Re: Associate members of completed communities?
From: Catya Belfer-Shevett (
Date: Fri, 1 Aug 2008 07:38:14 -0700 (PDT)
Craig, would you be willing to send me the breakdown of rights and responsibilities (and costs) for each level?

- cat (with my community hat on, though if we want it on i can put that hat on too :)

Craig Ragland wrote:
Rick, we should talk about this in our next phone meeting after your

Like many Forming Groups, Songaia used an Associate structure as a step
toward full membership - but we then shut this down after all our units were
sold back in 2000.

We recently revitalized our Associate program and now have 4 levels; 1.
Friends, 2. Familiars, 3. Proximals, and 4. Residents (people who rent on
the Songaia property). Each level has varying rights, responsibilities, and
costs. The folks who created this program are into structure, systems, and
careful definition of detail.

Why did we do this years after construction? Because of the level of
interest from neighbors and our frequent visitors in the area - and the need
for everybody at Songaia to feel good about their frequent sharing of our
resources, that we needed more definition. Since getting it defined it all a
few months ago, we're now up to about 10 participants in all four levels -
although one dropped out of the process (see below).

It is turning out to be a HUGE influx of new resources into the community -
new gardeners, dishes at potlucks, participation in creating more fun, as
well as help with other projects.

Unexpectedly, it is also great marketing. For when a Songaia home came up
for sale recently, all 8 of the prospective buyers were Members, Associates
or in the process of becoming Associates. The unit sold in about 10 days. We
never dealt with any uninformed prospective buyers - and everyone who
considered the purchase was already in meaningful relationships with our
community. This does mean, however, that one of our prospective Associates
dropped out of the process and, as of today, is Songaia's newest member.

Without this program, we would have put the home availability out to the
Songaia Announcement list - which now has several hundred "subscribers" -
you too can subscribe by just going to the Songaia Home page:

and entering your name and email address into the two fields at the bottom
of the page. This is a super-low volume list (about 4-8 mails/year). More
info on it appears there - I also strongly advise every cohousing group
(whether built or forming) to create easy ways (like this) for people to
sign up for your announcement lists. Most are just curious, but some may be
your future neighbors.


On Thu, Jul 31, 2008 at 10:32 AM, Rick Mockler <
rmockler [at]> wrote:

I am curious about the experience of "associate members" -  people who live
outside the community but who have a special relationship, and who
participate in some meals and activities.

We are developing a cohousing project in Grass Valley, CA (located in the
foothills above Sacramento), which has extra land which we plan to sell as
eight single family lots, across the road from the cohousing community.  We
have received inquiries from people who would like to build homes on the
lots and participate to some extent in the community.

We'd welcome any information on arrangements for "associates."  What
expectations do you have of them, how much they pay in dues, how they get
along with the rest of the community, etc.

Thanks for any feedback!

Rick Mockler
CoHousing Partners
Davis, CA

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