Re: Affrodable/low cost housing
From: Fred H Olson (
Date: Tue, 20 May 2008 06:14:50 -0700 (PDT)
 "R.N. Johnson" <cohoranda [at]>
is the author of the message below.
It was posted by Fred the Cohousing-L list manager <fholson [at]>
--------------------  FORWARDED MESSAGE FOLLOWS --------------------

The community I live in is very affordable by local (greater Bay area
because we bought a already existing complex of rental units that was, in
our real
estate agent's words "too big for a small-time landlord and too small for a
commercial outfit". Also, we are have a tenancy in common legal structure,
not a
condominium structure.  This allowed several of our members to buy in who
never have afforded a comparable condo, but ties us in to worse interest
rates and a
higher down payment. I would encourage people looking at affordable
cohousing to
consider the TIC route. We were able to accomodate people who did not have
as much $
for a downpayment because several members who had the $ put down more to
have a
lower monthly payment. You do have to spell out carefully what happens if
defaults, and there are fewer banks that will lend to you.
  I would also strongly suggest talking to your local Habitat for Humanity
or other
similar organizations.  We did not ending up building from the ground up,
but had
explored the possibility of having Habitat build a couple of units, and also
contribute a construction crew leader and possibly some volunteer time to
work on
the common house, which would lower everyone's costs, and would have
allowed those
of us interested in serious sweat equity but not qualifying for Habitat to
  We also met extensively with local city and county officials in the
hopes of
getting some support for affordable units there.  Everyone was very
positive about
the idea, but we just didn't fit into the right categories; we were
neither a big
developer, nor a group comprised exclusively of very low income
individuals.  I
hope that as time goes on more government officials will see that
cohousing is a
way that quality "low income housing" can be included in the larger community
without a huge expense, and find ways to support developing communities
that want
to incorporate housing for people on limited incomes.

  Randa Johnson
  New Brighton Cohousing

Fred H. Olson  Minneapolis,MN 55411  USA        (near north Mpls)
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