Re: Cohousing Benefits Presentation -- any ideas?
From: Ann Zabaldo (
Date: Thu, 26 Mar 2015 05:28:21 -0700 (PDT)
Hello Emilie and all —

I have lots of ideas.

What you are asking for is something I’ve been championing forever.  This is 
the information we need to make housing policy, for marketing, and for making a 
case for building cohousing before planning commissions, boards, etc  We have 
tons of anecdotal information.  What we need are data.  Solid data.

CohoUS through its Research and Writers group is well positioned to collect 
data and PUBLISH information for all of us to use.

What CohoUS needs and R&W in particular needs, is financial support to get this 
information for all of us to use.  Wouldn’t it be great to go before a planning 
commission and say “Cohousing reduces latch key kids by ____%.  Living in 
cohousing increases a sense of well being by ____%.  Cohousing reduces the 
calls for municipal intervention (e.g. calls to police for barking dogs) by 

I would love this info.

We can get this info by supporting CohoUS and R&W financially.  

What most people on this list may not know or understand is that CohoUS exists 
on an almost totally anorexic voluntary budget — I don’t even know what the 
figure is — plus whatever it makes through ads on the website and its 
conferences.  This conference in Durham is the first in 2 years.  For any of 
you who have headed up a non profit … this is really an awkward way to fund an 
organization with as big a mission as CohoUS.

What can you do?  
— Volunteer to head up a project that will benefit you and everyone in 
cohousing.  (Need a project?  Here’s one:  pick a subject in cohousing that 
interests you — any subject — comb through the Coho-L archives and compile 
people’s remarks and develop a “best practices” list for that subject.  This 
would make an excellent research subject for a student!)  
— Make a substantial  financial contribution targeted to R&W.  
— Help develop ways to get CohoUS financially stable.

—Come to the conference and be ready to pitch in afterwards to push the 
organization forward.

I’m sure Alice as CohoUS director can add to this list!

With an almost totally volunteer organization, the organization works because 
WE work for it.  We make it happen. CohoUS and cohousing will continue to  
cruise along doing its best to get done what it can.  It will make a major leap 
when it is supported financially.  If you have any professional background in 
non-profits I’m sure Alice and the board will be delighted to have you work 
with them.

Meanwhile, when you ask for data … you might have to generate it yourself.  
This is not necessarily a bad thing.  Help out where you can!


Best --

Ann Zabaldo
Takoma Village Cohousing
Washington, DC
Principal, Cohousing Collaborative, LLC
Falls Church, VA

On Mar 25, 2015, at 1:52 PM, Emilie Parker <emilie.v.parker [at]> 

> Thanks, Alice, for the helpful suggestions and for recommending I post this
> on [C-L].
> Where can i find statistics and such about cohousing benefits?  I need info
> on how cohousing is beneficial -- not just for residents.  We are
> developing a presentation that we can use when we present an offer on the
> land which includes trying to get the sellers onboard with helping us.
> Kinda of like an investor pitch.
> Thank you,
> Emilie
> -----------------
> Emilie Parker
> emilie.v.parker [at]
> 303-317-4558 <file://localhost/tel/303-317-4558> main
> 240-350-8533 <file://localhost/tel/240-350-8533> cell
> Reply:
> Alice Alexander 9:45AM  3/25/15
> Emilie, in an ideal world, I'd mail you lots of resources, and a ready-made
> presentation - but I really don't have anything that concise! Most of our
> presentations are geared to benefits for the cohousers, although we talk
> about benefits for society (that "building resilient neighborhoods"). This
> Report of Survey of Cohousing <> [
> has a section on benefits of cohousing that goes beyond member benefits and
> touches on societal benefits.
> The research has been haphazard at best (Coho/US doesn't have resources to
> fund; and it's so small as a housing/lifestyle choice, academic
> institutions haven't focused as yet). I remember reading a study from
> perhaps 2008 - but now can't find - that indicated cohousing promotes
> sustainable practices - not just that cohousing attracts people with that
> interest and likely behavior but that the structure of cohousing
> facilitates/encourages more sustainability.
> Lots of anecdotal evidence that cohousing
> - reduces energy costs, not just in building facilities, but in less spent
> on transportation of private cars (as simple as reporting that a cohouser
> went from 4 tanks of gas in a month to one) - that also implies less stress
> on transportation structures
> - reduces health care costs by (1) keeping folks healthier in the first
> place (2) when there is a health issue, supporting the person so they get
> back on their feet and don't land in a nursing home and (3) maintaining
> folks aging in community/place much longer
> - growing up in community produces young adults who appear to be more
> educated and "productive" (that's subjective of course, but translates to
> *working,* and working in higher level jobs)
> - increases civic engagement, which benefits communities/societies
> - cohousing maintains market values better than the general housing market
> with a lower than average default rate (there is a study out there, but not
> readily available - this is an area that Coho/US is exploring investing in)
> Emilie, you could also post this request on coho-l, since it could be that
> others have created such presentations - and we could package them up as a
> resource on the website! See, we are all a work in progress. I hope this is
> helpful, and I'd like to do more. Please stay in touch on this.
> Alice
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