Making Cohousing Affordible
From: Zev Paiss (
Date: Fri, 28 Dec 2012 12:49:28 -0800 (PST)
Dear Cohousing Friends,

I live in the Nomad Cohousing Community in Boulder, Colorado and 7 of the 11 
homes in our community are permanently affordible. This cam about because of a 
number of events but the most important aspect to understand is that home can 
be made affordable in two ways. Subsidy can be received from external sources 
like the developer, foundations, municipal entities like City, State, or 
Federal programs or individuals, or subsidies can be build internally so that 
the more expensive homes contribute towards the less expensive homes.

The internal subsidy is by far the more common route since external sources are 
increasingly limited and can take huge amount of time to research, apply for, 
and receive.

For example, when Nomad Cohousing was built in 1996-1997 the $2,000,000 project 
received a total of $75,000 from the City to reduce the purchase price of the 
three low-income homes in our community by $25,000 each. We also have 4 
middle-income homes, but those were made affordable by the developer reducing 
their profit and the market-rate homes absorbing the land cost for those homes.

One of the ways project can more easily absorb this internal price shifting is 
to offer a variety of home sizes within the communty. Here at Nomad our 11 
homes range from 675 sq. ft. all the way up to 2400 sq.ft. This variety allows 
for a wider variety of building costs and can more easily adapt to the 
necessary cost shifting needed to help insure that at least some of the homes 
are more affordable.

I hope this is helpful and I would be happy to answer additional questions if 
you like.


Zev Paiss
zev [at]

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