Drawing Board to Reality: Aligning with Stakeholders* to address the Big Three--Quality of Life, Cost of Care, and Affordability (Breakout Session)

Presented by Wendy Willbanks Wiesner, Partnerships for Affordable Cohousing

Session Description

(*Stakeholders = financial intermediaries, impact funds, community loan funds, health care-focused entities, housing development organizations, community/economic development offices, non-profits, foundations, agencies, faith-based organizations, and neighborhoods).

From start to finish in the life of a project, professional expertise, marketing savvy, adequate working capital, and access to equity and debt finance are crucial. Whether your challenge is funding pre-development, securing reasonably-priced land, growing a forming group, or securing construction and mortgage loans, there are organizations that can help you, and you can help them.

Mutually beneficial collaborations, partnerships and working relationships can make a project and everyone involved with it better. Fears of having strings attached and losing control can be replaced with the reality of a less expensive, healthier, vibrant, grounded and more highly-contributing project.

Because the cohousing model offers a desirable and cost-effective solution for challenging economic, social and environmental problems, our public, private, and non-profit entities are naturally intrigued. Cohousing that is focused on the needs and wants of seniors is especially interesting, because unlike other senior-related investment, cohousing impacts the Big Three of Aging--Quality of Life, Cost of Care, and Affordability--in a thoroughly unique way, where compromising in one of these areas doesn't mean a mandatory sacrifice in another.

Turning this curiosity and interest into a commitment to invest time and resources to make a project real is the challenge.

About the Presenter/s

Wendy Willbanks Wiesner is Executive Director of Partnerships for Affordable Cohousing (PFAC). After experiencing the development and completion of a large infill development with affordable housing within her neighborhood, she was compelled to find a better social, economic, and environmental solution. Thankfully, she found cohousing. Making cohousing communities more affordable, and making affordable housing more like cohousing--this is her work. Wendy lives in Denver, Colorado. More broadly referred to by locals as the Front Range of Colorado, cohousing development in this area (especially in Denver, Boulder, Longmont, Lakewood, Arvada, and Littleton) is booming.

Additional Information

In this session, we will:

1) Examine the collaborations and partnerships that have successfully attracted resources in the past and are well-positioned to work well in the future;

2) Pose strategies for expanding partnerships into broad community coalitions that are focused upon Quality of Life, Cost of Care, and Affordability;

3) Separate public and private partners into categories and identify sources for finding them;

4) Zero-in on what kinds of institutions/entities are most likely to appreciate cohousing and why;

5) Determine how to pick the right institutional collaborator and match it with a project's specific resource needs; and

6) Think about the key aspects of cohousing that can translate into a compelling shared vision, and customize it to meet local market conditions and opportunities.