|Affordable / rental cohousing||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Fred H Olson (fholsoncohousing.org)|
|Date: Sun, 8 Sep 2013 05:35:26 -0700 (PDT)|
About a month ago there was a flurry of messages about Affordable / rental cohousing but unfortunately it was a fast and furious discussion into which crept some accusatory (you dont have enough rental) and understandable defensiveness. There were so many messages that I (as list manager) had a complaint of too many digests. I increased the maximum size of digests to try and decrease the number. But now that things have settled down a bit including several days with no messages, I want to bring up Affordable / rental cohousing again. One message that may have not gotten the attention it deserved was from Kathryn McCamant, co-author of _Cohousing: A Contemporary Approach to Housing Ourselves_ which introduced cohousing to the US 25 years ago. Her architectural firm is at http://www.cohousingco.com/ Her message has an overview of the difficulties in including rental in cohousing in the United States. The message was a reply to a message with a "digest" subject line: http://lists.cohousing.org/archives/cohousing-l/msg36083.html A few comments on her mesage and the topic: Kathryn McCamant wrote: >... general recommendation I am hearing from various sources is >keeping the total number of rentals to 30% or less will help your >community be sure that you can get the most competitive mortgage >financing rates. I (Fred) think if most communities aimed for 10-20% affordable rental that that would be an admirable goal and my guess is that is far higher than we average now. One of the observations from N Street cohousing in Davis California (a college town which may be relevant) is that some of the people with the most "newcommer enthusiasm" for cohousing were renters. They may have been in a stage of life where buying was not an option and they may have moved on after a year or two but during that time they tended to be active members. And who knows maybe where they moved on to included a more permanent cohousing situation. Here in Minneapolis amongst community activists, rental housing is viewed with some reluctance because it is perceived that renters have less of a stake in their housing and therefore in their neighborhood. But I contend that this is not necessarily the case for all renters and that if rental units are mixed in with homeowners it is less of a problem. Recruiting renters for a cohousing community becomes critical to find people who really want to live in cohousing rather than those who just want a nice place to rent. And of course it is complicated by fair housing / anti discrimination laws. A community in Denmark that was owned by a non-profit / goverment organization (it was Denmark) that we visited that had little say in the recruitment of residnets and it is my impression that this was a factor in their being a less successful than they might have been if the community had been more able to recruit members. Another community had the right to recruit members for a given period of time after an opening and the owner could market units after that period. Would it be possible to rent units on a short term trial basis to prospective members to let them and the community get to know each other better before entering a lease arrangement? I often reccommend that people exploring a community stay in the guest rooms to experience the community around the clock. Kathryn McCamant wrote: >If you are interested in rental or permanently affordable cohousing, I >would urge you to organize a group specifically with that goal and >approach the local non-profit affordable housing developers in your >region. I would hope this does not just imply a few execeptional communities with rental units. I think we would be more successful if most communities had some rental. That is I would urge all forming communities to be "interested in rental or permanently affordable cohousing". It further complicates a difficult process but I think it is important to broaden and deepen our success. Some non-profit affordable housing developers retain ownership of units as rental or have an affiliate organization who owns and manages the rental. Partnering with them to own some cohousing units seems like a viable option. Another route to affordability (tho not rental) that has been discussed here is the Land Trust route. Having a Land Trust own a few ( or more?) units in cohousing seems worth exploring. Fred -- Fred H. Olson Minneapolis,MN 55411 USA (near north Mpls) Email: fholson at cohousing.org 612-588-9532 My Link Pg: http://fholson.cohousing.org My org: Communications for Justice -- Free, superior listserv's w/o ads
- Affordable / rental cohousing Fred H Olson, September 8 2013
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