Supporting forming communities & national policies/structures
From: Tom Hammer (
Date: Tue, 4 Nov 2003 17:37:11 -0700 (MST)
Hello All,

Here in the middle of the East Coast is a vast
wasteland of no cohousing.  We're just an example of
one of many such areas in the country.  I'm writing
mostly to those who already live in established
communities or who are close to being finished and
also to those who read this list who deeply believe in
the idea of cohousing but are not able to live in a
community for various reasons but who are interested
in supporting the movement.

We are part of a consortium of 4 communities trying to
form.  The National would like us to host a regional
conference put on by someone like Nick Meima or Katie,
which would be wonderful and is a great idea.  The
problems are:

--lack of enough committed members yet with enough
time to host plus do all the other things that forming
communities need;
--lack of money now for all the other needs plus do
--lack of knowledge/experience in putting an event
like this;
--the strong possibility that we would lose money on
the event because of the money for the expert + the
money that goes to the National.

All these are making putting on the event harder, and
these requests from the National put further strains
on our energy and dollar resources.  Our group of 4
communities may even have to say no to this wonderful
offer. Questions:

Wouldn't it make more sense if money and effort flowed
the other direction, from formed communities into
specific areas of the country with no cohousing?  

Starter ideas and questions:

--Using the model of union organizing, could there be
paid organizers whose jobs it would be to travel the
country and help groups? We have some spare bedrooms;
you could bunk with us if you want to spend some time
in the East. 

--Could be mass produced signs like the ones you see
all over for "work at home" "At last, affordable
health care", that say "Cohousing:  building a village
in a new way" or somesuch, the national website
address, and the phone no. of a local forming
community below that?

--maybe there are some experienced marketers or web
designers living in cohousing who just need to be
asked.  I am asking.

--Is spreading cohousing part of the vision statement
of your community?  Could it be?  

--and I am sure you can think of lots of other such
ideas, because many of you have been there in the
formation of your community.

Now, I know you some are saying, "but..."  and
"but..." including, "but that would cost the National
money it doesn't have."  If every member of a
cohousing community paid $X dues to the National, or
if every formed community just paid the dues based on
its membership, and included in that $X were $
earmarked specifically to help spread cohousing around
the country, then it would sure help a lot.  Perhaps
forming communities would be asked to write grant
proposals, and a group would assess each group's
prospects.  The grants would be paid back over 20
years, perhaps, with interest, funding more seed

If the National had money to hire a full time fund
raiser/grants writer, some of the above wouldn't have
to be funded only out of community or individuals'
dues.  Is everyone who lives in cohousing encouraged
to include a provision for the National in her/his
will?  Are the forward-thinking corporations or
wealthy individuals being approached by anyone?  Maybe
there are some retired fund raisers living in
cohousing right now who just need to be asked.  

>From our vantage point, and I would guess I represent
hundreds if not thousands of other people, we'd
appreciate some discussion along these lines and some
help.  I'd like to challenge the creative and
intelligent folks I keep reading notes from on this
list to "think big" about some of these issues and to
take on the formation of spreading of cohousing as one
of the missions of your community or your life.

Thanks in advance for your thinking and for your past

In community,

Tom Hammer
for Concord Village  


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