is self
selecting. Those who can't tolerate all the work and cooperation don't stay.
But I can see where the opportunity of lower cost housing would bring more
competition to the arena. Our group just used plain seniority, and it
worked. I would also suggest having some sort of tier system, like you want
this many with low income, this many with moderate, this many market rate,
and use seniority within those categories. Of course, there would be a
waiting list and those people should be kept involved somehow. People drop
out at the last minute like you wouldn't believe. They also drop out at
critical junctures like when they have to put up money or make other

Another factor in decision making is whether or not you think they will
really "get" cohousing and participate in the community. We allowed a woman
to stay because she did the work hours required and we didn't have a system
in place to get people out who really didn't belong in cohousing. After she
moved in, she caused all kinds of hairy problems, and relations deteriorated
to the point that she nearly sued us before selling. The point is, you
should have a system in place where you can reject membership for somebody
based on their lack of coho-ness. It sounds awful, but people do not change
once they move in(they often get worse if they don't like cohousing), and
you'll be damn sorry you didn't weed out the jerks before they owned
property with you.

I'd also like to take this opportunity to repeat myself (sorry, longtime
list members!) It is really wonderful to have income diversity and you will
be heartily glad you did it. Don't give up on it!

I wasn't a part of the selection process, so I'm hoping that my reply will
stimulate more of the experienced list members to reply. The gauntlet is
Liz Stevenson
Southside Park Cohousing
Sacramento, California

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