Re: rental cohousing?
From: Jessie Kome (
Date: Sun, 6 Feb 2011 08:49:19 -0800 (PST)

> On 6 Feb 2011, at 12:00 AM, Richart Keller wrote:
>> Great idea!  Would just modify it a little: the national organization would
>> be there to support local efforts (sort of like LISC or the Enterprise
>> Foundation) so that the housing would be locally owned but the technical
>> support for organizatonal development would come from the national
>> organization (including peer matching), the advocacy from the national and
>> state/regional branches, and the funding from a mix of national, state and
>> local businesses, government, and foundations.  This approach would evolve
>> to match the different functions with the most appropriate, responsive,
>> effective, and efficient level.

I am not so sure that CohoUS should try to become a national affordable housing 
intermediary on the order of a LISC or Enterprise.  But I think cohousers can 
do a better job of reaching out to them and other existing affordable housing 
intermediaries.  They raise funds from the private sector and government and 
grant or loan them, with technical assistance, to smaller national 
organizations like CohoUS and to local nonprofits such as community development 
corporations that are trying to get projects off the ground.  The 
intermediaries also help create partnerships with states and local governments 
to help smooth the approval path and secure additional subsidy financing.  
Finally, they know more than a little about securing private market financing 
and forming partnerships with private businesses.  Just before the recession, I 
think I heard in a conference that Enterprise had originated about $1 billion 
(USD) in deals during the previous year. 

If you have an interest in some of the approaches communities are taking to 
stabilize neighborhoods, take a look at and be sure to 
look at the learning center and the toolkits.  Some of the material relates to 
a specific government program, but much of it is generic approaches and 
documents that can be adapted to the specific facts of a particular project.  
Many of the items are branded with logos to indicate the organization that 
contributed them.  For example, the rehabilitation guides (which include a lot 
of info on green/sustainable practices) were contributed by Enterprise.

-Jessie Handforth Kome
Eastern Village Cohousing
Silver Spring, MD 

"Where the Community Life committee is re-forming today!"

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