Work [was What's a member, and what's an adult?]
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Tue, 3 May 2005 06:19:54 -0700 (PDT)

On May 3, 2005, at 7:48 AM, Maggi Rohde wrote:

What did your group decide about who is required (or encouraged) to do work?

Oh, also, what about renters or other long-term visitors?

Making decisions about work seems to be the hardest thing for cohousing groups. People who are interested in EcoVillages and permaculture communities seem much more willing and able to be very clear about work requirements. As one person stated, they would "rather be right than diverse, flexible, accommodating, or inclusive." They have a mission to fill and they want everyone in their group to be committed to that mission. Work is commitment.

At Takoma Village we have had a fair number of renters. The general feeling is that we want renters to participate fully in the community. People who lease whole units, on the whole, have been more active than our least active owners. Other renters vary. They are roommates who have varying commitments to the community. Some are just renting rooms 2-3 nights a week (commuters), some are doing fellowships for 6-12 months, some are au pairs, and some are significant others. There seems no way to predict who will be active and who will not. Some people just jump right in and others we never see. I've literally never seen the man who has been renting a room 3 nights a week for 5 years. I know a lot about him because of email contact but I have no idea what his hair color is.

But in general we have been very "flexible" about work commitments so renters follow the same pattern as owners. On again, off again. We are currently working a time budget and a proposal to "play or pay" but it hasn't been accepted yet and has a few strong doubters.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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