RE : Looking for advice about enhancing our Friends policy
From: Louis-H. Campagna (
Date: Tue, 22 Jan 2008 08:14:55 -0800 (PST)
>We currently have a category called Friends of North Oakland Cohousing, which 
>consists of people who are interested in our community and who want to be 
>affiliated >with us in some way, but who aren't currently on track to move in 
>with us, when we find and build our site.--Jonnie
Hi Jonnie,
My experience comes from another type of intentional community : housing coops. 
 Some lessons may be translatable to co-housing.
There used to be a housing coop member category inscribed in provincial 
statutes, 'auxiliiary' members or members 'on probation'.  Members of this 
category were allowed to contribute to the creation of a given coop housing 
project with the hopes of integrating as a full member and renter at some later 
date.  This class of membership offered no garantee due to a saturated regular 
member's list (in view of number of units planned).  Waiting lists were set up 
on a seniority and/or time contribution scheme.
The law was modifed a few years ago and this category of member was repealed, 
as a result of too frequent exploitation of those poor folks left on the 
outside with hopes of landing a unit, where coop units have espeacially low 
turnover (good appartments for very low rent).  By exploitation, I mean 
'auxiliary' members doing all the work, while regular members whatched on, beer 
in hand and feet uprested.  That kind of stuff.
I guess the useful experience to be gathered from this example, and my advise 
to your group, is: be upfront and be fair.   Take any and all reasonable 
measures to make sure people in your 'Friends' category understand their 
realistic chances of landing a unit in your project.
In our cohousing project here in Québec City (forming), we don't filter 
newcommers, but we are upfront about our expectations about 'emotional' and 
'financial' maturity.  Financial maturity means, among other things, sufficient 
revenu to support a morgage for the long haul.  In regards to what you folks 
south of the border are going through on the morgage market, I cannot 
understate the importance of making it crystal clear to the stary-eyed, 
neo-hippy, twenty-something familly of four, that buying a co-ho house costs 
money, in addition to time, ideas, and goodwill.
Hope this helps.
Louis-H. Campagna, Québec City
Cohabitat Québec--Coopérative d'accession à la propriété
First Green Cohousing project in Quebec, Canada ; forming

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