Re: affordable housing
From: Ron Ingram (
Date: Fri, 3 Jan 2020 14:45:35 -0800 (PST)

Thank YOU for writing this response. You and others in this group have Alot
of wisdom regarding this.

I have zero knowledge of how to even begin but I believe where we are with
housing right now it's worth it.

I am young ish and willing to be mentored regarding this. I believe funds
can be found for this project.

Seems like a lot or work is involves from the very beginning. Guess what?
We are in luck because I have the time and energy and the need to dedicate
time to this.

Thank for taking me serious and not belittling me.



On Fri, Jan 3, 2020, 8:38 AM Sharon Villines via Cohousing-L <
cohousing-l [at]> wrote:

> > On Jan 2, 2020, at 10:56 AM, Ron Ingram <ingramr88 [at]> wrote:
> >
> > None of these workers were paid money.
> > Zero dollars were given to electricians, plumbers, roofers, inspectors,
> > etc. to be honest, we didn't have any money. None of us. But we pulled
> > together and got it done. We valued sweat equity.
> Thank you for taking time to write such a thoughtful and balanced account
> of the way things are. When you describe how the small town built their
> church, it reminds me of the forming-a-cohousing-group stage. Most have
> more income that those in your small town but the need and the desire are
> the same. Communities are fully involved in doing as much as they can
> themselves. It isn’t always apparent because it’s less visible but the
> Yankee-do’s are hard at work. One reason developers and banks refused to
> work with cohousing groups in the first 20-30 years is not just because the
> banks thought cohousers were weird but because the cohousers had no idea
> how they were going to pay for it and actually had no idea how much it
> would cost. They were just going to do it.
> Renting is a step in the process of building a secure foundation for
> living. People need a place to live now, not when they have saved enough
> money — if you ever can save enough to own while renting. Many of us elders
> also rented for a large part of our lives. We didn’t have the money either.
> Unless you had parents who could give or loan you the downpayment, it
> wasn’t possible.
> But here we are now with many people who want to live in cohousing not
> being able to afford to, and many people who already live in cohousing, not
> having or not willing to have the money to provide them with housing that
> is affordable for them. Affordable for them means forget the 80% of market
> rate.
> I’m dubious about the plans to have a few low income units mixed in with
> market rate units. I’ve witnessed a group that was started by a city worker
> who was living in subsidized housing and wanted a home so she could adopt a
> child. “I need more than one room.” But when she start organizing the
> group, middle class professionals who already owned market rate houses
> joined. Very quickly the goal became building market rate housing that
> would support low-income housing. She became very frustrated and felt her
> idea had been taken away from her. It’s very hard when you live from one
> paycheck to another to explain to those who live well that the expense of
> building a common house, for example, is above your means, and that you
> don’t want to live in a situation with constant pressure to pay higher
> monthly fees because someone wants to upgrade faucets. It doesn’t matter
> that the new faucets are pretty and force people to use less water, you
> can’t afford them. And you don’t want someone buying them for you — day
> after day. The pressure can be enormous.
> This is why I think low income cohousing will happen when a group of low
> income households comes together to build housing affordable by low-income
> households. And insists on equality. That nothing will be done that can’t
> be afforded by at least 60% or 90% of the members. If there are people who
> want to help with initial financing that it be done as a loan or outright
> gift, not in a way that creates a two income level community with the
> smaller piece being low-income.
> What I can offer is to design and host a website and an email discussion
> group for those who are interested in giving sweat equity to build
> low-income cohousing. I can also offer policing to keep the plans from
> escalating to soaring heights of “affordable” defined as 80% of market rate
> in the area. And online research.
> I’m sure there are many other people on the list who can offer skills and
> information without compromising the efforts of the group to build housing
> they can afford.
> Sharon
> ----
> Sharon Villines
> Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC
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