Re: Helping members with Covid-19 related hardship
From: Ann Zabaldo (
Date: Wed, 8 Apr 2020 08:23:53 -0700 (PDT)
Bonnie — thank you so much!   Inspiring that Swan’s Market like other coho 
communities is doing so much to address the social issues that confront all of 
us.  Can you send more details about the actual “loan process?”  What is the 
application process?  Is it paper or digital?  Who keeps that info?  What 
information is asked of people applying for loans?  Have people been denied?  
Do you have rules about who can apply?  

Please all — keep these examples coming.  I’m trying to organize a similar fund 
here at Takoma Village in Washington DC.  I can use all the examples I can 
find.  It’s good to have choices showing how communities organize these loans 
or grants. 

All — If these are loans what is your experience w/ repayment?

Again, many thanks to communities for sharing info about your programs to help 

Best --

Ann Zabaldo
Takoma Village Cohousing
Washington, DC
Member, Board of Directors
Mid Atlantic Cohousing
Principal, Cohousing Collaborative, LLC
Falls Church, VA

The most interesting information comes from children, for they tell all they 
know and then stop.
Mark Twain

> On Apr 8, 2020, at 9:30 AM, fergyb2 via Cohousing-L <cohousing-l [at] 
>> 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]> 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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