Re: Looking for advice about enhancing our Friends policy
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Tue, 22 Jan 2008 06:40:31 -0800 (PST)

On Jan 21, 2008, at 6:41 PM, Jonnie Pekelny wrote:

I'd love to hear stories of Friends networks that work. How do you get Friends involved in your community? How much access to community forums/mailing lists, whatever, do you give them, and how do you keep those lists active? This and/or whatever other insights you can give us would be great.

I think at some point you have to get the everyone to fish or cut bait. One of the best ways to do this is to have them pay a $500 (some say $1,000) fee to support marketing, etc., that is non-refundable. This establishes their place on the list for choosing a unit when you get built and indicates some level of seriousness.

Beyond this you can require attendance at meetings and contribution to a work group. Work groups, at this point, include planning pot lucks and other social events; researching architects, developers, and design possibilities; and marketing.

At some point people have to get serious. Cohousing is dependent on participation. If people are not willing or able to participate, you can't support them in a community. You need to know this up front. And you need to send the message up front.

Normally, you will only get one person from a household to contribute time. The other will be taking care of children, tending to household chores, or not interested in cohousing. In our community, this changed once we got moved in. Sometimes the other party become much more involved and the first one withdrew, and sometimes both become more involved.

It's never too early to start forming the community in the ways it will need to function after you move in. If you don't, you probably won't get built. My 15 cents.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing,Washington DC

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