Creating Cohousing

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Converting a Trailer Park to Cohousing?

I want to buy a trailer park and convert it to a cohousing community. I will wait till you are done laughing. OK, here is the rationale behind this seemingly idiotic idea.

My family joined Camelot Cohousing sort of half way through the process. We joined in 2007. Camelot got built in 2008, and we moved in April 2009. This has been the best social and emotional decision we have made as a family. On the other hand, financially speaking, it has probably been the worst decision, given that our construction happened in the middle of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. It is a miracle we are still standing - having a blast even!

Affordable Green Neighborhoods Grant Program

A lack of affordable housing remains one of the most critical problems facing metropolitan regions across the country. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, over 6.5 million low income families spend more than 50% of their incomes on housing and utility costs. Further burdening low income families is the fact that less expensive housing is often located far from job centers and transit, which results in even higher costs for housing when transportation costs and increased vehicle miles traveled (VMT) are considered. LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND) encourages locations that reduce VMT and are proximate to jobs and services by foot or transit.

Wow -- Walls at Wolf Creek Lodge

The members of Wolf Creek Lodge are excited to see their walls going up.

The Wolf Creek Lodge community was formed in 2006 when Kathryn McCamant identified an ideal plot of land on Wolf Creek in Grass Valley, California for a multifaceted cohousing community.  The community will include both an intergenerational cohousing community and a senior cohousing community.

Over time the senior cohousers, Wolf Creek Lodge, recruited more members, worked with the architects, McCamant and Durrett, and were ready to start construction.  However, the financial crisis of 2008 brought everything to a halt.  The bank was no longer able to offer a construction loan but suggested we reapply several months later, but the terms would be more challenging.

The community was determined.  They made additional upfront commitments themselves and reapplied for a loan.  Finally in September of 2010 the bank gave its approval.

Partnerships for Affordable Cohousing

I am pleased to announce the launch of a new non-profit organization, Partnerships for Affordable Cohousing, Inc. (PFAC). Its mission is to develop and provide permanently affordable cohousing homes throughout the United States. PFAC partners with local and national groups to support affordable cohousing for low- and moderate-income families and individuals. Please see for more information.

Please contact myself (jgarciano [at] edwardswildman [dot] com) or Rick Keller, President of PFAC, (richart [dot] keller [at] gmail [dot] com) if you are interested in partnering with PFAC in its mission. Specifically we are looking for people to serve on our board of directors or board of advisors. We are also planning to form a group of private investors to create an investment fund to financially support affordable cohousing. If you have any interest in exploring either of these areas please contact us.

Veteran's Cohousing: Combining Military Training with Cohousing Principles to Produce Supportive Housing

As the Iraq and Afghanistan wars wind down and the federal budget deficit necessitates cuts in defense spending, thoughtful Americans (and board members of the National Cohousing Association) are thinking about ways to ease the transition from military service to civilian life for those who have served the country. A recent Army Times article reported...

Full article at

Have Conscience, Will Build: A Developer Reflects on Cohousing

Jim Leach, Wonderland Hill Development Company, Boulder, Colorado

If cohousers resemble the European frontier folk who settled America, it’s not difficult to picture developer Jim Leach in a buckskin coat. In a variety of ways, he’s in the vanguard, leading the movement to resettle America. In addition to being the developer of Silver Sage Village, an experiment in elder cohousing, Jim and his wife, Brownie, will also live there. DLW

Like a flame draws a moth, cohousing attracts a certain type of house builder. I’m afraid I am one of those types, as are many of my friends and associates. Somewhere in the back of our minds, we think we are going to save the world, our country, or at least our hometown from environmental and social degradation through the quality of the housing we create. This challenge keeps a lot of us going in an industry that is full of political adversity and economic risk.

Creating Rituals - Welcoming New Members

In a recent post I talked about the aprons we use as part of our welcoming ceremony for new members. And I haven’t put it into the context of our overall welcoming ceremony.

As with our community, our welcoming ceremony is informal and homey. And it still has a little structure. The idea was to make the ceremony a re-bonding experience for everyone and a simple, but heart-felt welcome. At their inception, rituals can feel a bit home-spun, but they build quickly and don’t need to be elaborate.

New cohousing group sought for downtown Oakland, CA site

Potential Downtown Oakland (California) Cohousing siteYou could be a future resident of a new-build cohousing community in downtown Oakland close to the subway (a very short ride to downtown San Francisco), City Hall, The new "Uptown" neighborhood, and the First Unitarian Church of Oakland (FUCO).

It takes time, energy and money contributed by the future-resident group to get a cohousing community built. Finding suitable sites at a reasonable cost in the Bay Area has been very difficult for many years... so when a site like the one described here becomes available, we're inclined to jump at the chance to see if a future resident group (as well as some outside investors) can be assembled.

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