Embrace Your Cohousing Resolutions and Mark Your Calendar!

December 30th, 2017 by

Living in Cohousing is a thriving national trend, and intentional communal living is flourishing as a social movement; from young folks raising families to older folks aging successfully in community.
Want to learn how to create cohousing? Ready to jump-start your cohousing dreams? Want to refine what you have?
If you answered yes to any of the above, then…Join us on April 20-22, 2018 in Boulder, CO! Colorado is home to 20 existing communities, and Regional Cohousing Conferences build on the success of bi-annual National Conferences, generating hubs of community building across the country. If you enjoyed last year’s Cohousing Conference in Nashville, or were unable to attend that record-breaking gathering, be sure to mark your calendars for this April!
This event is for professionals working in the cohousing world, or who would like to work in the cohousing world, for people interested in cohousing, for groups of people forming a community, and for people living in established communities who want new ideas on how to strengthen their intentional neighborhoods.
Learn from experts in the cohousing movement, such as Boulder locals Bryan Bowen of Caddis Architects (and resident of Wild Sage Cohousing) and Jim Leach, pioneering cohousing developer/consultant (and resident of Silver Sage Cohousing).
April 20th (Friday) offerings include both full and half day intensive workshop, plus an evening public presentationApril 21st (Saturday) you may choose several of 16 different sessions to attendApril 22nd (Sunday) will feature tours of existing cohousing communities, with 3 different optionsPlus…There will be plenty of networking and connection time, too!
What will you learn at the Conference? Intensive topics and conference sessions may include: designing a common house, best meal practices, effective budgeting, the importance of a reserve study, creating kids play spaces, dealing with difficult people, integrating diversity, resale techniques, how to incorporate affordability, and much more.
The National Cohousing Association of the United States, Wild Sage Cohousing and Silver Sage Village Cohousing look forward to welcoming you to Boulder!
Venue and lodging will be available at Millennium Harvest House. Full program and registration coming soon! Be sure you’re registered for the Coho/US mailing list by clicking here.

Where will you live in the third half of your life? Isolation issues solved for seniors with Co-housing

December 18th, 2017 by

Isolation is one of the key issues that we face as we age. Women more than men will be in this predicament as women tend to outlive their male partners. Are you rattling around in that big house on your own? Are you interested in ageing with people of similar interests? Lew Bowers from PDX Commons, a senior co-housing project in Portland, Oregon, explains how this new concept works.
Listen to the podcast here https://www.annnelson.com.au/retire-well-retire-happy/the-podcast/82-whe…
(simply go to the link and click on the blue triangle)

Being Thankful for Community

December 8th, 2017 by

Thankfulness isn’t just for Thanksgiving – there are so many reasons to be thankful for community, every day!(Re-post from Coho Now #108. Not on the list? Sign-up here.).
Day 1 Today I am thankful for my neighbor for letting me borrow her car
Day 2 Today I am thankful for my neighbor who made my family cookies (from a child)
Day 3 Today I am thankful for my neighbor who gave me a ride to the airport (1 ½ hours away)
Day 4 Today I am thankful for my neighbor sharing the work of cutting wood for the winter
Day 5 Today I am thankful for my neighbor who helped me build my website
Day 6 Today I am thankful for my neighbor who had eggs I could borrow
Day 7 Today I am thankful for my neighbor who picked up my son at school and brought him to soccer
Day 8 Today I am thankful for my neighbor who has a lot of books that he lends out
Day 9 Today I am thankful for my neighbor who had a spare lemon that I need for my recipe
(I hated to get in my car to go to the store for one thing)
Day 10 Today I am thankful for my neighbor that helped me hang a picture in my house
Day 11 Today I am thankful for my neighbor who put bandaids on my knee when I fell off my scooter (from a child)
Day 12 Today I am thankful for my neighbor who helped me cook a community meal
Day 13 Today I am thankful for my neighbor that took me to my doctor’s appointment last week
Day 14 Today I am thankful for my neighbor who raked my leaves
Day 15 Today I am thankful for my neighbor who walked my dogs while I was sick in bed
Day 16 Today I am thankful for my neighbor who helped me build a wood box in the workshop (from a child)
Day 17 Today I am thankful for my neighbor who helped me move my my new washer/dryer… again
Day 18 Today I am thankful for my neighbor Kay who made me chicken soup as I have pneumonia
Day 19 Today I am thankful for my neighbor who checked my mail while I was out of town
Day 20 Today I am thankful for my neighbor who fixed my computer router thingy
Day 21 Today I am thankful for my neighbor babysitting me (from a child)
Day 22 Today I am thankful for my neighbor Batman (from a child)
Day 23 Today I am simply thankful to be alive
Day 24 Today I am thankful for my neighbors sharing leftover pie at an informal community gathering
Day 25 Today I am thankful for my neighbor who took me to our city’s homeless
shelter to help her serve meals to those in need
Day 26 Today I am thankful for my neighbor who asked me if they could do anything
to help when she saw I was obviously upset.
Day 27 Today I am thankful for my neighbor who invited my to Thanksgiving dinner
Day 28 Today I am thankful for my neighbor that climbed a ladder to hang my Christmas lights
Day 29 Today I am thankful for my neighbor that asked me if I needed anything from
the store (she was on her way to go grocery shopping)
Day 30 Today I am thankful for Danish cohousers, Chuck & Katie, CoHoUS, cohousing ‘burning souls’,
community neighbors and all those that dream of living in community!
and I am thankful for all those that answered my question…”what are you thankful for today in community?”
~Karin Hoskin Wild Sage Cohousing, Boulder, CO

#GivingTuesday

December 1st, 2017 by

Social Activism consists of efforts to promote, social, political, economic, or environmental reform with the desire to make improvements in society. Be a social activist, support the cohousing movement.
Often people make donations to organizations they support on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, but you can financially support non-profits such as CoHoUS ANY DAY of the week, ANY TIME of the year!
The Cohousing Association of the US is proud to offer things such as:
Monthly eNews including national happenings and highlighted news articles
Advocacy leading to recognition by the Federal National Mortgage Association (commonly known as Fannie Mae)
A directory of communities (with information and website links), of both forming and established communities
A membership list of over 10,000 members, allowing your classified ad or blog post to be far reaching
An annual educational and networking conference (sometimes two!)
A regional in spring of 2018 in Colorado
A regional in fall of 2018 in Massachusetts
A national in spring of 2019 Portland, OR
Mainstream recognition through reports in USA Today, Time Magazine, and our members speaking at Ted Talks
The easiest way to donate to CohoUS is to follow this link:
https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/cohousing?code=home
You can also mail a check to:
The Cohousing Association of the US
4710 16th Street
Boulder, CO 80304

A Request from our CoHoUS Strategic Partner, The Cohousing Research Network

November 28th, 2017 by

As this year draws to a close, the Cohousing Research Network (the research arm
of the Cohousing Association) is asking our community to help us continue to
support the growth of Cohousing. As a volunteer-run organization with no paid
staff, every dollar we raise goes directly towards projects and events. Even a
modest gift helps and you can donate through the Cohousing Association
donation
page https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/cohousing?code=home. Make sure you
click on the “Cohousing Research Network” radio button to earmark for our use.
We value collaboration, sharing and research!
Here are ways you can make an impact and what your gift would make possible:
$25-$50 gets Cohousing Research Network printed materials at conferences.
Some of volunteer steering committee attend and present at Cohousing and
related subject matter conferences. Your donation would cover printing costs so
that we can spread the word about Cohousing and provide requested materials.
$125 covers a year of web hosting and domain registration fees forwww.cohousingresearchnetwork.org
Our bibliography and online research discussion group are free and available to
all, hosting isn’t. A donation of $125 would cover one year of our hosting
costs, keep our researchers’ bibliography live on the web for all our visitors
and our online forum for research related conversations.
$500 sponsors our Web site’s phase one build-out to create a bibliography
searchable database.
We’ve engaged the services of a software developer and identified software to
help us turn our static bibliography into a fully searchable database. Your
$500 donation would go towards our phase one costs.
$1000 helps send one or more of our volunteer steering committee members to
National and Regional Cohousing conferences.
We’ve been lucky enough to send team members every year and we want to continue
doing so. We present and host day-long research intensives. We support the
Cohousing Association and movement. Your donation would assist in making our
research data and presentations be available to hundreds at those conferences.
Any amount will help sponsor any of the above!
Our steering committee, research and bibliography has informed existing and
forming Cohousing communities worldwide as well as hundreds of individuals,
including many researchers, looking to learn more about Cohousing. Donations
like yours keep our organization running, help us continue our research, and
share it with those who are seeking it.
If you choose to donate, you can do so at our donation page, which is managed
by the Cohousing Association. Donations to Cohousing Research Network are
fully tax-deductible. Clicking on this linkhttps://donatenow.networkforgood.org/cohousing?code=home will take you to the
donation page. Make sure you click on the Cohousing Research Network radio
button to designate for our use.
Your help is appreciated. Thank you from all of us!
The Cohousing Research Network Steering committeehttp://www.cohousingresearchnetwork.org
PS if you prefer to send us a cheque, please make it out and mail it to
Coho/US, 4710 16th St, Boulder CO 80304. Remember to put “Cohousing Research
Network” in the memo line.
PPS If you have ideas for us, want to contribute in other ways, wish to cheer
us on, please use the contact page on our Web site.

Cohouser Supports Micro-Housing in Eugene, Oregon

November 20th, 2017 by

Oakleigh Meadow Cohousing member and Eugene architect Will Dixon has donated time and his design work to help create Emerald Village Eugene (EVE), a micro-house community for previously homeless Eugene residents. Dixon’s design is turning into one of 22 EVE homes. Each design had to meet state building code for a permanent dwelling – including living and sleeping areas, kitchenette and a bathroom – all in 160-288 square feet.
The lay-out and focus of this community parallels cohousing. There will be common facilities, including a community gathering area, kitchen, laundry, restroom, tool storage and office. Parking is limited to one corner. Residents of EVE will be members of a housing cooperative, having a monetary share in the village– creating a modest asset which can be cashed out, if and when they choose to move out. The monthly fee to live at EVE will be $250-$350 a month (income dependent) which includes the share payment, utilities, maintenance and operating costs. Future plans for a food cart pod and office space may provide income to EVE residents.
Emerald Village construction began late summer 2017. Dixon’s designed house is on the far right
Square One Villages, the parent non-profit behind this affordable housing effort, formed in 2012 to provide management for Opportunity Village Eugene (OVE), the city’s first legal “camping site” set-up for 30 homeless residents. The goal of OVE is to give stability to people who are unhoused and help them transition to more permanent housing. Some of those OVE residents have now “stepped up” to EVE, a place they can choose to live permanently, or use as a 2nd stepping stone for more traditional housing. The model is garnering statewide and national attention. A second village is already underway 30 miles south of Eugene in Cottage Grove. To see the EVE site plan and house designs go to https://www.squareonevillages.org/emerald
Will Dixon (right), a founding member of Oakleigh Meadow Cohousing in Eugene, Oregon

Equipment Care and Storage

November 19th, 2017 by

Communities designing their common houses often ask about what they will need. What do people really use? What kind of storage is needed and what will go in it? Is an office necessary and for what? They don’t know about storage for 8 snow shovels or 6 different kinds of brooms and mops.
When our water bills doubled at Takoma Village, we realized that in less than 6 years our population had doubled in size. And it continued to grow as households expanded from one to two and three and four people. That expansion meant more people donating equipment and more money to buy it — an up-scale gas-fired outdoor grill, a freestanding basketball hoop, a sun canopy for those grilling at BBQs, etc.
All well and good, but the big picture is the increase in care-taking tasks and in the need for storage. Who is responsible for ensuring that the cover is on the grill and the gas canisters are full? Who ensures that the sun canopy is folded correctly so it can be stored in its case without being damaged? And who knows how to do it?
Care taking is forever and requires an identified responsible person
In the third year after move-in, a resident wanted to make a donation in memory of her son. The community chose a freestanding basketball hoop. A place was found for it in the parking lot. But she didn’t play basketball and it never had an identified caretaker. It was used regularly when there were teenagers and adults who played. But that age group cycled through, and it was taken care of only intermittently. It was hit by trucks and generally left to rust. After 14 years it barely stands.
It needed to be kept in good repair—used or not, for future residents.
When most of the under-six children had grown out of the playroom or moved away, there was a push to restock it for older children. Booster seats and toddler toys went to the thrift shop. Books were replaced at elementary school level and above. Many more things, like dress up clothes, were on the chopping block before objections were raised. A year or so later we had babies and toddlers again who quickly needed those booster seats and we had to buy highchairs. There were no dolls. The learning to walk toys were gone.
We have always had a person in charge of the playroom, but we hadn’t planned for the rooms being used in cycles — the toddlers coming in waves. We needed the room when few children were playing there just as when it was too crowded. It is as necessary as the laundry room.
Care taking includes protective and convenient storage
Along with each piece equipment comes the need for storage. When people wanted to purchase a new gas grill, the question was not will anyone really use it, but where will it be stored? It was larger than the much used old one. Indoor storage was impossible because moving it in and out of the basement would be too cumbersome, and it did have canisters of gas attached to it. Where outdoors? If in a grassy area it would be difficult to move to the piazza where our old one was most often used. Would anyone use it beside the raised garden with the compost on the other side of a not-very-tall wall? It was too large to leave in the piazza all the time. And for BBQs when it was used for hours too smokey and hot.
We finally found a good place and a person to care for it. Then she left one early spring when no one was thinking about the grill or who would ensure that it was used and cared for properly.
Now, before every large purchase, we have someone who assumes care-taking responsibility and designate a place to store it. It isn’t as organized as that sounds but voices are there asking the questions and they are more likely to be addressed before something is acquired than afterwards.

TIME Magazine on Intentional Communities

November 18th, 2017 by

We evolved to thrive as social-able creatures, back when tribal cultures thrived or failed based on collective action. The experience of loneliness is plaguing greater populations than ever today, from millennials out on their own for the first time to high-rise big-city dwellers to empty-nesters and those aging alone or isolated. “Cohousing really builds into our daily lives more of the connections that have withered away,” a recent TIME magazine piece and related video says.
“We as humans build off of each other’s emotions,” says the founder of Commonspace, a 25-unit apartment arrangement catering to millennials looking for more communal lives. The tiny units with only 200 SF of private space swelled in attractiveness paired with 6000 SF of shared space. “It’s contagious, being in a room full of creative, positive people. It changes your emotional level.”
The piece talks about the importance of learning to be truly present and connect with others on a human level – easily facilitated in cohousing. “When you need the community — because a spouse is away or a baby is sick or you’re just plain lonely and would like some companionship — [the community] is there for you.”
Read the full TIME piece and watch the video here.

A Thank You to Jeff Zucker, Stepping Down from Coho/US Board

November 15th, 2017 by

Today is Jeff Zucker’s last day on the Coho/US Board, and a good time to thank him for his service! Jeff joined the board in late 2013, when the organization was contracting, with multiple challenges. He was one of just six board members when I became Executive Director in April 2014, and the only one who wasn’t imminently terming off! Thankfully, board members Bill Hartzell, Laura Fitch and Dick Kohlhaas agreed to serve through the 2015 conference, providing critical stability. When Bill stepped down as President in fall 2015, Jeff stepped up, serving as President for a year, helping lead a growing board and expanding organization. And on top of that leadership service, Jeff agreed to extend his service as past president another year to provide continuity and stability. Thank you Jeff!
An organization is only as strong as its board, and Coho/US’ growing relevancy and impact is a direct reflection of our Board members’ commitment and multiple talents. Take a look at who’s on the Coho/US Board, being capably led by President Peter Lazar, and give them a thanks for their service!

Six Degrees of Separation…or is it 4.26 degrees?

November 4th, 2017 by

The six degrees of separation theory was first proposed in 1929 by the Hungarian writer Frigyes Karinthy in a short story called “Chains.” Six degrees of separation is the idea that all living things and everything else in the world are six or fewer steps away from each other so that a chain of “a friend of a friend” statements can be made to connect any two people in a maximum of six steps.
In the short story, Karinthy’s characters believed that any two individuals could be connected through at most five acquaintances; the characters create a game out of this notion. He wrote:A fascinating game grew out of this discussion. One of us suggested performing the following experiment to prove that the population of the Earth is closer together now than they have ever been before. We should select any person from the 1.5 billion inhabitants of the Earth – anyone, anywhere at all. He bet us that, using no more than five individuals, one of whom is a personal acquaintance, he could contact the selected individual using nothing except the network of personal acquaintances.
This theory has continued to be discussed in social science circles as well in popular culture. The game “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” was invented as a play on the concept: the goal is to link any actor to Kevin Bacon through no more than six connections, where two actors are connected if they have appeared in a movie or commercial together.
Recent studies have presented an idea that with popular social networking platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn, the steps it takes to connect two people has decreased to 4.26 degrees.
You might wonder, how does this relate to cohousing? In the continued talks of how to grow the cohousing movement, the leading question often is ‘how can we create more of them?’ To create more of them, we need more people to know about them. It sounds so simple, yet is a huge undertaking. So how can we do it?
The most basic way we can educate people about how we live is to use every little opportunity to tell them. When someone asks me where I’m from, I don’t simply say Colorado. Instead, I tell them that I live in a cohousing community in Boulder, Colorado. If I get a response such as “oh, what’s that?” I tell them my short elevator speech, which goes something like this:
“It’s like the old-fashioned neighborhood that I grew up in. We all have private homes, but we have shared spaces as well. We have monthly celebrations or gatherings of some sort, and we eat a meal together a couple of times a week, so I know all 80+ of my neighbors really well. It’s a great place to raise kids as we really support each other, and we can collectively live a little more consciously on the earth by sharing resources. We can easily reuse or upcycle household items and clothing, and and we can car share among the 34 households.”
We are a small part of the larger world populated by 7.6 billion people and we are all connected by some degree. Though cohousing may not be for everybody, wouldn’t it be fantastic if everyone knew that it is an option? Share your story, help grow the cohousing movement. Together we can…
Create community, one neighborhood at a time.