Re: Affordability
From: John Abrams (
Date: Sun, 30 Jan 2000 05:19:50 -0700 (MST)
In response to Michael Arnott's questions (some of them), at Island 
Cohousing in West Tisbury MA we committed, early on, to internally 
subsidize four of our 16 units so they would be affordable to people 
earning 70-80% of county median income.  We raised funds privately 
specifically for the subsidies (over $200,000 so far).  Rather than 
set up a non-profit to accept charitable donations, we funneled funds 
through a local Community Development Corporation, and they 
re-granted them back to us after taking a small administrative fee 

Our contributions came from three sources:

1. Private individuals concerned about the desperate need for 
affordable housing in our region;
2.  Our bankers, who discounted the mortgages for these four houses 
significantly (equivalent to a $60,000 donation); and
3.  Foundations (we have not done much with foundations, but have had 
some limited success, and are planning to do more to help raise the 
$50,000 we still need - I can share with you one foundation in your 
area that you might want to approach - contact me).

As I mentioned, we still  need +/- $50,000.  If we fail to raise it, 
it comes right out of the hide of our Common House budget (given the 
success so far, I'm quite sure we'll make it).

One of the outgrowths of this effort was the establishment of the 
Island Affordable Housing Fund, a 501-C-3 that we spun off from our 
local Housing Authority (which, as a government agency, cannot accept 
charitable donations).  The purpose of this organization is to raise 
funds for a wide range of affordable housing projects in our county.

The recipients of our subsidized houses (which are the same as our 
other houses and mixed throughout the community) were chosen through 
an application/qualify/lottery process publicly conducted.  The 
houses have a 99 year limited equity deed restriction.  We made the 
selections last June, so that the recipients would have most of a 
year to become part of the group before moving in (we will be moving 
in this April-June).  They have all become important members of 
Island Cohousing, fully integrated, hard working, excited about 
move-in  - in fact, hmm. . .  can I actually remember whose houses 
are subsidized and whose aren't?  Yeah. . . but I have to think about 

Best of luck. . .let know if I can help -
John Abrams

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