Re: Are We Done with the Rental Issue?
From: Holly McNutt (
Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2011 09:39:08 -0800 (PST)
Hi Craig and others,

I am so glad I joined this listserve a few months ago!  Living in coho for only 
3 years now, I was pretty clueless about many things beyond Nyland and this has 
been a wonderful educational tool for me, allowing glimpses into other 
communities beyond my own and insights into the issues faced by all of us.  
Thank you to all those who contribute!

I especially appreciate the opportunity to learn more about what is going on at 
the national level, and I want to add my two cents about what I see as a bright 
future for cohousing.  Yes, we are in a challenging time, but I think this only 
adds to the appeal of the cohousing model. The concepts of sustainable living, 
sharing resources, and creating "villages" for our children are all growing in 
popularity in the mainstream BECAUSE of the stresses now faced by so many in 
our culture.  

I am glad I can play my tiny role in helping bring people to Nyland, whether 
renters or buyers.  Our community isn't perfect, but it is the best place I 
have lived and it is an honor to be able to share it.

- Holly

holly.mcnutt [at]
Mapleton Real Estate Group, LLC
(303) 447-2339 direct
(303) 517-4180 cell
(303) 447-8204 fax

On Feb 15, 2011, at 9:30 PM, Craig Ragland wrote:

> Who is this "we" ? The 2000+ subscribers to this listserv?
> My experience is that putting out messages and requests to Coho-L rarely
> results in action or clear deliverables - our discussions tend to wander
> and while "talking" is interesting to many, very few are prepared to move
> beyond the talk. This is quite reasonable as those of us on the list tend to
> be very busy people - many of us have full-time jobs and a good number of us
> also have rich community lives and/or major projects.
> Coho/US is a "we" that is made up of 9 board members, 8 part-time paid
> contractors lead by one salaried Exec Director, and several key volunteers
> who are working on our Affordable Task Force advocacy team, Research Team,
> 2011 Conference team, 2012 Conference team, Professional Advisory team, and
> others who volunteer in various individual capacities, such as Raines Cohen
> and Joani Blank who tirelessly triage and help address our email and
> telephone inquiries. This is probably about 50 people and many have
> connected with us through Coho-L (partially thanks to Melanie Mindvin, our
> paid volunteer coordinator). On a resource level, we've gradually built our
> budget to around 200K and are becoming increasingly effective at using the
> power of money to help focus our attention on what the board deems to be of
> strategic importance. Its exciting to see many of these people take concrete
> actions every week, some with direct financial support and all with efforts
> to coordinate their work. While it is always unclear whether any specific
> short-term action will drive the positive change that so many of us yearn
> for, I am clear that many of us are doing the best we can given our many
> limitations.
> As for driving action, my view is that Coho-L can be very effective at
> drawing individuals to:
> - volunteer for specific, well-defined tasks
> - apply for paid positions
> - consider specific offers made by forming groups, communities and
> professionals
> - learn about specific resources offered by many, including Coho/US, MAC,
> and the numerous communities who freely offer their support in many ways
> Of course, there are many less visible actions, like the hundreds of people
> who have gleaned wisdom from the many interesting and useful posts, then
> applied it to their own or their group's efforts
> To specificly address your question, I do not see it as feasible for
> "all of us who are interested in Rental Cohousing (to) join their committee"
> and I doubt that Grace intended to make such a broad invitation - she's too
> smart to grow a committee willy nilly with the quite large number of people
> who are interested in talking about it - the Affordable Cohousing Team (not
> a committee) is focused on action, not talk. It needs to remain small enough
> to make decisions about the next steps.
> I am somewhat aware of future actions which will encourage larger numbers to
> take positive action to help advance this specific cause. The team will help
> coordinate such work by making specific appeals, some of which have already
> been done on Coho-L.
> Of course, all are invited to join us at the 2011 Conference, where the
> Affordable Cohousing Team will kick off this broader, more public efforts -
> I understand that the team hopes to harness some of the coho-people power we
> will help concentrate in Washington, DC - where so much of policy is defined
> and where most of our best prospective organizational allies are based.
> Another function of the conference is to invite new people into Coho/US
> leadership roles. At the 2010 Conference, we recruited 3 new board members,
> Pam Gilchrist from ElderGrace Cohousing (Santa Fe, NM), Dick Kohlhaas from
> Casa Verde Commons (Colorado Springs, CO), and Laura Fitch, from Pioneer
> Village (Amherst, MA).
> While invitations to participate in our growing efforts by attending the
> conference is hardly satisfying to some, proximity matters - a lot. The
> board's recent experience meeting with 19 different housing organizations in
> DC did strengthen our resolve that face-to-face contact is critical to
> complement our long-distance work. I hope to see many joining us in our
> expanding work - it is a real goodness. Unlike Zev, I'm not particularly
> pessimistic about the future, but this is probably because of my up-close
> view of so much great work.
> We are in dark times and they loom ahead, but my view is that cohousing has
> a very robust future indeed and that our dark times will serve to
> dramatically expand our movement. As Zev and others have suggested,
> cohousing's future may well not primarily be about new-built construction
> using current standard practices. I strongly believe in retro-fit
> cohousing. I'm modeling this right now as I write this email from my shared
> household. Members of my community, Songaia Cohousing (near Seattle) plan
> to retrofit this building to better serve the needs of our elders. It will
> be community housing that's integrated into a thriving cohousing community.
> Cohousing's future is about this type of innovation. We need new ways of
> seeing housing solutions as we face the daunting challenges of climate
> change, inequalities, etc. Its a good thing that this can be so much fun,
> because it is also very hard work.
> Thanks for listening!
> Craig Ragland
> Coho/US Executive Director (2008-2011)
> P.S. Want to assume my position in July? The pay is $35-40K for a half time
> role - while this may not be much for the professional we hope to recruit,
> it IS almost certainly the best paying Cohousing Movement leadership
> position available in the world. Check out this Classified Ad for more
> detail:
> On Tue, Feb 15, 2011 at 8:03 AM, Zev Paiss <zpaiss [at]> wrote:
>> Friends,
>> Just curious to know if Grace's suggestion that all of us who are
>> interested in Rental Cohousing join their committee has finished this
>> discussion? What we need is strong leadership to help adapt the
>> American cohousing model to address this pressing issue.  I am
>> concerned that with the constraints on home construction and purchase
>> for most people, cohousing will not have a very robust future.
>> Zev
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