Development Financial Structure
From: Casey Morrigan (
Date: Mon, 18 Nov 2002 08:59:08 -0700 (MST)
We joined a cohousing group right at the time we needed to put in money.  So
we did not spend more than a year and a half in meetings before it got
built.  I am SO grateful for that.

I didn't know there was a trend in getting money up front.  Can someone tell
me more about the nature of the trend?  I think it's a great idea, if it's
happening.  There are all kinds of ways for cohousing to get built - why not
try something different.

The years-long planning has some big drawbacks.  I do think getting
cohousing built quickly is important -for me, that is.  If you have a long
planning process with no financial commitments, then perhaps your group
selects for people who can tolerate long planning processes with no
financial commitment. Asking for money up front might not discourage
community building - maybe it encourages community building by those willing
to put money up front.  We all lend both our time and our money long term to
cohousing.  The only question is, for how long and for what payback.

Here is a slightly different topic.  Linked with our own group's long
planning process was a meeting culture that allowed us to have long (day
long, sometimes) meetings.  It was a separate but I believe related
phenomenon.  While this had some up side for some, all were exhausted and
couldn't go on with it.  The group made an effort to change and it did. This
occurred very soon after we joined the group.  I watched the group very
closely through the process as well as participating in the change.  It was
clear that I was witnessing a major group decision.  My own decision to stay
with the group hinged on how seriously the group took its commitment to
change how it conducted meetings.  Because I knew I could not realistically
participate in a group that allowed 7-hour business meetings.  And I knew
that any group that could be so open to change and work to create it, would
be a group that I could be in.

Casey Morrigan
Two Acre Wood, Sebastopol, California

-----Original Message-----
From: cohousing-l-admin [at]
[mailto:cohousing-l-admin [at]]On Behalf Of Elizabeth Stevenson
Sent: Sunday, November 17, 2002 12:03 PM
To: cohousing-l [at]
Subject: Re: [C-L]_Development Financial Structure

I think the demand for money right away discourages community building. We
are an extreme example, but some of our members didn't know if they would
have the money to buy until months before move in. And this, after being in
the group for almost five years!

It could lead very easily to the group falling apart, IMO, since it would
scare away lots of potential members and you might not be able to get all
the financing you need anyway. Why should strangers have to pony up cash for
something that may never come to fruition? Giving people money requires
trust, and you need to build community to have trust.

This getting money up front trend is disturbing to me. The very people
responsible for bringing cohousing to the rest of the world, Chuck and
Katie, are involved in a new group that requires people to pay up after only
THREE MEETINGS. This is insane. Let's assume they accomplish their goal of
getting this built quickly with this strategy. What will they have? Very
nice houses in a "good" neighborhood. That is all. And homogeneous? You bet.

I'm not saying it takes five years to build a community, or that it should.
But if your only focus is on getting money, you can't build community.
Getting it built fast is not the be-all and end-all of cohousing.
Liz Stevenson
Southside Park Cohousing
Sacramento, California
tamgoddess [at]
> From: Sharon Villines <sharon [at]>
> Reply-To: cohousing-l [at]
> Date: Sun, 17 Nov 2002 22:40:13 -0500
> To: "cohousing-l [at]" <cohousing-l [at]>
> Subject: Re: [C-L]_Development Financial Structure
> On 11/17/02 11:26 AM, "Diana Porter" <porterd [at]> wrote:
>> Does this upfront money discourage  too many people from considering
>> co-housing?
> Yes, because very few people have the spare cash to float in limbo for the
> length of time it takes to get a project off the ground.
> When you begin depending on people to be "real" in terms of being able to
> support the project, you need to know if they can be mortgage approved.
> may already own a home and will not want to sell their home until they are
> ready to move into their new home. They may have adequate income but not
> enough money to loan the project money for an indeterminate period of
> Sharon
> --
> Sharon Villines
> Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC
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