Re: Regarding Affordability in Cohousing
From: Lynne Markell (
Date: Tue, 23 Aug 2016 08:36:03 -0700 (PDT)
Good advice.  Form the group first and learn how to work together. If you 
decide to form a co-op, you might be able to get more help as co-operatives 
helping co-operatives is one the main principles.
Don't be the "owner", instead be the "organizer" or the instigator.
If you find that there is not enough interest or skill to have the residents 
manage  the housing, think about other organizations that could partner with 
you to make it happen.
Good luck.

Lynne Markell, 
Lmarkell [at]
(613) 842-5222

> On Aug 23, 2016, at 9:45 AM, Sharon Villines <sharon [at]> 
> wrote:
>> On Aug 22, 2016, at 9:49 AM, Gayle Alston <galston1954 [at]> wrote:
>> This idea around affordability is very near to my heart.  I have hopes of
>> converting a 1960's cement block motel into a solo senior cohousing
>> property in a small (pop 150) town in rural south Georgia.  My thinking is
>> that each person will have a room that is rehabbed with a murphy bed,
>> living area, frig/micro/toaster.  Common area will include a home theater
>> and cafe and 35 acres of wooded area with a fairly extensive raised bed
>> gardening operation.  
> This sounds very nice. Check with senior cohousing communities about what you 
> will need in the long run.
>> I am also considering opening up the front section of
>> my nearby (100 yds) home for common area so people can use the kitchen,
>> dining room, and den.
> This is the only thing that makes me pause. Some communities with members who 
> have a different living situation have difficulties with supposed power and 
> privilege issues. And it does make it different for you. You could feel out 
> of things and be treated like “the owner” even when you are not.
> Avoid being the sole developer. Form a group as soon as possible so you 
> aren’t the only founder. 
>> I would like to make it available to seniors like me... who are happily
>> solo but may not have planned so well for retirement so have limited
>> monthly incomes.
> I repeat, make your cost parameters clear from the outset. Construction costs 
> escalate very easily. The list of people who have found themselves priced out 
> of cohousing after working with a group for months and years is long.
>> I would like to intentionally recruit members who will
>> bring different skills for the ongoing development of the property for the
>> good of all.
> Skills are important. That is your human capital. But it has to be done 
> carefully so as not to intimidate prospective cohousers.
> After we moved in, I realized how much the skills of the individuals who live 
> here makes a difference in how the community develops. We have from the 
> beginning, for example, lacked a person who could manage the kitchen. It 
> requires both organizational and people skills. While we have a large 
> workshop, we are lacking a person who works there often and will also manage 
> the tools and clean up. Set some expectations and remind people to pay 
> attention to them.
> Sharon
> ----
> Sharon Villines
> Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC
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