Re: ...financial relief
From: Lynn Nadeau / Maraiah (welcomeolympus.net)
Date: Fri, 20 Oct 2017 12:30:13 -0700 (PDT)
At RoseWind Cohousing (long built in Port Townsend WA ), where our assessment 
dues are around $120 a month, we have built into the annual budget a line item 
called Assessment Relief. This funds a 20% reduction in assessment for a given 
number of families, based on how many self identified as having financial 
hardship: for some years this has been 5 households, of our 24 total. The up 
side of this is its simplicity: just ask the treasurer, and unless insufficient 
funds have been alloted, get the discount. If demand exceeds supply, the supply 
is equally divided among those requesting. Another positive is that it avoids 
having lower-income members drive the total budget down to a lowest common 
denominator, cutting out funding for items valuable to many others.

The down side has turned out to be in the specifics. Four of the 5 recipients 
are non-participating members. One because she's elderly, in a nursing home, 
with a renter in the house, two who don't find time in their busy work 
schedules, and one who is generally antagonistic to the community. So we have 
participating members who are financially subsidizing non-participants. Which 
irks some, as a matter of principle.

In the case of urgent crisis situations - like job loss coupled with health 
emergency -- we do voluntary fund raising, collecting donations, and/or staging 
benefit events, and generous help is available. The budget line item tends to 
be used by the same families year after year, based on general level of income 
and resources.

Our assessment relief funding is currently under discussion here. Is it a 
social contract that is missing one side of the agreement? Participation here 
is "expected" but not required. Is it tolerable to not participate in the work 
and social life as long as you are paying full price, but not if you are 
receiving a subsidy? Do we even want the participation of a contentious and 
antagonistic member? And yet, we don't want a lowest-common-denominator budget, 
nor the complexities of determining and judging financial need, with so many 
variables. Twenty-eight years in, we are still trying to figure this out!

Maraiah Lynn Nadeau
www.rosewind.org
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