Re: Experiences with/as disabled people in cohousing
From: Allison Tom (
Date: Mon, 5 Mar 2018 08:52:17 -0800 (PST)
Hello Dick,

My sense is that there are communities that have had bad experiences trying to accommodate disabilities and that there is a reason other than prejudice or "just not being aware" that lies behind the hesitation I sense.

I'd like to know if I'm over-reading this, if people have had experiences that have led them to this reluctance, and so on.  Of course, I'm also interested in situations where disabilities have been successfully accommodated, but I'm trying to get at the quieter edge of this as well.  I know that a listserve may not be the right place to probe such a question, which is why I'm open to other ways of hearing from people.

Thanks for the initial responses, and I hope to hear more.


On 2018-03-05 8:42 AM, Dick Margulis wrote:
Maybe I'm naive, but . . .

I'm a reasonably able person, meaning whatever minor disabilities I have do not rise to the level that someone would identify me as needing special accommodations of any sort. I'm stuck with my white male privilege.

Nonetheless, I don't find it the least bit difficult to make space in my mind for accommodating others' needs in the cohousing community we've designed and are about to build. This has been an issue front and center throughout our long years of working with architects and engineers and working within our own group to establish policies and rules. And the architects, engineers, and other consultants are all on the same wavelength with us on this topic.

Yes, it's entirely possible we've overlooked something and will have to make adjustments (in construction details as well as in policies) as more people with various kinds of disability join us. But I cannot imagine that anyone in the group would resist welcoming someone who wanted to be part of a cohousing community. (This is completely aside from the fact that we are subject to fair housing laws, which mandate that we behave in the way we are inclined to behave anyway.)

I wonder whether people whose inclination is to ignore other people's challenges and avoid accommodating them as long as their own needs are met are good candidates for cohousing in the first place.

Dick Margulis
Rocky Corner cohousing
Bethany CT

On 3/5/2018 11:16 AM, Ann Lehman wrote:
 From Karen Jolly who is a partially disable member of our community

“First, there must be complete accessibility.  Our building does not meet that requirement.

The community must recognize that the community tasks need to be assigned with abilities in mind.  This means some folks may do the same task indefinitely (like mopping floors) and there may not be an equal division of responsibility.

The issue of potential extra care should be addressed.

Personally, cohousing is an excellent choice as long as the community has addressed the extra care that may be required.


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