Re: Helping members with Covid-19 related hardship
From: fergyb2 (fergyb2yahoo.com)
Date: Wed, 8 Apr 2020 08:24:16 -0700 (PDT)
Diane,
  We are a small community, just 20 households and we can’t pay the bills, 
particularly the insurance bills at the start of the year if people don’t pay 
their HOA dues. Now we have a pretty big Reserve fund we could possibly borrow 
from but it wasn’t so big then, in 2008.  And a couple of folk were laid off 
and we worried what might happen if more layoffs occurred.  So we set up this 
kind of self insurance scheme to cover ourselves in case things got worse.  And 
once it was established we kept it, just in case.  In a larger Community maybe 
we could have adopted your approach but it feels inappropriately risky to us, 
small as we are.  This way people might not be able to pay for a few months but 
the community as a whole is not negatively impacted.
      Bonnie

Sent from my iPad

> On Apr 8, 2020, at 7:02 AM, Diana Carroll <dianaecarroll [at] gmail.com> 
> wrote:
> 
> Bonnie, can you say more about this: "People with temporary financial
> difficulty paying HOA dues could apply to the treasurer for a loan from
> this fund to cover HOA fees. "
> 
> How is that different than just letting them not pay and catch up on
> payments when they can? As the bookkeeper here at Mosaic Commons, that's
> just how I've always done it.  People sometimes don't pay for a couple of
> months.  When that happens, I'll check in with them -- usually they've just
> forgotten, and they (hopefully) will go ahead and pay, but sometimes they
> say they are having a tough time financially.  At which point I stop
> harassing them for awhile. In every case, even when people have gone 6
> months in arrears, they eventually catch up.
> 
> Diana
> Mosaic Commons
> Berlin, MA
> 
>> On Wed, Apr 8, 2020 at 9:30 AM fergyb2 via Cohousing-L <
>> cohousing-l [at] cohousing.org> wrote:
>> 
>>      At Swans Market we set up a similar plan during the 2008/2009
>> financial meltdown.  Although we funded it by everyone paying in a small
>> fixed amount, I forget  if it was 10 or 15 dollars each a month as a kind
>> of insurance fund for a year or two.  We call it our “Brother can you spare
>> a dime” fund since we were singing a lot of depression era songs at the
>> time.  People with temporary financial difficulty paying HOA dues could
>> apply to the treasurer for a loan from this fund to cover HOA fees.  We
>> have discussed folding the money back into our general fund and eliminating
>> this deal at various times over the years but so far we’ve always decided
>> to keep it as is.  It has been utilized a handful of times over the years
>> and the loans have always been paid back.  So far in our community everyone
>> is either working remotely or retired so financial woe has not been a big
>> issue here in this crises.  But if that changes we still have our fund
>> available.
>>   Bonnie Fergusson
>> Swans Market Cohousing
>> Oakland, CA
>> 
>> Sent from my iPad
>> 
>>>> On Apr 7, 2020, at 2:04 PM, David Jaggar <davidjaggar [at] gmail.com> 
>>>> wrote:
>>> 
>>> *Neighbors Helping Neighbors*
>>> 
>>> A little more than a week ago, a couple of people in Washington Village
>>> began discussing the COVID19 pandemic and how it might impact our
>>> community. Our Common House had been already been closed and we knew some
>>> members had already suffered losses in employment.
>>> 
>>> We realized the government would be sending out $1200 checks to all
>> adults.
>>> While to many people this would be a necessary lifeline, for others it
>>> would be just extra cash. One member suggested asking for donations from
>>> the community to assist those who would be directly impacted.
>>> 
>>> The idea caught on and our community responded rapidly. We named the
>>> program *Neighbors Helping Neighbors. *Members rallied to make donations
>>> and we recruited volunteers to assist in the disbursement of funds.
>> Since
>>> we assumed a fair amount of money would be collected over time, we
>> realized
>>> that members with accounting expertise would be necessary to act as a
>>> “bank”. One method of ensuring transparency and accountability is to keep
>>> our records open to donors for review. We also informed donors that
>>> donations would not be tax deductible since we did not have 501(c) 3
>> status
>>> as a non-profit.  For reasons of privacy, all donors and recipients are
>>> anonymous.
>>> 
>>> For recipients, we limited “need” to income loss such as job loss or
>>> furlough, reduced working hours or business closure as a direct result of
>>> the COVID-19 pandemic. Other sorts of financial emergencies are not
>>> eligible for grants. Then we urged community members impacted by the
>>> pandemic to apply for fixed sum $400 monthly grants to be used for HOA
>> dues
>>> and mortgage relief as long as they were in need and the funds held out.
>>> 
>>> In a little more than a week from when the idea was first generated, we
>>> will have grants sent out to impacted members of the community who filled
>>> out a simple application.  If any other communities are interested in
>>> developing a similar program, we will be happy to discuss how we
>> developed
>>> our program.
>>> 
>>> *We’re all in this together*
>>> 
>>> From Washington Village Community
>>> _________________________________________________________________
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>>> http://L.cohousing.org/info
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>> 
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