Re: Outcomes and Fair Housing Laws
From: Dave and Diane (
Date: Mon, 13 Jul 2009 18:27:28 -0700 (PDT)
Hi David,

Did you get this message from the FIC? I'm not sure it went out over Cohousing-L.

outreach facilitator
jp cohousing  617-522-2209
Box 300420 boston ma
"The people who surround you define the quality of your life."

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From: FIC Online Directory <noreply [at]>
Date: June 16, 2009 3:27:07 PM EDT
To: simpsond [at]
Subject: Communities Directory and Fair Housing Laws

An Announcement Regarding The Online Directory
Fellowship for Intentional Community

Hello dsimpson editor for Jamaica Plain Cohousing,

We are writing to notify you of changes to the Communities Directory and possibly to your community's listing as a result of the FIC's efforts to comply with Fair Housing Laws.

It was recently brought to our attention that state and federal authorities see intentional communities listings in our Communities Directory in the same way they see real estate listings. As such it is illegal for us to display information that is in violation of Fair Housing Laws (both federal and state).

Here is a new notice we have placed on our site:

The FIC endeavors to comply with Fair Housing Laws, both at the federal level and at the state level (laws vary widely from state to state). These various laws are designed to prevent discrimination in real estate transactions based on specific designated characteristics. The federal law prohibits discrimination based on race, color, nationality, disability, religion, family status (ie having kids), and gender. State laws can add other categories, for example gender expression, sexual orientation, marital status, veteran status, and HIV/hepatitis status.

The FIC has decided to follow the strictest state and federal guidelines rather than attempt to apply different standards for different states. Because these laws apply to many intentional communities, we are prohibited from conveying information that indicates discrimination or an intent to discriminate based on these categories. To be in compliance, we have removed such information from our website and other publications and will endeavor to prevent or remove illegal content in the future. We encourage communities to investigate the Fair Housing Laws applicable in their location and specific to their situation. We are not in a position to determine if communities are in compliance with applicable laws.

More information on Fair Housing Laws is available at and

In order to come into compliance we have deleted survey questions related to: gender balance, child population and openness to new children, ethnic diversity, and openness to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered members. Supplemental comments on these questions have also been deleted. We have modified questions related to "spiritual paths" to reference "spiritual practices" as it is our sense that this language would not indicate discrimination based on religion.

In addition to modifying survey questions we are required to remove potentially illegal content from community descriptions (because we edit them we become legally responsible for their content). As such your listing may be modified in the next few weeks to bring it into compliance (this applies to about 10 percent of listings) or if it can't easily be brought into compliance we may be required to remove your listing from our Directory.

If your community listing indicates that you are, or might be, excluding anyone based on creed, whether they have children, on their specific gender or sexual orientation, etc., you must explain in your listing how you have the specific legal authority to do so. For example if your listing includes phrases or concepts such as "We are not open to children" or "We are a community of Catholics" or "We are a women's only community" or "No Lesbians or Gays" we will be required to edit your listing unless you give a legal explanation.

We encourage you to review your listing for any Fair Housing Law issues and make any necessary changes yourself. We will begin reviewing and editing listings soon to bring them into compliance. We will do our best to preserve whatever content we can. We will notify you if/when your listing has been changed so you can check it.

We encourage all communities to investigate the Fair Housing Laws that apply to you and your situation for your own legal protection.

Your current listing can be viewed at:

We apologize for any inconvenience and we are disappointed that we must remove information that is useful to many community seekers. We hope you can recognize that we are only doing what is required by law.

Tony Sirna

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Date: Mon, 13 Jul 2009 07:16:16 -0400
From: David Hornick <dhornick [at]>
Subject: [C-L]_ Outcomes
To: <cohousing-l [at]>

I'm looking for information regarding cohousing in the United States. The
following list is extensive, but by no means exhaustive.  Perhaps other
listserve members could add to the list.

Specifically, I'd like to see a listing of cohousing communities (in a
spreadsheet if possible) that provides the following information...

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