Re: Seeking Co-Housing
From: Raines Cohen (
Date: Thu, 5 Sep 2013 15:04:56 -0700 (PDT)
Nicole -

Welcome to cohousing -- and thanks for reaching out. This list mostly
consists of longtime community residents, community organizers, and
community seekers, so there's a wealth of wisdom to be found about the
movement, the process, and the communities we call home.

While most homes in most US cohousing neighborhoods owner-occupied (with
some renting out homes or rooms), it sounds like you may actually be
looking for what some of us are starting to call cohouseholding, shared
living within a single home.

You can learn more about this concept at the national website, started by a
former Cohousing Association national director:

(I'm on the advisory board, but I don't get paid a referral fee or
anything... it's an emerging movement, trying to find best practices for a
mix of new and traditional habits)

If it is indeed cohousing you are looking at, learn more about the
California options at the Cohousing California website at:
You'll find communities up and down the Central Valley, in the foothills,
North Coast, North Bay, East Bay, Peninsula/Silicon Valley, Santa Cruz, and
Central Coast.

and in the San Francisco Bay Area (a hotspot, as Carol mentions) via East
Bay Cohousing, our 2300-member-strong MeetUp group that casts a wide net
and includes many group houses, co-ops and cohouseholding, since so few can
afford market-rate homeownership in this region:

Note that there are now some rental and permanently-affordable homeowner
cohousing neighborhoods in Northern California, but openings are rare and
in some cases they have wait lists that are long or very narrow ranges of
income and assets that you need to fit to qualify.

If you need additional connections, introductions and support, that's what
my wife Betsy Morris and I love to do, but there's no substitute for
getting to the area, visiting communities, and building relationships; when
openings occur, they tend to be filled relationally, not transactionally,
so being on waiting lists or expressing interest is not nearly as valuable
as meeting people and having a history of positive interactions and shared
connections, as well as being transparent about your needs.

Definitely browse the directory at the national website to
learn about the many communities in Portland and throughout Oregon, some of
which can be more affordable than California homeownership.

Since most people in cohousing are paying market-rate purchase prices for
their homes, they can rarely afford to personally subsidize rent or offer
work exchange opportunities. You might also look at the broader range of
intentional communities, some of which have different economic models or
community businesses that can find value in what you have to offer.

Raines Cohen, your Cohousing Coach

 still basking from co-riding the "Cohousing Coach" bicycar (the recumbent
bike side-by-side "talking tandem" featured in the movie Within Reach and
seen at last year's national cohousing conference) up the freshly-opened
Alex Zuckerman memorial bike-ped path on the new San Francisco-Oakland Bay
Bridge Eastern Span this week with my Berkeley Cohousing neighbor Alice,
and having hundreds of people see us and the banner and shout out
recognition of and support for cohousing. It doesn't hurt that thousands of
cars in the adjacent oncoming traffic lane, on their first commute home
from SF over the new span, saw the sign as well, and we got featured in the
San Jose Mercury photo album, among other places... See the @cohousing
Twitter feed for links.

On Wed, Sep 4, 2013 at 3:30 PM, Nicole Pyles <nicolempyles [at]> 

> Hey everyone!
> My name is Nicole and I am emailing for both my mom and I (I'm 26, she's
> 63). We are hoping to find a co-housing situation in California, ideally
> the Bay Area or West Los Angeles (both cities we have family - neither
> family member in these areas are in situations where they can bring anyone
> in to live with them, just as an FYI). We would also consider Southern
> Oregon or Portland.
> We can afford a reasonable rent amount, but also if anyone offers are work
> exchange/partial work exchange scenario, that would be even better.
> We are non-smokers, no health issues at all, and get along very well. More
> than just the financial situation, we are looking for a co-housing
> situation as it is a lot less isolating than how we are living now (we
> don't have a lot of family, just my two older brothers in these two areas).
> Anyways, I hope I have done this right and any leads or opportunities would
> be greatly appreciated.
> Thank you!
> Nicole
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