Re: Attracting younger families
From: Stephanie Abbott (
Date: Fri, 15 May 2020 13:55:30 -0700 (PDT)
Hi Abe & Sharon,

As a young parent myself who is working with a forming group in Providence,
Rhode Island, I'll have to be honest and say cost.  In most states daycare
costs more than instate College Tuition, for us its $16,000 for one child
at the YMCA.  So when you're looking at a family earning $100,000 with even
one child, they can't afford a $300,000-$400,000 dollar house or apartment
(unless family members are helping substantially with the down payment).
That does also not take into account our student loans payments, which most
of the generation have if they are earning in an income bracket that can
even think of living in cohousing.  Realistically, at the price point of
$300,000 which is $50K above the average single family home in our state,
we'd have to wait until my daughter is in public school and commit to not
having more children. That's a big trade off.  US Median Income in 2018
according to the US Census Bureau is $61,937
with ever increasing income in equality and the picture is bleaker when you
look at growing income inequality.  Add this to jobs that are less stable
than ever and it's just often not an option for us.  Communities could get
wonderful folks if they were to look into rehabilitating neighboring or
existing multifamilies, not to the level of net zero homes, but comfortable
and more efficient dwellings than the currently are.  In our area, we could
buy a 3 buildings with 15 units side by side & parking for about a million
dollars. I'm not sure why more communities are not going this route -
perhaps also as a cooperative rather than a condo association.

Given the time constraints for working and raising children, plus the
exhaustion from them at the young stage, adding unrealistic financial
expectations is not something most parents can face - even if we see the
immense benefits of and could contribute greatly to a community.

Hope that's helpful!


On Fri, May 15, 2020 at 4:24 PM Sharon Villines via Cohousing-L <
cohousing-l [at]> wrote:

> > On May 5, 2020, at 9:08 AM, Fred-List manager <fholson [at]>
> wrote:
> >
> > Abe Ross <cohoyote [at]>
> >
> > In reviewing the archives I see that several cohousing projects have
> > encountered difficulties attracting younger families.&#xA0; I also see
> that
> > the suggestions which have been made are anecdotal. Has anyone asked
> young
> > families who have joined cohousing communities what it is which attracted
> > them to cohousing?
> From past discussions:
> 1. Plan to install an indoor and out door play area from the beginning.
> Put it in the budget and on the plans so caregivers know you are serious.
> “Building it later” is a “will not happen” message. You will probably not
> have enough money later - or at least for a good number of years. Rob
> Sandland liked to tell the story of his community. They had a huge pile of
> dirt from constructon and planned to haul it away. The kids had so much fun
> playing on it that it became a play area.
> 2. Realize the households with young children can’t attend evening
> meetings. They might not have dinner until 6-7 (or even later) and then
> need to get children in bed and ready for work the next day. Keep in touch.
> They will show up when things are firm. Their lives are too much up in the
> air to sign on to a risky project.
> 3. Of all the groups I’ve been in, not just cohousing, 4:00 on Sunday has
> been the best time for meetings. Unless you are Mormon, which means
> Saturday is the best day, unless you are also Jewish.
> Sharon
> ———
> Sharon Villines
> sustainablecohousing [at]
> To subscribe:
> sustainablecohousing+subscribe [at]
> _________________________________________________________________
> Cohousing-L mailing list -- Unsubscribe, archives and other info at:

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.