Re: Fees for common space usage
From: Grace Kim (
Date: Thu, 24 Sep 2020 10:22:45 -0700 (PDT)
Allison -
Cohousing is a model that is based on collaboration and mutual support/trust - 
that is a model for generosity and abundance.
Charging for usage of a common resource (common house, shop space, guest rooms) 
is operating from a model of scarcity and resource hoarding.

I would encourage you to consider not charging for usage. And for you/your 
community to consider why you would charge for usage.

If it is to more fairly distribute usage, then you could allot a specified 
number of days each household is allowed free usage of common house and have a 
lottery for who gets first dibs on calendar. Or just allow for first come/first 
served basis (with a limit of 1 year in advance) and evaluate how that went the 
first year.

If it is to generate revenue needed for upkeep, consider a sliding scale fee 
that each household pays in to. At outset of this you could determine what an 
annual budget looks like and make sure the community understands the goal you 
are trying to get to before they commit to how much they will contribute.
Or you could form work teams to steward each space and if additional funds are 
needed, they can determine how to raise funds (that are not collected equally 
from each household). This could be a contribution based on how much do they 
value that resource being available and what is a meaningful contribution from 
their family.

Admittedly I'm coming off a training on race/social equity - but I have to note 
that the idea of charging for a community resource is an act of oppression.  
Communities of color share these resources knowing it will aid in the building 
up of community. 
Dominant white culture restricts usage/access to community resources due to 
fear of the collective gaining too much power.

Your decision to charge/not charge can be a simple but conscious act towards 
undoing systemic racism.

grace h. kim aia | schemata workshop, inc.
pronouns: she/her

1720 12th avenue
seattle wa 98122
p 206.285.1589   c 206.795.2470

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Schemata Workshop employees are currently working remotely given the current 
public health situation.  
Please note: Schemata Workshop will be closed the week of Sept 21-25.

> On Sep 16, 2020, at 4:17 PM, Allison Tom <allisonrtom [at]> wrote:
> Hello everyone,
> As we begin planning for our move in (May 2021, fingers crossed), 
> members of my Cohousing community in North Vancouver are having 
> discussions and disagreements about fees in the following 
> circumstances.  I'd really appreciate hearing back from anyone who is willing 
> to share information!
> Thanks, Allison Tom


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