How often have you experienced a response of, “oh, I’m not ready to live in a commune,” when sharing your cohousing life. Communes, eco-villages and the like are of course excellent models of community and sustainability; however, our culture honors private ownership and control of resources. With this prejudice, our cohousing model, which highlights privacy in the mix of community, and most often involves private home ownership, allows us to “crack the nut” of resistance to intentional community.
When I took on the role of Executive Director of Coho/US in April, I was ready to partner with the board in tackling our ambitious goals set over the winter. With almost 5 months on the job, on this Labor Day, I thought it time to provide a summary “how are we doing?”
An initial priority was stabilizing the organization’s revenue stream, and that translates to encouraging giving by our cohousers. I hope that as you read our goals and progress, you will be inspired to give.
Coho/US goals and progress include:
Laura Fitch and Doug Henderson-James are a great pairing as Co-Chairs of the National Cohousing Conference (May 2015). Laura, a principal with Kraus Fitch Architects, crafted our "next generation theme." Doug is founder and project manager of Durham Central Park Cohousing, providing local leadership and urban self-development experience.
Coho/US welcomes two new members joining the Board of Directors. Peter Lazar is a resident of Shadowlake Village Cohousing in Blacksburg, and a founder of Sheeflee Cohousing in Charlottesville. An award-winning technology entrepreneur, Peter has been involved in the Web since its inception. Diana Sullivan is a founder of Germantown Commons/New American Villages in Nashville, which she formed after returning from the 2010 Cohousing Conference. A commercial real estate broker, with experience in non-profit community leadership, Diana wants to create more cohousing in Tennessee and support our efforts to expand cohousing nationally.
Being interviewed by two reporters in two days about “senior cohousing” is an indication that aging in cohousing is receiving more attention. And this is good, since we know how beneficial cohousing is to life quality, and can be a particularly good choice for older adults. Here are some of the benefits I identified during my interviews, most of which can apply to anyone living in cohousing. However, these in particular address the unique circumstances that seniors can face:
Although it's not what folks generally have their attention on when they start or join communities, the other side of the coin is that people leave. To be sure, this can happen for a wide variety of reasons. Let me give you a hypothetical dozen—all of which I've witnessed.......
With all of the above in mind, let's drill down on what you might ask if you're interviewing someone who has announced they intend to leave.....
Final construction details are near completion as we prepare to move into our Durham Coho building in August. As the first self-developed urban cohousing community in North Carolina, we are mighty proud of our accomplishment. We take special joy in the recent additions of beautiful gardens, of artistic “sails” on our rooftop terrace, and of our common kitchen appliances that will nourish our shared meals.
Coho/US has created a tri-fold brochure available for download printing. Visit http://www.cohousing.org/brochure
The brochure provides an introduction and welcoming to cohousing. We encourage you to use as a recruiting tool for potential members, and an education tool for the general public. Let us know how you are using the brochure, and how it is helpful; other feedback welcome too at office [at] cohousing [dot] org