Re: CohoUS support for affordable cohousing and forming communities
From: R.N. Johnson (cohorandayahoo.com)
Date: Thu, 28 Jan 2010 10:40:34 -0800 (PST)
Community land trusts are not tax supported.  Section 8 is, but it would not 
necessarily require additional funds. People who already have section 8 could 
apply for the mortgage program instead of the rental program.  Since section 8 
pays up to slightly below median market rate for a given community, it should 
be possible to rent to people using section 8 and not break the bank.  
It is a shame that is is so difficult to obtain government funding to support 
low-income affordable units.  Most cohousing forming groups that I have come 
across have a sincere desire to include a broader spectrum of income, but it is 
difficult to raise the quantity of money that is necessary.  Many groups do 
make internal agreements to assist members with a lower income, but do not have 
the resources to assist very low income houshholds.  Many lower income 
households are discouraged become discouraged and drop out, when perhaps if 
they had stayed a way could have been found to include them.  I can see the 
potential advantages of forming an entire community of people in the very low 
income to affordable range, just because of the realities of grant and zoning 
restrictions, even if I do not support the idea of segregation by income.  
We have a couple of households who are at 55-70 % of median income.  In our 
very high cost area where people at median income are generally unable to buy 
homes, this is more of an achievement than it sounds to people who live in 
areas with more sane housing costs.  With the economy, we have a couple more in 
that boat. We've had struggles over "non-essential" expenses.  At the 
suggestion of Eris Weaver, we have moved to a system that encourages sliding 
scale or voluntary contributions towards community projects.  This has allowed 
us to move forward on projects that many of us wanted, but were not essential, 
and which would have proved a great burden had the cost been equally shared.

I hope that we are nearing a breakthrough point in terms of making cohousing an 
option for a much wider section of the population.
Randa Johnson
New Brighton Cohousing
Aptos, CA


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