Re: affordable, rental cohousing! (No. Calif.)
From: Marganne Meyer (
Date: Fri, 15 Aug 2008 11:33:19 -0700 (PDT)
In response to Ann Zebaldo's post:

Personally, I think it's important to combine people of many income levels and circumstances. I have no evidence of this working. Being someone who lives on the 'margin', it would be a struggle for me to feel comfortable with only a few community members funding part of a project integral to the entire community. Perhaps something totally based on donations would feel more comfortable ... but that's just me.

Please keep in mind that someone choosing to live in an 800-square-foot home (or smaller) is not an indication of that person's income. This misconception may be part of what makes some potential cohousing members balk at having homes of different monetary values in one project.

Many of the smaller homes are highly energy efficient. It's also what people are looking for who are part of the 'living simple' movement. A byproduct are more affordable homes.

Perhaps some of you here who live 'in community' currently could talk about how you would feel if not everyone in your project had the same buy-in price. How would finances be handled equitably?

Try to imagine several of these 'tiny' homes located in the same community that has the more common, shared-wall, multi-floor cohousing buildings. There are links to a few samples below. Note that these aren't all 400-square-foot tiny tumbleweed homes on wheels, but they all go for well under $50,000. is the web site of Michael Jantzen who is a member of the Low Cost Community Housing (LCCH) mailing list. His web site has links to many excellent examples of smaller, energy efficient homes. The owner of Tortoise Shell Home also is a list member.

Making an initial investment to buy a large parcel of land and to start construction is a problem for people who live on less than $30,000 a year, even though they can afford to build one of the many tiny homes available on the market.

Part of the tiny home concept is based on not including some of the usual functions a 'normal' house might contain. These include a lot of what cohousing projects share via the common house, a shop with tools, or a garden.

Can any of you envision your own community including several 800-square-foot homes?


The cohousing, small house movement

Low Cost Community Housing

At 11:28 AM -0300 8/14/08, Ann Zabaldo wrote:
My question regards the efficacy of putting all low income people into one project cohousing or not.

When I was in Denmark in '99 we visited a cohousing community that was composed of people pretty much on the "margin." The thing the people talked most about was the lack of funds to do any project that moved their community forward from its very basic foundations.

At Takoma Village we often have people of more means stepping forward w/ gifts of money or other in kind donations to the community that raise the standard of living for everyone.

It seems to me that mixing incomes has more potential for the community overall -- and maybe the larger community as well. An example: in Montgomery County, Maryland, there are no "slums" because low and moderate income housing is mixed throughout the county in all developments of 20 units or more. Now ... say what you want about the program -- it's flawed, it's difficult from a developer's point of view, it's a bear to administer, etc. BUT the county is free of slums and low income folks rub elbows w/ people of higher means. That can't be bad!

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