Re: USA Today Article on Silver Sage and Senior Cohousing
From: Craig Ragland (
Date: Wed, 6 May 2009 14:07:46 -0700 (PDT)
Hi Chili Head / Isolated in Indiana,

You correctly point out that most Cohousing opportunities involve home
ownership. Of course, this is also true for most housing opportunities in
general... In the United States, buyers have many more choices and more
control over their living situations. Renters are dependent on what has been
created by owners (private or public) and made available as rentals.

Fortunately, there are a number of cohousing owners that are renting spaces,
either all or part of units. The challenge of course for all that want to
live in cohousing is the limited number of available homes and the
particular match with your needs. This is especially the case when people
have particular locations in mind, other than:

SF Bay Area (CA) - Highest number
Puget Sound (WA) -2nd highest number
Denver (CO) Area - 3rd highest

At this moment, there are 5 rentals listed in the classified ad section of
the Cohousing Website:

And others could likely be found if you dig through the directory:

Its also possible for some to find "hidden rentals" through their contacts
with current residents of existing communities. Some Cohousing rentals and
purchases are filled by people who are already in relationship with specific
communities. Some communities experience very high demand, while others have
homes left vacant for months, and even years.

I'm also frustrated by the current housing and broader economic decline.

On a personal level, my wife and my "net worth" has gone WAY done, including
the assessed value of our cohousing home. This is true for most Americans.

Since we're fortunate to be in a situation where our income remains close to
our cost of living (which is very modest), we have not had to touch our
highly depreciated assets. Our highest cost continues to be our health care
insurance, which I sure hope allows us weather any major health issues that
lurk in our future.

I wish you the best of luck and hope that something good works out for you,
regardless of whether or not it involves cohousing.

It may be best for you to explore alternatives to Cohousing, especially
given your time-frame. I imagine there are some local senior centers and
other non-profit organizations that may be able to help you find appropriate


Craig Ragland
Executive Director
Cohousing Association of the United States (Coho/US)
craig [at]

Please consider attending the National Cohousing Conference. Click here:

On Tue, May 5, 2009 at 6:30 AM, Chili Head <chilihead [at]>wrote:

> On May 4, 2009, at 2:08 PM, Craig Ragland wrote:
> >
> >
> > This article allows both Comments and Comment "recommends" - very few
> > of the comments show any understanding of cohousing. I'd urge anybody
> > reading this to consider visiting the article and either adding useful
> > comments or clicking the "Recommend" button next to comments you feel
> > are useful.
> Hello!  I'm a newbie to the list, as well as a complete newbie to
> coho.  I do hope that it's OK to post to the list, if not already
> involved in a community of any kind -- but wanting to learn/understand
> more.
> Please forgive if the following is too much information ...
> My husband and I are aging Baby Boomers, and perhaps a bit further
> down the path than many our same ages (60 and 52), due to a stroke
> (hubby) and a brain tumor (me).  I read the USA TODAY article, and was
> appalled at what so many seem to think of older people.  "We" are
> slightly disabled and slowed down, but still very active and
> independent.  However, dealing with long-term illness in our home has
> led to social isolation, as well as financial ruin, despite us both,
> at one time, having been in professional jobs earning high salaries.
> My husband is on social security disability (half the normal amount,
> as the stroke happened partway through his working life), and I still
> work freelance in my profession -- none of which can begin to cover
> our medical insurance and costs.  We still consider ourselves to be
> bright, vibrant and interesting people, and feel like the idea of
> community has long perished in the American neighborhood.
> However, I am discouraged by much that I have read about cohousing,
> and whether or not we could ever find a place for ourselves in such a
> community.
> For one, from the above article, "There are only three senior co-
> housing developments in the USA."  We actually do not "require" living
> in a senior community, being quite broad in terms of the ages of
> others we enjoy being around.  However, we do think that we might have
> more in common with others who are, perhaps, not necessarily on the
> fast track in terms of careers and raising children.  But it would
> seem that senior-oriented communities are few and far between.
> The second discouragement is that it seems that cohousing situations
> MOSTLY (yes, I seem to have come a cross a few exceptions) are condos
> or homes, which require investment.  Let's just say that the stroke
> and tumor have pretty much tapped us out.  When we leave the home we
> "own" (which I put deliberately in quotes), we'll be lucky if we don't
> have to declare bankruptcy at the same time.  The tanking of the
> housing market has left us with virtually nothing, as our home was the
> last bit of investment we had.
> So, please, this is not a "feel sorry for poor us" missive (though we
> are, in fact, "poor" -- LOL).  But I am seeking answers and
> alternatives to hopefully finding a community sometime in the next
> year or two, where we might live in a community environment, but as
> RENTERS.  I have to believe that we are only the tip of the iceberg,
> in terms of people who will be needing and seeking out similar living
> situations, but just do not have the resources -- often due to medical
> costs -- to "buy in" to anything.  We would even consider trying to
> start up a community on our own, but would have no idea how to seek
> funding -- and since none of the funding can actually come from us.
> Hope I have not gone on too long.  Please just let me know, frankly,
> if this is not the place to search out the type of information we are
> seeking.
>  >> Isolated in Indiana
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