Thank You, Melanie Griffin!
From: Fred H Olson (
Date: Mon, 25 Jan 2010 06:21:17 -0800 (PST)
E L Cobb <elcobb54 [at]>
is the author of the message below.  It was posted by
Fred, the Cohousing-L list manager <fholson [at]>
{html only post)
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   I truly appreciate your response.  To the one or two others that spoke
   out against the original post, thanks as well.  I suppose I am more
   flabbergasted by the fact that so few active posters spoke up than by
   the fact someone made such an assertion to begin with.  After all, it
   was here back in 2001 or 2002 that someone expressed an opinion
   against greater financial diversity in cohousing because "why should I
   use my hard-earned money to help subsidize anyone.  This is America,
   where everyone has the equal opportunity to make as much money as I
   have, and if someone doesn't have as much money, it's because they're
   lazy."  That time I was speechless, and I simply left the listserv.
   Some three or four years later, I returned to lurk, because I confess
   to being intrigued by the possibilities and potentials behind
   cohousing.  One of the good things about the economic downturn is that
   it has forced people to consider smaller housing, as well as put
   low-cost housing on the table.  Cohousers are going to end up needing
   to open the metaphorical gates to people of lower incomes if they are
   going to fill up all their units.  This means confronting one's own
   elitism, prejudices, stereotypes; indeed, confronting the myths one
   still holds about the American dream, the land of equal (and endless)


It's true that some people with mental illnesses don't do well at work and
can't sustain a good credit rating; it's also true that some can.  I
understand that there are behaviors that preclude working well in community.
Can we stick to describing those behaviors and not make assumptions about
how much money you should or can have if you don't exhibit those behaviors
or call people crazy????? The original point, that those who are poor do not
have whatever it takes to survive in community, may have some statistical
support, but certainly does not apply to any given individual and strikes me
as elitist. Excusing it by saying poor people are crazier than rich people
just makes it worse. Finally, i think the real issue is that people who are
poor or even middle class can't afford to live in many communities,
including many cohousing communities, and that's just a fact. It's not
because they have character flaws or mental or physical disabilities.

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