Re: Affordability Options
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Mon, 17 Jun 2019 09:52:12 -0700 (PDT)
> On Jun 17, 2019, at 9:21 AM, Tom Smyth <tom [at]> wrote:
> Is there a good resource that lists possible strategies for affordable
> co-housing? A new phase is planned for Touchstone and the developer is
> having trouble lining up buyers and I was thinking there might be some way
> to bring in some affordability stuff. 

Rocky Corner in CT used a housing consultant to help them find government 

Otherwise, distinguish between “affordable" and "low income.” Affordable is 
close the average price in the area. Low Income is below that and usually 
restricted to specified income levels.

Otherwise the cost of construction is the cost of construction. It’s expensive. 
So you have to use less expensive materials and fixtures, simpler designs, 
and/or come up with an innovative construction and design plan. There are some 
messages about this in the archives. But other than some small house 
communities that I don’t think are cohousing, no one has posted anything in the 

Treehugger has good information from time to time.

There are incredible videos of very small apts that convert in various ways so 
they are bedrooms now and dining rooms then. These are very ingenious but also 
expensive because everything is built in.

There is this wonderful article on a converted school bus. These are sitting on 
junkyards everywhere. $9,000 but that doesn’t include land or utilities 
connections. And the owner did most of the work himself.

Another strategy is selling units with space but undeveloped. A second-floor 
that looks like an attic to be finished later. Extra bathrooms plumbed to the 
wall but no fixtures.

I would love to see cohousing developed around small houses —particularly since 
if you need more space you can add another house. They are also very cute.

Woodstock has a long tradition of handmade houses. And California. In the 1960s 
and 70s people just went out and built their own homes. There are books on 
these but I don’t have names because mine were eaten by mold in a basement 
storage space. Zoning is a problem but my favorite story was a woman who used 
the requirements for a boathouse. It was up on piles in a field of wildflowers. 
The zoning requirements didn’t mention water or boats as requirements.

Boathouses on Pinterest

Keep us posted,

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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