Re: Housing Solutions [was What will be changed forever
From: Ron Ingram (
Date: Wed, 29 Apr 2020 07:07:10 -0700 (PDT)

Thanks. I'm still around. The co housing here in Seattle is sheltering me.
Thanks for the response. I am still learning Alot about intentional co
housing. So glad I found this space of thinkers.

I have not purchased a home and the only home I knew was a habitat for
humanity home but I am learning so much about what goes into these
communities. I see them once they are done but have no clue the hard work
and beaurocratic labor that had to be done to pull these communities off.

I will send you some of my writings for the website. I have not forgotten.
My writings are more inquires into housing and mere suggestions from

Sharon -- you are a veteran in this space! Your wisdom is much appreciated.
The youth are here to learn from the elders. Young I may be but I am
willing to learn from you all who have paved the way in breaking down
barriers and through glass ceilings. More young people should be invested
in things like this. They will need housing to start their families one
day. We need wise people like you to remind us and show us how it got done.
I can't sit in this co housing community of wonderful people without
respecting the process.

So vital that the generations stay connected and share. Thank you all for
this space of learning!

On Wed, Apr 29, 2020, 5:22 AM Sharon Villines via Cohousing-L <
cohousing-l [at]> wrote:

> (SpamAttack has selectively been returning message from Coho-L. This was
> one of them so I’m late in replying I wondered what had happened to Ron.)
> > On Apr 23, 2020, at 10:34 AM, Ron Ingram <ingramr88 [at]> wrote:
> >
> > We grew accustomed to having our churches and neighbors team
> > up to supply the community with food, [snip] they came together
> > as a community with the little they had....they found out that
> > churches were our bedrock and preceded to bomb them.
> I hadn’t made this connection before (though it is obvious). I had just
> thought of the churches as places where there were largest number of people
> at one time.
> > Look at what the U.S, did to Cuba. They cut them off economically,
> > leaving them to suffocate economically but in my opinion, thats one of
> > the best things that could have happened to Cuba. Research if for
> > yourself. I think they found out what true freedom was.
> There was a program on NOVA in recently on Cuba’s progress in treating
> cancer by strengthening the immune system. Other countries thought this
> couldn’t be done but their independence allowed them move forward without
> NIH giving them permission by funding their research.
> > Even with a rent freeze and eviction moratorium, many of the homeless
> > who were without homes before are still without homes while empty vacant
> buildings and apartments just sit empty.
> In addition to the Oakland group, I remember seeing other groups doing the
> same thing in other cities. There is an organization in DC that buys
> buildings that have been claimed for back taxes and rehab them for
> low-income housing.
> > They also protect the families from mean housed people who harass
> > them from the comforts of their homes.
> NYCity also has a very strong tenants rights court. What has happened is
> that landlords will keep apartments off the market rather than grant
> renters rights to another renter. There are people who say that the rental
> market in NY would be flooded with apartments and rents would fall if
> warehousing in rent controlled buildings was declared illegal.
> > We save ourselves by
> > doing what the intentional co-housing community has done and is doing
> > -- being human, coming together and supplying each other regardless of
> > the money. There are some thrivers and survivors out there who know
> > what that means. Even under social distancing we can do this.
> We do have to save ourselves. People have forgotten that we are the
> government. Increasingly we have forgotten that. With majority rule, the
> majority rules — but in our society at the moment, not even the majority
> rules. Increasingly a manipulative minority rules.
> In a democratic country every one is supposed to be free and to have equal
> opportunity. The White House Pandemic proclamations and statements from the
> Republican leadership in the Senate have clearly highlighted that not
> everyone got the message. Their solutions have not only been awarded
> equally but have resulted in increased income inequality.
> This is one thing that I think cohousing could lead a charge on. It prides
> itself on not being political or making political endorsements. This is a
> good thing but it needs to be done in the context of governance. Just
> because we don’t take sides or lobby doesn’t mean that we can’t demonstrate
> and support good government.
> I’ve hit a snag in working on the Sustainable Cohousing website but one of
> the issues that I think is important is for communities to develop
> governance principles that can be extended to the larger community —
> schools, clubs, organizations, etc, not just local government. A firm
> grounding in other social institutions can more easily sidestep political
> party control.
> Capitalism isn’t perfect but it’s better than anything else we know. I
> think the problem is that capitalism has become unleashed from democratic
> values. If religion is going to play a much smaller role in teaching and
> maintaining ethical behavior, then what will? Democracy has been a strong
> moral force but in the name of religious freedom, how far can it go?
> As an aside: A librarian at the University of Illinois was accused by an
> Arab student of trying to indoctrinate him when she explained that books on
> reserve were there for all the students and he had to share.
> > I would find a way to turn my building
> > into free intentional co housing.
> The problem with free is that it doesn’t exist. Even if a group is given
> an abandoned building by the city, someone has to pay for rehab,
> maintenance, repairs, utilities, taxes, etc. The person or government
> agency then controls the building. If a person has a rent-controlled 5
> bedroom apartment on Park Avenue and pays $1,000 a month rent, that is
> close to free in Manhattan. But the person is constantly under the control
> of the rent control laws, city laws, and the whims of housing court. They
> are not free and not in control of anything but the door key. Depending on
> the landlord, a person paying 1/16 of the market rate might have to go to
> court to get a leak in the ceiling fixed. The published regulations use
> dates like 1-2 days and within a week, but the stories friend have relayed
> it can take a year or more.
> Rentals in cohousing are also governed by local laws. We had one case (and
> this is very unusual but it happened) in which the renter moved out but
> there is a law that says a renter has 4 months to buy the apt at the
> contracted price if someone else makes an offer. They have to sign a form
> to waive that right. Unfortunately, that form did not surface until she had
> moved out and purchased a new house. She refused to sign it because it said
> “as the tenant of ____ I waive my right of first purchase.” She wasn’t a
> tenant.
> Real estate law is complex and varies with each and every location.
> Such is the problem with building low-income housing. It requires that the
> building meet construction and zoning codes. Often finding holes in the
> law, and building before the laws can be changed. In the DIY days of the
> 1970s, a woman who couldn’t afford heat, electricity, water, and sewer
> services, built the only structure she could find that was zoned to meet
> those requirements. She built a boat house up on stilts that met the
> specifications for pilings. The code didn’t mention water or boats.
> > I hope this did not offend anyone or come off as ranty. I love this
> > community of thinkers and humanitarians. and Yes, I am pushing the
> > envelope here. Yes, I am.
> I think the envelop has to be pushed. Every cohousing community pushes
> some boundaries but usually not as many as they would like to push. It’s a
> lot of work to do it legally. It is much easier now for communities to get
> zoning variances to cluster buildings on one corner of a lot in order to
> have all the cars "over there” and to have the green space all in one
> place. That was work and took months and months to accomplish in many
> places. In others it just couldn’t be done.
> Allowing unrelated people to occupy the same living quarters is against
> zoning in other places. “Unconventional” households have to get around that
> some how.
> So cohousing has pushed a lot of boundaries. When it started banks would
> not give construction loans and developers wouldn’t work with them. They
> did all the contracting themselves and often lost lots of money because
> they were learning on the job. Many were lot development models just
> because of those restrictions.
> Even to have children in a condominium or condominium like structure was
> not the norm. It still isn’t in most.
> This is much longer than I intended but these issues are important and we
> don’t discuss them enough to build any understanding of how we move
> cohousing forward from this point in any other way than just building more
> of the same. That’s good but there is more to do in housing.
> Sharon
> ----
> Sharon Villines, Washington DC
> "Behavior is determined by the prevailing form of decision making." Gerard
> Endenburg
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