|CohoUS support for affordable cohousing and forming communities - Soon!||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Grace Kim (graceschemataworkshop.com)|
|Date: Tue, 26 Jan 2010 14:58:09 -0800 (PST)|
I'm writing unofficially as a board member of the Cohousing Association of the US (aka CohoUS) and as an informed advocate/architect of "affordable housing" - I'm using this in the HUD defined context more commonly known by the average person as "low income housing". I've been waiting to wade into the discussion, until I had things in order. But I think this is a great time to provide some resources for use/consideration now and to offer some insights into activity that CohoUS is planning to undertake in the upcoming 2 years that may alleviate some of the barriers for participation in cohousing (either as renter or owner). Resources to research now (I'm writing very simply to illustrate these programs...please understand that you will have to research programs further to understand how they may/may not apply to you/your region of country): 1) Community Land Trusts (CLT) are one means by which lower income people (not poor, but the average working person) may be able to access homeownership. Historically these have been thought of as trusts to set aside/preserve open space or natural areas. But there are community land trusts (I'll speak specifically about WA state which is where I reside) that provide mortgage assistance for homes. These mortgages start with the individual person and not a specific project. How it works (in a VERY general nutshell): You contact CLT and work with them to determine eligibility. You purchase home/condo with the CLT assisted mortgage (I'm not sure if they provide the mortgage or work with you to secure a mortgage w/ a previously negotiated bank). CLT owns the land, you own the physical home. When you sell, you gain appreciation on equity of home. CLT is repaid equity and appreciation on land - this money is then used to assist another homebuyer for purchase of another property. Here's a link for more info http://www.cltnetwork.org/index.php?fuseaction=Main.SectionHome§ionI D=2 2) Section 8 voucher: In highly urbanized areas, higher than usual Area Median Income (AMI) may allow average working people to be eligible for "affordable housing" programs. Section 8 is one such program. With a Section 8 voucher, individuals can find an apartment anywhere as long as the renting person/party is willing to accept the Section 8 voucher. I've spoken with someone at a Housing Authority in the Seattle area and they said that anyone can become registered to accept Section 8 vouchers (and it is fairly easy to do so) - including Cohousing communities. So to someone's previous point - if there is a will, there is a way. I've not yet researched this, but am planning to do so w/ the CohoUS Task Group that has been chartered. CohoUS activities for 2010/2011: The national Cohousing association is working on 2 initiatives (among many others) that may open some more doors in this arena. 1) In 2011, the National Cohousing Conference will take place in Washington DC. In preparation a Task Group is being created to develop a comprehensive advocacy plan to be carried out by attendees of the conference. This group will be looking at ways that existing communities have incorporated affordable units, documenting those practices and sharing those with other communities. We will also be looking at ways to encourage HUD and developers to support/build more cohousing communities through policies and incentives. A job description and application for those volunteers interested in participating on this Task Group will be posted to this list serve as well as on www.cohousing.org within the following month. 2) We are also looking at how to support forming communities. While we are finalizing our action plan, some of the items discussed are "info packets" to support forming groups. These info packets would provide some "best practices" or examples of how communities have tackled/addressed the early tasks that all communities face - i.e., how to find a bank, how to create/write a vision statement, how to determine/collect membership fees, how to conduct socials, how/when to hire professionals, etc. These info packets may also offer insights for outreach to diverse communities, and how to include affordable units into a project. Another topic this group may investigate might be microlending or a coho-bank (individuals or existing communities financing other communities, etc.) We will be looking for help in writing these packets as well as general participation in this committee, so please stand by for that application process. With your help and input, I'm confident that there will be some great resources/progress in the affordable cohousing arena over the next couple of years. We hope to share progress on both these fronts at the 2010 National Cohousing Conference in Boulder (June 18-20). grace h kim aia, architect & cofounder schemata workshop | empowering communities through architecture 1720 12th ave #3 seattle wa 98122 v 206 285 1589 www.schemataworkshop.com Recipient of 2009 Mayor's Small Business Award
CohoUS support for affordable cohousing and forming communities - Soon! Grace Kim, January 26 2010
- Re: CohoUS support for affordable cohousing and forming communities - Soon! Marganne Meyer, January 26 2010
- Re: CohoUS support for affordable cohousing and forming communities - Soon! Brian Bartholomew, January 27 2010
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