Re: Cohousing's Diversity Problem - CityLab
From: Raines Cohen (
Date: Mon, 21 Aug 2017 20:47:04 -0700 (PDT)
I thought this group on this thread would appreciate the inspirational
self-description below by the residents of an East Bay cohousing
neighborhood in Oakland, California.

The community, Golden Gate Cohousing, uses a unique all-affordable-rental
nonprofit-ownership non-equity model charging below-market rents, as low as
a quarter of what apartments rent for across the Bay in San Francisco.

The residents are all renters, but they will (eventually) run the nonprofit
owning the property, and won't have to raise rents except to cover
underlying cost inceases.

By renting primarily to people with incomes below area medians, the
community qualifies for significant property tax discounts, making rents
more affordable -- a "virtuous circle." It has not received any other
subsidies; it just was able to buy two adjacent properties cheaply and make

The community crosses over into what we call "cohouseholding" (aka hashtag
#coliving) because in the quest for affordability they rent some rooms with
shared facilities, rather than all separate units per the cohousing
standard model.

We helped launch the community, which is currently expanding into the
building next-door, and look forward to seeing what it becomes.

Raines Cohen, Cohousing Coach, at Berkeley (CA) Cohousing
Regional Organizer, East Bay Cohousing / Cohousing California

Who We Are...Currently

We have accepted four new full members and three children (siblings) whose
ages are 9, 7, and 3. This number adds to our current members of nine
adults, making us 13 adults ranging in age from their 30's to 80’s and
three teenagers (two part-time). [...]

We strive to replicate the demographics of Alameda county, one of the most
diverse counties in the country. We currently hail from a variety of places
including Iran, Israel, Colombia, Brazil, Chilean ancestry as well as
native Oakland and other places in the US. This community thus reflects
multiple cultures and diverse ethnicities including: African-American,
Latinxs, Middle-Eastern, European-American, and Latin American. We are also
open to other diversities--gender, sexual orientation, ability, etc.

We are engaged in a wide range of pursuits, including holistic culinary
healing and counseling, property management, child care, teaching,
economics, agroecology, vegan cooking, environmental and community
activism, conscious puppetry, urban gardening, food justice, social
justice, animal rights, herbalism, documentary filmmaking, restorative
justice, non-violent communication, meditation, yoga, dance, music, art,
and play.

We aim to create a diverse community/family in which everyone is respected
for who they are. We are actively engaged in becoming conscious of our
privilege and recognizing oppression, how we impact others, and how we can
move towards creating a genuinely safe, supportive, and inclusive
community. Please see our list of values below.

Several of us have been active volunteering and working in places like
PLACE for Sustainable Living, Open Source Wellness, Multinational Exchange
for Sustainable Agriculture , Planting Justice, Give Them Wings Imaginary
Thinking, North Oakland Restorative Justice Council, BOOST West Oakland,
Reading Partners, Oakland’s Zero Waste, East Bay Meditation Center,
Economic Development without Displacement Coalition, Local Clean Energy
Alliance, Berkeley Animal Rights Center, and other organizations focused on
building alternatives to live sustainably on Mother Earth and in harmony
with humans, animals, and other sentient beings. We are also committed to
promoting these values in the population at large.

We hold community and committee meetings several times a month; share meals
together and socialize; are increasingly engaged in one another’s lives;
and are moving toward collectively managing all aspects of the community
and the property.

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.