Low-cost Cohousing
From: Sharon Villines (sharonsharonvillines.com)
Date: Sun, 3 May 2020 15:41:05 -0700 (PDT)
Odd how being required to stay home brings everything in life to a stop. All 
eyes on the novel virus.

I’ve been doing some research on low-cost housing — and certainly options are 
out there. People are finding new ways to build and strategize about about 
getting it done. But whenever I being to write about any one option, I come 
against something basic — what group of potential cohousers will take advantage 
of this?

I’ve talked with developers who are working on plans to build a house to sell 
for $100. Modular home builders who are willing to work with a community to 
develop a plan that will meet the needs of low-income households. 
Developer/community organizers who will work with a neighborhood on retrofit 
housing. I’ve looked at land trusts that are structured so investors can invest 
in land and households can invest in housing, building equity for everyone.

But first there has to be a group of people. To get to the next step requires a 
group of people who understand what they need and what they can provide to get 
a community started and then built.

My argument has been that the only way a low-cost cohousing group will be able 
to form independently of subsidies is if the entire group shares that goal. 
Low-cost housing is a specific goal. To stay focused, everyone needs to be 
committed to that goal. First a group and then a plan. 

Without a core if at least 2-3 households, it is very hard to even discuss the 
alternatives because there really are so many. 

Building housing takes time and energy. And commitment. Those who have a 
commitment to low-cost housing have to find each other.

A person for whom market-rate housing is the norm thinks about low-cost housing 
from the point of view of what can I have to give up? It’s do-without, not 
build-it. To get low-cost housing built it has to be a winning game. The 
decisions and research need to focus on what is it we really need that we can 

It won't happen with people in the room who want all the green building and 
electrical technology that make them proud to be saving the planet. It becomes 
a guilt trip. But don’t you want a solar energy and a green roof so we can save 
the planet? Don’t you care? When that argument enters the room, low cost 
housing goes out the door. That doesn’t mean low-cost housing has to be 
technologically stupid. It has to be smart, but smart has to fill the needs of 
the households.

But first we need the households.

Sharon Villines
sustainablecohousing [at] groups.io

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.