Re: Seeking information about work commitments
From: Julie Gallagher (
Date: Sat, 19 Jan 2019 04:45:03 -0800 (PST)
Cantine's Island cohousing in Saugerties, NY, after 20 years has never had
an hours requirement for work. A while back a task force proposed a minimum
of two hours per week, which ultimately was rejected because "if everyone
did only two hours per week, the work would not get done." When we learned
that some folks were telling visitors, "we don't have a work requirement,
you just do what you want to do," we decided to adopt a formal policy
emphasizing the need for everyone to pitch in. After many drafts, here's
what we came up with:

The Cantine's Island community relies on the continuous work of members to
maintain both the common physical property and the social network that
makes it a real community. Joining our community is a pledge of on-going
work on the community’s behalf. A variety of physical and non-physical
tasks are available from which to choose: members can mow the lawns or take
meeting minutes, cook a meal or head a committee, shovel sidewalks or give
a tour for visitors.

A great deal of work is required to maintain our community and its acres of
common property. Members are expected to contribute on a weekly basis, and
often members devote full days to community work. Working alongside others
to maintain the vibrancy of our community strengthens our interpersonal
bonds and can be an enjoyable and satisfying way to spend time together.
The work we put in is more than paid for by the rewards of enjoying our
dinners together, marveling at the beauty of our land, harvesting from the
garden, taking to the water on our boats or the many other satisfactions of
living in cohousing.

Inevitably, the amount of time and effort a member can contribute varies
depending on their current life circumstances. Judging members based on
their contributions to the community can lead to disharmony. When members
don’t seem to be doing their share, we should be supportive rather than
judgmental, with the assumption that every member wants to contribute or
they would not live here.

At this time we choose not to set a minimum number of hours of work or to
keep track in any way of the amount of work any member is doing. Our
involvement together is an organic process that is built upon trust, the
glue that holds us together as a community.

Julie Gallagher

Cantine's Island

On Sat, Jan 19, 2019 at 6:43 AM David Bygott via Cohousing-L <
cohousing-l [at]> wrote:

> At Milagro Cohousing, after c 17 years, we have EXACTLY the same situation
> that Mariah described for RoseWind. We are just analyzing a recent survey
> on attitudes towards participation, because as the ‘founders’ age, and
> membership turns over and new people buy in, the participation level has
> dropped off, but I doubt that it will change anything much.
> For some years we have had a maintenance handyman come in once a week, and
> we are upping that to twice a week.
> David Bygott
> Milagro Cohousing, Tucson AZ
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