Re: Diversity in Cohousing
From: Jock Coats (jock.coatsoxfordlibdems.org.uk)
Date: Wed, 3 Jul 2002 13:50:01 -0600 (MDT)
Didn't co-housing in Denmark start as "dentists' housing"?

Anyway - I am hoping that any project I can get going here can be structured legally as a co-operative. The principle attractions are that a. people ought to understand better what 'co-operation' means in terms of


"from each according to their ability, to each according to their need"

and b.  one member one vote however much one is able to put in.

Here in Oxford (a city of 140,000 souls in total) we have 1200 homeless 'households' - some are families, some are chaotic singles with multiple problems. The families in particular are stuck in a rut. They may be eminently capable of earning good money, if there was someone around to look after the kids for a while, or if they had a space to work from and so on. Then there are the thousands of 'virtually homeless' (like me) who earn a decent above average wage but are hopelessly priced out of the market and who would gladly swap the uncertaintly of private renting for some form of 'social ownership' where they had tenure.

flats where you need to them pay service charges and/or ground rentNone of us particularly want 'handouts' but there is absolutely no reason why those already subsisting on homeless benefits should not transfer that at least at first into the co-housing project and so allow us to access social housing grant. For the others we would effectively be creating 'shared ownership' type tenures. Perhaps the co-op could own the rented homes, and the common house and spaces and those who want to buy (for whatever bizarre reason!) property could own their private spaces (long leasehold). A little like buying leasehold, only you would be paying it to the co-operative that you are an equity member of anyway.

In a 'sellers' market like in Oxford, if people don't accept the co-operative principles, they can find somewhere else. As a demonstration project it will be a showcase I hope for two different sets of principles - co-housing and co-operation (which it sounds to me that some co-housing is not and much or maybe most co-operative housing isn't either).

Jock

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