|Re: achieving income and other diversity goals||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: patjavcc (patjavccaol.com)|
|Date: Thu, 3 Aug 2006 06:31:15 -0700 (PDT)|
Hello, Providing ways to get economic diversity in cohousing was one of our biggest goals here in Boston's JPCohousing, (one year move in this June.) Of our 30 units, we have 15 very low, low, and mod income households (based on the HUD guidelines for affordability). The other 15 households are considered 'high' income by these guidelines. There are some important things to do at the onset: 1) Make an absolutely no customizations rule. Once your design committee comes up with the basic plans and materials, even if you have a household who will pay cash in advance, they should not be permitted to get special cabinets, fixtures, etc. until after they move in. One of the keys to keeping the overall costs down, is to not allow the delays that happen because of customizations. 2) Allow qualifying households to pay a lessor percent to become an equity member, and allow those households to make payments toward this goal, instead of requiring full cash deposits. (At JPC, equity costs were 7% of estimated unit purchase price, 5% for low income - payment plan available.) To make up the cash shortful that may occur, provide interest incentives to members who can pay more than 7%. 3) Build an affordability fund into your budget. Ours was a straight 50K line item. How you use this money doesn't need to be decided right away. We have in our condo docs that this fund will be administered by a sub group. Ideas for usage: assist a low income family temporarily with condo fees, assist if a household loses income because of illness, job loss, etc. Low and mod income families will be attracted to a project that has thought ahead to create such a fund. After one year, we have not tapped this fund yet. 4) At JPC we created a co-purchase option. Households were given the option to invest into a fund. The fund then co-purchased, (second or third position behind the traditional mortgage) a qualifying household's unit. The fund receives a return when the house sells, sharing in the profit of the sale based on what % the fund 'owns' of the unit. This program was very effective in allowing at least 4 households to buy units. Without this co-purchase plan, the households would have been only 10K-30K short of being able to move in. Write me off line if you'd like more info on this program. 5) Finally, try to be as inviting as possible. Tell everyone when they start to attend meetings, "Don't let money issues get in the way of you joining at this early stage. So many things can change in the next few years, including the unit prices." If you can attract and keep your lower income members involved during development, you will be amazed at the 'magic' that happens when wealthier neighbors begin to help their lower income development partners. This is something that you can't 'sell' at an orientation, but try very hard to keep the low income households interested in the beginning. We do not have the problem of low income families not participating. We also do not have the problem of low income families causing problem with HOA monthly costs and decision. I think the key reason is that many of these households worked with us for years on this project before move in. They understand the needs of their wealthier neighbors and respect those needs too. This is one of my favorite subjects! Patti JPCohousing, Boston -----Original Message----- From: phyfisher [at] earthlink.net To: cohousing-l [at] cohousing.org Sent: Sat, 29 Jul 2006 5:33 PM Subject: [C-L]_ achieving income and other diversity goals I am a member of a developing cohousing community. Because one of our values is income diversity, some of us were disappointed to learn from a member who attended the recent North Carolina cohousing conference that other communities have experienced difficulty both with implementing affordability programs and with low-income members. Here is a quote from the report. “Special financing (federal or other) to low income families] was discussed at some length at the conference in North Carolina. There is very little money for middle-income housing. Only for lower income…. There were other problems in some projects where some units were reserved for lower-income groups: --Lower income families were so desperate to get into decent subsidized housing that they pretended to be interested in community participation until they could move in, but then tended not to be very involved and dropped out of community participation. --Having really lower income people made adopting annual budgets and setting the monthly homeowners fees much more difficult." We would like to learn more about the experience of groups with relatively wide income diversity among members – how you achieved such diversity, what difficulties you encountered in implementation, and what the benefits and drawbacks are to the community. Also, we'd like to know if any groups have approached the whole issue of diversity by reserving units for any class of member other than those with low income. We've been told that such an approach is illegal. Thanks, Phyllis Fisher _________________________________________________________________ Cohousing-L mailing list -- Unsubscribe, archives and other info at: http://www.cohousing.org/cohousing-L/ ________________________________________________________________________ Check out AOL.com today. Breaking news, video search, pictures, email and IM. All on demand. Always Free.
achieving income and other diversity goals Phyllis Fisher, July 29 2006
- Re: achieving income and other diversity goals patjavcc, August 3 2006
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