Re: Records Checks for Cohousing Group Members
From: Allison Tom (
Date: Wed, 27 May 2020 11:13:02 -0700 (PDT)
Without arguing that records checks are or are not an answer, I think that
it is wise to refrain from a blithe assumption that "bad things can't
happen in cohousing."   Sure, maybe there are some protections in the
degree to which people know each other, but many harmful people can present
a good facade.


On Wed, May 27, 2020 at 11:09 AM Sharon Villines via Cohousing-L <
cohousing-l [at]> wrote:

> > On May 25, 2020, at 2:43 PM, Ann Zabaldo <zabaldo [at]> wrote:
> > Without going into too much detail (because I no longer remember all the
> details from 22 years ago) we did have a person who wanted to join Takoma
> Village in the very early days of our formation who had served time in
> prison for sexually abusing a child. Let me be very clear, the issues at
> the time surrounding this were not as clear cut as that last sentence I
> just wrote.  The short of it was the person was not accepted into the
> community.  it was just too big an issue w/ too many moving parts.
> Just to expand on Ann’s memory — he actually withdrew after hearing the
> opinions and feelings of the rest of the group. A meeting was called in
> which they were able to ask questions and he was allowed to give his
> explanations. In the course of that meeting, it became clear to him that if
> he didn’t withdraw, a number of households would leave and the project
> would be in peril.
> The reason I wanted to clarify that is I didn’t want to leave the
> impression that we voted people out (or in). I think it is much better for
> the group to get to know each other and allow that process to show people
> whether it is a good fit or not. And this requires expecting people to
> participate and take on tasks.
> Although our Rentals and Resales pod pointed out to me that 20 years in,
> we don’t have the option of getting to know people so well. And people want
> to live here because it’s all built and looks beautiful. The amount of work
> required is not visible. The schedule of meals and other social activities
> look like fun, again with no understanding of the work required. And the
> amount of learning involved in hiring a contractor to replace decks and
> balconies.
> So the Pod is requiring (as much as anyone can require in cohousing) that
> people read a book (I think) on cohousing and attend meetings and workdays.
> And sign a form that says they have done that. This information is
> available to sellers so help them choose the buyer who seems most
> interested in all aspects of cohousing.
> Sharon
> ----
> Sharon Villines
> Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC
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