Re: Low cost housing
From: John Faust (
Date: Thu, 15 May 2008 13:46:54 -0700 (PDT)

You are right. We are not independently wealthy--at least not most of us.
However, I'm not sure *we have no choice but to conform*. Conventional
construction financing is designed to ensure relatively high profits for the
*risk* takers--the banks and other institutions that do that sort of thing.
And, if you take their money, you have to abide by the model they understand
and cohousing communities don't necessarily fit those models.

But, I keep coming back to some emerging trends like the local food
movement, the Ithaca Health Alliance, and the micro-lending world--trends
that choose to work outside the system. The local food movement is an
attempt to take back something critical from the industrial ag world that
has given us obesity, poor health, monocultures, and environmental
devastation. The Ithaca Health Alliance <> is an
attempt to provide health services to the Ithaca community because their
country has abandoned those that need it most. Micro-lending is a set of
lenders (e.g., Grameen Bank <>) who try to
address economic development in communities that have been ignored by
conventional redlining lending institutions.

So, my question is: Where are our groundbreaking institutions that
understand the value and meaning of an investment in cohousing communities?
Why are we not developing our own lending institutions--institutions that do
understand the cohousing model? I'm not suggesting it is easy but maybe
cohousers need to think about a Cohousing Bank of the US. Maybe we need to
sharpen our cohousing models so that such a bank and its borrowers have a
clear understanding or what a cohousing community is and why it is a good
investment. Maybe, such a bank wouldn't require the profits of a
conventional lending institution because their investors are interested in
more than just making a lot of money. Maybe those currently living in
cohousing communities would like the opportunity to invest their money where
it is doing something they believe in as well as make a modest return.

So, yes, you are right. If we choose to work within the system, we will have
to play by their rules. What if we choose not to work within that system?

John Faust

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