Re: MY economic times
From: Ingram Paperny (
Date: Thu, 3 Feb 2011 16:34:05 -0800 (PST)

-----Original Message-----
From: Kate Ben-Ami [mailto:ednavaleria24 [at]] 
Sent: Wednesday, February 02, 2011 6:27 PM
To: cohousing-l [at]
Subject: [C-L]_ MY economic times

On Tue, Feb 1, 2011 at 2:05 PM, R.N. Johnson <cohoranda [at]>  
> We don't have a set limit on how many units can be rented, but do  
> have a two year limit on how long you can rent a unit out.? We have  
> a couple of long term renters, one a roommate to a home owner and  
> one living in part of the common house. Both participate in the meal  
> rotation, and one is an enthusiastic participant in the community  
> garden. In my experience, involved renters stay long tern, and  
> uninvolved renters tend to move on. I would put in my two cents for  
> loosening the policy and not worrying too much about it beyond  
> encouraging people to find renters who are interested in  
> participating. ? I? also suspect that a two year limit is going to  
> reduce renters' investment in the community.? If the community is  
> solid, you are not going to be taken over by absentee landlords. we  
> are all doing what we can to make it through these hard times.
> Randa Johnson


My name is Kate Ben-Ami. I have posted here before, seeking a rental  
apartment in a cohousing community. I have first hand experience with  
these  hard times.

I lost my county job in August 2009. In March 2009, I had just paid  
$26,000 into the county's new defined benefit pension plan. I had  
planned to work until 2016.  Thus, having little cash reserves on hand  
when I lost my job, I had to declare Ch. 7; whose primary effect has  
led to the foreclosure of my condo on December 11, 2011.  Fortunately,  
I am receiving a monthly pension and medical insurance, which only  
came about after I filed an age discrim. complaint against the county  
with the MI DEPT OF CIVIL RIGHTS.   I was already in Ch. 13 (when I  
lost my job) as the court awarded my former  husband $1000 a month in  
alimony and $34,000 of my then 401(k) in the divorce.

I have been interested in COHOUSING for about twenty years or so. I  
tried to get my husband interested when we married in the early '90s  
as neither of has/had any family. He did not like the idea. I  
persevered (never expecting to divorce him), reading what I could  
find. After the divorce, I fully expected to buy into COHOUSING.  
However, as the financial assaults began to take their toll: the crash  
of 2008, the 95% loss in the value of my condo (169K purchase price in  
late 2005 to assessed value of $7,000 in 2009), loss of my 100k  
job....that dream turned into a daydream.....

I think you can see what I'm driving at...I went to the COHO  
conference in Boulder last summer where I talked to a lot of great  
folks and revelled in all the possible cohousing communities. I was  
surprised that there were not many rental opportunities, although I  
understood that it'll take time for the COHO community to realize the  
complete paradigm shift that has occurred in this country.

I want to rent an apartment in a cohousing community. With  few job  
job prospects (as I'm now overqualified!!!!), I am putting my energy  
into finding a COHOUSING community in which I can become involved in  
giving and sharing with my fellow coho-ers. I plan to live there a  
long time and contribute as much as I am able to.

I think that living in an apartment building where few people speak to  
each other and twice a year we have a get-together, is a inhospitable  
place for  humans to grow, let alone thrive.

I would like to move into a COHOUSING rental between mid April and the  
first of May.  The deadline by which to redeem my property is May 11,   
2011. Not only do I not have the money, I wouldn't want it back.
On behalf of other people out here who NEED to rent, have plenty to  
contribute and want to become 100% invested in making co-housing a  
great place for people to thrive;  I encourage you to review your  
rental policies and make them more welcoming to those of us who've  
lived through  the housing and economic paradigm shift and are trying  
to adjust to it's long term fallout. We have a lot to contribute and a  
strong commitment to co-housing.


Kate Ben-Ami

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