From: Michael Arnott (
Date: Fri, 28 Jan 2000 10:01:41 -0700 (MST)
I'm on the Affordability Committee of Cornerstone Cohousing in Cambridge,
Massachusetts.  We own our acre and a half, most (but not all) of our 32
apartments and townhouses are sold, and we will soon begin construction. 
The questions that follow are ones I couldn't find answers to at

They all relate to information useful in making both market rate and
subsidized units more affordable.  They are part of our effort to show
the affordable housing financing community that the cohousing model of
mixed low middle to upper middle income housing and the
community-building focus of cohousing is of great value to society and
worthy of their financial support.

The challenge we all face is that affordable housing is usually created
in one of two ways: funding by developers building developments with no
public subside that are 70% to 80% luxury housing and 20% to 30%
affordable housing, or by public and private funding of all-subsidized
developments.  The affordable housing development community is leery of
investing in mixed income affordable housing because they believe the
available dollars can, for a number of reasons, create more units in
all-subsidized developments.  

The Questions:

What is the current total numbers of completed, under construction, own
land, and land under agreement cohousing communities in the United

How many cohousing communities that are built, under construction, or own
land have a subsided affordable housing component;  how many units in
each (and unit type and number of bedrooms) are market rate and how many
are subsidized?  

Has anyone heard even a rumor of a foundation in the United States that
helps cohousing communities pay their "developer's" affordable housing

Has any cohousing community had experience setting up a 501-C-3
non-profit corporation?

Is it practical (and legally feasible) to purchase some of a cohousing
community's otherwise market rate units under a less expensive limited
equity agreement at the discretion of individual buyers?  Would that mean
they would have to be co-op units?  I have only heard of limited equity
in connection with co-ops, and Cornerstone, like most cohousing
communities is planned as a condominium.  Is a limited equity condominium
unit a legal possibility?  Could condo or co-op limited equity units
exist in a condominium with traditionally subsidized and market rate
units?  Is a mixed or dual condo and co-op structure possible?

(As Americans we see home ownership as an investment as well as part of
our American Dream.  Limited equity home ownership takes the investment
out of the equation.  But a good mix of mutual funds can be just as
reliable an investment vehicle as home ownership.)

Has any cohousing community succeeded at getting a foundation to be the
owner of rental unit(s)?   

Thank you,
Michael Arnott
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