Re: Affordability
From: Ann Zabaldo (
Date: Fri, 28 Jan 2000 15:09:07 -0700 (MST)
Mike --

I think a lot of people on this listserv and beyond would be interested in
the answers to your questions -- esp. the first two.  Ann Zabaldo

> 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
> States.
> 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
> subsidy?
> 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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