|Re: affordable cohousing||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Raines Cohen (rc3-coho-Lraines.com)|
|Date: Thu, 21 Jan 2010 16:50:06 -0800 (PST)|
Cindy - I'm sorry cohousing seems that way to you. I know I wouldn't have been able to afford living in cohousing where I do without steps the community had voluntarily taken to limit prices on 100% of the homes, with the net effect that prices (and property taxes, as a result of California's Proposition 13) were, when I bought in seven years ago, more than 50% below area market prices... perhaps even more today. I know I qualified for (and some of my neighbors received) first-time homebuyer assistance (federal tax credits through the city) a decade ago when I joined my first cohousing neighborhood, Swan's Market Cohousing (in Oakland, CA), even at prices that were far below what comparable homes in the neighborhood (without the common house and community benefits) go for today. Note that a significant percentage of the homes there have included ethnic/racial diversity, if not through the original homeowner then through resales, renters, adoption, housemates, and the like. While some cohousing communities do have gates on them, they are mostly half-height unlocked courtesy gates, there to keep kids or animals from wandering in or out unsupervised, or to make a property line visible. The feelings I've observed in my visits to more than 90 U.S. cohousing neighborhoods is a far cry from a typical secured-access "gated" subdivision, where people choose the isolation of closing off the outside world in a (futile) effort to maintain illusions of safety and preserve property values. The only exceptions I have seen are urban communities where a locked gate is a necessity to prevent shoppers from wandering in or where the common house door is the entrance to the entire building. Note that most cohousing does NOT have a vetting process - the new homeowner is choosing to live with the community, rather than vice-versa (as contrasted with co-ops and group houses that do have selection processes because they don't have the same legal separation and protection from one another that the condominium model used in cohousing provides). Of course, each homeowner makes their own choice as to whether they are satisfied with a purchase offer, and successful communities do make sure that prospective buyers get to meet their future neighbors through meals and meetings and know what they're getting into. I've seen communities do amazing things to support and preserve accessibility. Here's one example: just this morning, one of my neighbors drove another neighbor who recently lost his vision to the hospital for a check-up; I picked him up on my way back from a meeting. If he weren't living in community, he'd have to navigate eight blocks in the blustery weather, or rely on inflexible paratransit options, or his wife would have to take time off from work. We have upgraded our Common House to add a railing on the stairs and educated the kids to prevent common play areas from creating navigational hazards. Looking back on your posts on this list from 2008, it sounds like green building is a key issue for you; since that time, several communities have come online that incorporate the latest best industry practices in finding green substitutes for toxic materials, and which include affordable units below the prices you cited. Have you checked out Mosaic Commons (Berlin, MA), ElderGrace (Santa Fe, NM), Burlington (VT) Cohousing, or Delaware Street Commons (Lawrence, KS). We've visited all of them in the last six months, and all have homes available now that may meet your needs; others may have resales or be building something new or have lots where you can build that may better meet your needs. While some folks last year set up an independent "Low-Cost Community Housing" list, it hasn't attracted a lot of ongoing conversation - you might see about reviving interest there, focussed on solutions and creative problem-solving. One positive action you (and all Cohousing-L readers) can take to get funds to flow to increase affordable options is to vote today on the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) ideas website for the proposal to support funding cohousing neighborhoods, already one of the top-ranked proposals, likely to get more serious consideration if we can bop it to the top of the list (it only takes 5 seconds, give it a "3" for maximum effect): http://ow.ly/Zbgf (redirects to the fund-cohousing item on the "HUD Ideas in action site") Our business is all about connecting people with sustainable communities (and vice versa), so please don't hesitate to let me know if we can provide you with professional assistance in this process. Raines Cohen, Cohousing Coach http://www.CohousingCoach.com/ Planning for Sustainable Communities (at Berkeley (CA) Cohousing) currently working with member communities in Mid-Atlantic Cohousing to support an incredible regional conference near Washington, DC in March, featuring both noted expert speakers and a do-it-yourself Freeform conference track, where everybody is invited to lead a session. Celebrating over 1,000 members in East Bay Cohousing http://www.ebcoho.org/ Join the world's largest communities MeetUp group and find or build YOUR sustainable community in San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, and beyond. Boardmember, Fellowship for Intentional Community (FIC) http://www.ic.org/ Launching a crisp new web design today. Take a peek and see more of Communities magazine online, explore the Communities Directory, and learn from decades of group living experience On Thu, Jan 21, 2010 at 1:59 PM, Cindy T <cindy_t25 [at] hotmail.com> wrote: > Sometimes it seems to me that co-housing is often just another form of gated > community. In addition to cost, which prevents non-homogeneous people from > buying into regular gated communities, co-housing has the vetting process. > Many communities seem to lack any commitment to diversity, and may even > violate anti-discrimination laws though I'm sure the legal advisors have > figured out how to do that legally. > > Do we need another list, or maybe multiple lists, for people with lower > incomes, for disabled people, for minorities, or for people from Africa or > China, to create a bunch of little ghettos? Or do we need more communities > that commit to the richness of diversity and learn to work out complex issues > cooperatively? It seems like the latter are sorely needed in the world today. > > Cindy T
- Re: affordable cohousing, (continued)
- Re: affordable cohousing Ann Zabaldo, January 21 2010
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