Re: Does your community clean all the common areas yourselves? - cautionary tale
From: Alan O'Hashi (
Date: Thu, 4 Oct 2018 06:56:26 -0700 (PDT)
Cohousers - This is a cautionary tale. At my place, which is a senior 
community, when I first moved into the place, there was a high level of 
individual member participation.

During the 10 years I've been here, participation has waned lately due to aging 
issues around health, "aha" moments about aging and wanting to travel more. In 
addition, during this time 31 percent of the community has turned over and 
three basements have been converted into "housemate" rentals.

Participation around here now is largely sitting in meetings deciding who to 
hire to do the work. We contract out all of the heavy lifting: snow removal, 
cleaning the common house, landscaping. In a sense we contract out community 
dinners because we have pot lucks rather than working together to prepare meals.

Forming communities should look to the future about how to deal getting the 
work done when neighbors age.

We're going through this now, but on a reactionary basis. The duty prescription 
is not onerous. Members are asked to be on one team, clean up after a dinner 
and lock up the common house from time to time. Since the "work" now is sitting 
in meetings, there tends to be static membership on teams without much rotation 
and thus, no room for new members.

In addition, the gardening team was eliminated because those attracted to that 
work didn't like to make agendas and take minutes. Whether or not de facto 
gardening is counted as "community participation" is unclear. There was a note 
that recently came out asking for ideas about types of work that could be 
counted toward participation or made up work that people could do.

Compounding the aging issue is this. Another four houses - 25 percent - are 
selling within the year and at the same time. As such, much is in flux because 
of the prospects of a bunch of new neighbors moving into the community.

ThxAlan O. 
Alan O'Hashi - ECOS
EnviroCultural Organization Systems
Colorado 303-910-5782
Wyoming 307-274-1910
Nebraska 402-327-1652

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