Re: rental cohousing?
From: Richart Keller (
Date: Mon, 7 Feb 2011 09:03:46 -0800 (PST)

I agree that CohoUS should not try to become one.  Actually, I was
responding to the suggestion that a new non-profit be set up to be an
intermediary. I think although the existing affordable housing
intermediaries have a considerable amount of useful experience and resources
and that there is significant useful overlap, there are substantial
differences between their basic assumptions and approaches and some of the
approaches that cohousing communities taken,   


Richart Keller, AICP
120 Pulpit Hill Road #25
Amherst, MA 01002
401 486-2677 (cell)

-----Original Message-----
From: Jessie Kome [mailto:jehako [at]] 
Sent: Sunday, February 06, 2011 11:49 AM
To: Cohousing-L
Subject: Re: [C-L]_ rental cohousing?


> 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
>> state/regional branches, and the funding from a mix of national, state
>> local businesses, government, and foundations.  This approach would
>> 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 

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