From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Fri, 10 Aug 2012 05:36:51 -0700 (PDT)
I received some questions off-list that I'm forwarding here because I know 
others have the same questions:

> We have work days but it's always the same people and not everyone can work.

We also have the same problem but it has still helped a lot. I would like to 
see "invitations" to attend workdays and reminders that their name hasn't shown 
up recently. 

Cohousing has to make it unacceptable to shirk work. Social pressure or bills 
are the only way I know to do that. People want to use love and understanding 
but love and understanding take a LOT of time too. That becomes work for 
someone. And it doesn't work anyway. People just want more love and 
understanding. Well, i do too, and I still work.

> P.S.  What do you think of the idea of charging people in advance and then 
> deducting?  

The EcoVillage of Loudoun County in VA does this, always has, and it apparently 
works very well. If no slips are submitted, you are automatically billed. The 
slips are just scraps of paper and the person keeping track will take anything 
so reporting is not onerous. She knows what to expect. (It has been several 
years since I contacted them so I don't know about their current practice.)

> I like it but it might not fly here.  There's just some people who want it 
> all free.  Some may be struggling a little financially but then they have to 
> speak up.  That's what community is all about.

The issue is treating time like money. Would the community pay no attention if 
people didn't pay their condo fees? (That's a rhetorical question. I know they 

At the EcoVillage they do two budgets — one money and one labor. They estimate 
how much time basic maintenance and new projects will take, the same way you do 
a money budget, and members approve the time as well as the money budget. Some 
always put in more time because they love what they are doing and want the new 
project, but no one can shirk without paying the money.

The hourly rate is not market which in Loudoun County is high. They use a rate 
they can all afford so technically the lower income people are subsidized but 
everyone is happy with the rate. A number of years ago it was $12.50 when the 
local unskilled labor rate was probably higher than $20.

This is the a key problem with cohousing but no one wants to hear about 
programs that work even if they might not be perfect.

Keep pressing,

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