Re: How do we hold each other accountable?
From: Kathleen Walsh (
Date: Sun, 25 Jul 2010 20:13:29 -0700 (PDT)
When Columbia Ecovillage was in the planning stage, the community placed a dollar amount on the cost of a participation hour: $20. Although we may begin to actually charge households if they do not follow through on their commitment to participate in running the community (meals, cleaning, etc.), we do not do so now because we have a high rate of completion. Some members actually offer to do the hours for others at a competitive rate(less than $20 per hour). In this way folks who need work get it, and people who need hours to be completed can do so without paying the $20 per hour: It's a locally-based economy "win-win" for us.

Don't folks who join know the expectations? If someone is truly over-whelmed by circumstances beyond his or her control (new baby, loss of job, for example) folks at CEV give others who need them hours they have worked for. There are plenty of retired and/or more comfortable people at CEV who willingly support those who need it. What erodes the sense of community are people who don't participate, don't acknowledge the commitment they made upon joining, and don't problem-solve if they need to, but just assume they are exempt from participation for whatever reason seems reasonable to them.

Kathleen Walsh
Columbia Ecovillage, Portland Oregon

David L. Mandel wrote:
No matter how you spin it -- penalty, fee, refund, consequence ... -- there's a problem with the "work 
or pay" model if you aspire to have a community that's seriously diverse in members' economic means. If 
I have a demanding but highly paid job, I may rationally decide that my time is more valuable than my money 
and therefore choose to pay, or not get the refund, or whatever, while letting others do the work. My 
low-paid neighbor may have job and/or family responsibilities that are at least as demanding, meanwhile, but 
she doesn't really have that choice if she needs every $ for necessities. Forget the word "fair." 
Is that the kind of dynamic you want in your community? Like everyone else, we have had great difficulties 
finding ways to get the work done without resentments. But while it has been proposed, we have so far 
refrained from institutionalizing "work or pay."
Southside Park, Sacramento.

--- On Sun, 7/25/10, Sharon Villines <sharon [at]> wrote:

From: Sharon Villines <sharon [at]>
Subject: Re: [C-L]_ How do we hold each other accountable?
To: "Cohousing-L" <cohousing-l [at]>
Date: Sunday, July 25, 2010, 9:17 AM

On Jul 25, 2010, at 11:33 AM, Elizabeth Magill wrote:

I've heard of having a fee everyone pays, and that fee is refunded if
they do a certain amount of work. That makes  sense to me.

I like this best -- its impersonal and equally applied.

A resident has to actively engage in order to be reimbursed. I also think this amount added to the condo fee would be good so it doesn't have to be collected as a separate fee. It's automatic.

And with a time limit for refunds.

Everyone pays. Passive, no refund. Active, refund.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

Cohousing-L mailing list -- Unsubscribe, archives and other info at:

Cohousing-L mailing list -- Unsubscribe, archives and other info at:

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.