Income Diversity in Cohousing
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Fri, 28 Jun 2002 09:55:01 -0600 (MDT)
> I have seen dozens of posts which ask how to encourage low-income people to
> move into cohousing.  I don't think I have seen any at all asking about how to
> attract high-income people. I sense a form of reverse discrimination at work
> here.  Anyone care to give a rationale for this bias?

I don't have a rationale but want to second the question (if that is
possible) or confirm the observation. I find myself in the position of the
woman who writes books on how to marry a rich person. Her argument is "The
rich need love too."

We seem to feel that the rich can have whatever they want so cohousing has
to work for those who are not rich, or see themselves as not rich --
richness is in the eye of the beholder. One definition of affordable that
flew by was housing priced at below 80% of other housing available. That
would mean a hefty price tag on a house would be considered affordable as
long as 20% of the housing was above that. Think about Beverly Hills or
Westchester County or Greenwich, CT. $450,000 as affordable?

If one is in favor of safe and secure housing for _all_, that includes the
rich. And some rich want to be able to spend their money both for themselves
and the community -- without creating a charity situation. How many
cohousing communities have made allowances for the person who has chosen to
have the $1million a year job and therefore does not have time to do
workshare but is perfectly happy to share her personal staff with the

If a famous rock star wanted to live in cohousing but needed personal
bodyguards with guns to be on premises and with her children at all times,
would they be welcome?

Corporate executives are expected to do a _lot_ of entertaining. If such a
person wanted to live in cohousing and to have a commonhouse with especially
fine furnishings and smaller private dining room for special parties that
was available to other members, would she be allowed to furnish the

The rich and famous often _need_ to live in a gated community in order to
protect their families. Would this be allowed?

Judges often have to have their children under armed guard when they are
hearing sensitive cases (mafia lords). Would this be allowed?

Do we have diversity if we exclude these people? Do they have needs for
community or not?

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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