|Re: wanting to start a co-op/co-housing..where do I start?||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Becky Weaver (beckyweaverswbell.net)|
|Date: Fri, 31 Mar 2006 15:15:48 -0800 (PST)|
I have experience starting a cohousing group, and living in a co-op. My recommendation is to start with a clear picture of what you want. If you want to live in a housing community now, and a co-op is appealing to you, I recommend you do that (i.e. one shared house) instead of cohousing. At least to start with. Co-ops can be any size, including much smaller than cohousing developments, and so can be proportionately simpler to start. Note, I did not say easy! A cohousing development in an area that doesn't already have cohousing will take 7-10 years to develop. So if you go that route, expect that kind of time commitment. When my group started (in 2000, and we aren't built yet) we did not really believe that timeline. Believe it! Back to the vision thing; articulate what you would like. How many people? Any particular spectrum of ages/interests/etc? What type of property? Are you willing to rent? Don't be so specific that there's no room for others to make their contribution; but be specific enough that certain decisions are already made. Urban or suburban or rural? What size rent/payments? Check to make sure this vision is compatible with reality (for example, make sure the amount you want to pay adds up to the cost of housing in your chosen environment). If you have a group of people and some want to live in the country and can pay $200/month, and others want to live downtown and can pay $1000/month, your group is not going to find a good compromise location. Better to set a focus early than spend six fruitless months debating issues that ultimately are a matter of personal values, that cannot be resolved by talking. Someone whose heart is set on 40 acres and a mule is not going to be talked into preferring an edgy urban environment. Then, after you personally have a general vision, advertise around (grocery co-op newsletters, weekly papers, create a website) for some people who have compatible visions. Hold regular, low-key but agenda-driven, goal-oriented meetings. Building and maintaining strong relationships is a valid meeting goal; "goal-oriented" doesn't mean "all business." Stay open to new ways of looking at things, but remember that common goals are necessary to create a cohesive group. For the majority of people drawn to community living, those with a healthy sense of give and take, working together toward your common goals creates the kind of purpose and trust you will need to live in community. On the other hand, some people are drawn to "community" because they want someone else to do everything for them. A good way not to appeal to people like this is to give everybody action items right from the start. Energy-leech types tend to evaporate in the face of a cheerful, friendly expectation that they want to make themselves useful. Pay a lot of attention to the financial aspects. If you can't buy a house right away, or maybe even if you can, consider forming a co-op in a rental building with the goal of eventually buying either that or another building. Once you have a cohesive community, you will have a lot more resources to do amazing things like buy a building or some land. So build the visions, processes, and relationships first. Build up a track record of paying the bills on time and resolving conflicts as they occur. Good luck! Becky Weaver Central Austin Cohousing/Kaleidoscope Village Austin, Texas www.austincohousing.org Where we are looking forward to our consensus training workshop this weekend!
wanting to start a co-op/co-housing..where do I start? toasty warm, March 30 2006
Re: wanting to start a co-op/co-housing..where do I start? Craig Ragland, March 31 2006
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- Re: wanting to start a co-op/co-housing..where do I start? ken, March 31 2006
- Re: wanting to start a co-op/co-housing..where do I start? Becky Weaver, March 31 2006
- RE: wanting to start a co-op/co-housing..where do I start? Rob Sandelin, March 31 2006
- Re: wanting to start a co-op/co-housing..where do I start? Craig Ragland, March 31 2006
- RE: wanting to start a co-op/co-housing..where do I start? Victoria L. Pilkington, March 31 2006
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