Re: John Trudell and why not park models?
From: Racheli Gai (
Date: Thu, 8 Aug 2013 11:03:05 -0700 (PDT)
It's true that there are no "free lunches" (except if you are a big and ugly 
corporation), but if we lived in a civilized country, our tax money would be 
going to help people have truly affordable housing, instead of supporting the 
various industrial complexes our govts. subsidize ("defense", prisons, 
agro-business,  ...  you get the idea.)


On Aug 8, 2013, at 9:09 AM, Ann Zabaldo wrote:

> Hello Marsha and all --
> Are you talking about what we used to call "mobile home or trailer parks?"  
> These are great models of cohousing -like development.  "Manufactured 
> housing" a.k.a. "mobile or trailer homes" have come a very long way since the 
> '50's and '60's.  Now, the wheels are just used to move the home to the 
> building site from whence it never moves again.  
> Manufactured housing is an option I've talked about for a long, long time.  I 
> met a man at the 2012 conference in Oakland, CA (another good reason to 
> attend coho conferences!) who is converting a former campground to cohousing 
> and also a mobile home park.  These are great options. AND ...  as at least 
> two people have pointed out there are trade offs.  They are rural or way out 
> of town.  There are zoning regulations in most cities that prohibit mobile 
> home parks.
> I thank Rebecca Lane for pointing out that cohousing is NOT a financing 
> model.  She suggests using a Community Land Trust to gain affordability.  
> This is an excellent alternative.  BUT this is not free either.  Someone has 
> to put up the money to fund the CLT.  Generally, a municipality.  So move 
> where there is an active CLT and start a cohousing community there.
> Look.  
> Nobody gets a free lunch in development.  The money comes from somewhere.  
> Affordable housing is subsidized by taxpayers.  Your house may be "low cost" 
> or "below market"  to you but someone paid the difference between what you 
> can afford and what it cost to build the home.  You say you can afford a 
> $200K home.  How much cash do you have to fund the development process?  
> Getting a mortgage to buy a home is only one very small part of the 
> development process.  Someone has to put up the MILLIONS -- yes, MILLIONS -- 
> of dollars to get the project started.  Takoma Village in DC was a $6.5 
> million project; Eastern Village was a $15 million project.  Who put up that 
> money?  If you're just getting a mortgage ... that's great but that's the end 
> of the process.
> What I hear you saying Marsha (and others) is that you feel sad and even 
> angry at not being able to afford the cohousing communities you see built or 
> being built.  This is a way of life you want so much and yet ... not able to 
> get in the door.  Very frustrating.  Very frustrating indeed.  It's annoying 
> at the very least, confusing and angering at the other end.
> However, there ARE alternatives for you as people on this list have pointed 
> out.  Daybreak has a house under $200K.    You can do retrofit cohousing as a 
> group in the DC area wants to do -- DC is a very very high rent area of the 
> country.  Yet, this model may very well make it possible for this group to 
> create their community.  The trade off is:  time.  Since they don't have 
> money to develop a site from scratch they will take their time to create a 
> community as houses become available in a single neighborhood.    And they 
> will not be living on Foxhall Rd with the Cafritzes and Bennets.  Richmond, 
> VA is a sweet little city with every amenity of a large urban population.  
> There is a lot of good housing stock already available in the city. And there 
> is an active group there.  As I've already mentioned,  Baltimore is another 
> city that has been on a major marketing binge for many years to attract 
> people to rehab urban homes.  They have classes, workshops, financing, etc 
> etc etc.  They are set up for first time homebuyers and ready to do business 
> with you.   As a city government, they are doing everything they can to get 
> people to move to B'more.  Plus it's just 45 mins. by train to DC.  Many 
> people live in B'more and work in DC.  And ... o my goodness ... Florida.  A 
> zillion town homes for sale ... still.  Take your pick.
> I still believe that retro fit cohousing is the best alternative for being 
> able to create a cohousing community over time with little or no upfront 
> money beyond the individual homeowner's mortgage.  Plus, it's environmentally 
> sustainable in every sense of the word.  You can live in your home right away 
> and upgrade your home as money becomes available to you.
> I urge you to take advantage of this list, ask for people who believe as you 
> do to step forward and find out if there is a location of the country to 
> which you are wiling to move that is not one of the "high rent" districts 
> such as San Francisco, Washington DC, Boston, NYC,  Boulder, Denver, etc.
> Just making an intuitive leap here ... my thinking is ... that this all must 
> seem completely overwhelming to you.  Where to start?  How to start?  The 
> process seems daunting.  Just trying to find people seems daunting.  Start w/ 
> little steps -- find out who is out there, where you want to live, how much 
> you can afford, how much cash you will need ...  There are professionals who 
> are willing to help you, can save you lots of time and money but you have to 
> have money to hire them.
> No free lunches.
> Best --
> Ann Zabaldo
> Takoma Village Cohousing
> Washington, DC
> Principal, Cohousing Collaborative, LLC
> Falls Church VA
> 703-688-2646

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