Re: Governance & Income Inequality [ was Common house design, rooms, and room sizes?
From: Emilie Parker (
Date: Tue, 10 Feb 2015 06:30:42 -0800 (PST)
That seems like a healthy solution.

Emilie Parker
emilie.v.parker [at]
303-317-4558 main
240-350-8533 cell

On Tue, Feb 10, 2015 at 6:50 AM, R Philip Dowds <rpdowds [at]> 

> First off, a couple of things I recommend (based not so much on cohousing
> experience, but rather life experience):
> Don’t presume you know much about any household’s finances.  Some
> households that complain consistently about expenses actually have more
> financial flexibility than they let on.  While other households hanging on
> by their fingernails suffer assessments in silence, trying to maintain
> their standing, privacy and dignity.
> Don’t invent a system that requires you to obtain evidence about a
> household’s financial standing (like, for instance, a review of tax
> returns).  You absolutely do NOT want to go anywhere near making communal
> judgments that Household X can, or can not, “afford” something.
> Having said all that …  At Cornerstone Cohousing, we believe (not know for
> sure, but believe) that a few of our households are indeed operating within
> very strict budgetary limits.  And these are not necessarily the ones in
> our official, public-run “affordable” units.
> Even so, a couple of years ago we agreed on about $67K (appx $2,000 per
> unit) of discretionary capital improvements, and funded them as follows:
> 25% of the cost was levied as a mandatory special assessment on each
> unit.  This was actually adopted by consensus.
> The remaining 75% was requested as a voluntary “fair share” payment.
> Basically, we said, We’re all in this together, and we all should
> contribute our fair share unless severe financial hardship results.  We
> left it to each household to determine on its own what “severe” meant.
> Results?
> Most households just wrote out a check for 100%.  (This is why you should
> not presume your neighbors are broke.)
> A few households set up a multi-year time payment plan for their 100%.
> And,
> One household said, We really just can’t pay in full — and then wrote a
> check for 50%.
> The projects are now mostly complete.  And a good time was had by all.
> >
> > On Feb 9, 2015, at 9:24 PM, Sharon Villines <sharon [at]>
> wrote:
> >
> > I don't want to pretend to be an expert on income inequality in
> residential groups. Other communities have followed various budgeting
> strategies to set up voluntarily graduated condo fees. Perhaps they will
> speak up.
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