Recording Library - Affordability

In the 1990's the big challenge for a then fledgling cohousing movement was to get the word out and let people know what cohousing could be. With cohousing more and more in the public awareness, the challenge for the 2020's is affordability.  Now that people know about cohousing, how do we make it possible for people at various income levels to afford it? 

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Adding Affordabilities – case studies in affordable cohousing
Cohousing Affordability
Charles Durrett

For this session, cohousing Architect Charles Durrett, will dive into several of his past projects including those in Vancouver, Eugene, Anchorage and some of the 18 others outlined in detail in his new book, Community-Enhanced Design: Cohousing and Other High Functioning Neighborhoods. Creating a viable and affordable cohousing neighborhood encompasses many factors such as education and awareness, development and process, finance and legal to affordable materials, constructability and sustainable energy. Charles will be pulling the key information from these case studies to summarize the ways in which designing a neighborhood can be a clear and predictable process.

Affordability and Aging: Reverse Mortgages & Community Support Funds
Cohousing Affordability
Raines Cohen

As we live, grow, and age in cohousing, some of us face increasing costs and fixed incomes. How can we prevent displacement and keep our neighborhoods thriving? We’ll look at institutional options (Reverse Mortgages) and mutual support systems (Squirrel Fund) and how they can serve your community.

Affordability by Design and Intention: Case Studies from Takoma Village Cohousing and Elderspirit Cohousing
Cohousing Affordability
Ann Zabaldo, Dene Peterson, Yoomie Ahn

There are two kinds of affordability in cohousing: the kind that is “baked-in by design” — grants, subsidies, tax credits, municipal bonds and, the “extra ordinary” financial programs created by cohousing communities that provide financial assistance beyond the “sharing and caring” model of cohousing. Dene Peterson, ElderSpirit and Ann Zabaldo, Takoma Village, will present case studies on how their communities used and continue to use both kinds of affordability to substantially reduce costs to their members. Yoomie Ahn, Gratitude EcoVillage, a forming group, will moderate the session.

Supporting Documents:
Affordability in Living in Cohousing
Affordable Conference on Affordable Cohousing
Betsy Morris, Raines Cohen

Live conversation with resident leaders in Cohousing. Join us LIVE from Cambridge, MA and Berkeley, CA – facilitating in-person gatherings with area cohousers participating in the conference. Hear from individual cohousers from different established communities discussing their personal and collective experiences. Get to know how innovations in food systems, shared spaces, room rentals, car-sharing, and even hiring each other has helped reduce gaps between housing prices and personal capacities.

East Bay Permanent Real Estate Coop

Affordability: Building Blocks
WebChat #40
Betsy Morris

What are the basic building blocks of affordability in cohousing? What strategies have different communities employed to reduce costs and bring in outside funding as they develop? What kinds of partnerships make it possible to economically diversify and extend the range of the movement? How can we overcome the market realities and stereotypes, slay the myths of shortcuts and engage proven paths to true affordability?
As we prepare for the Affordable Conference on Affordable Cohousing on February 22, join Cohousing Coach Betsy Morris, in a re-release and group discussion of her Cohousing Journal / Communities Magazine article outlining the many innovative approaches that pioneering communities adopted in the first decade of the movement. Which ones are relevant today? Can these unique models be replicated in new projects?
Betsy is a Cohousing California regional organizer and Global EcoVillage Network (GEN) Ambassador, living in community in Berkeley, California. She is part of the Cohousing Research Network and serves on the area’s Gray Panthers board, working to learn from Tiny Home Villages and landless peoples as we share cohousing principles.

Affordability: Lessons Learned
WebChat #41
Katie McCamant

As the person who has worked more cohousing project budgets (and seen them thru to completion) than perhaps anyone else in the US, Katie will review what makes it so hard to keep projects affordable. Almost every community starts out wanting to keep costs low and to be able to offer more affordable options. Katie will help us understand why they aren’t more successful in that aim. Katie is also very familiar with the affordable housing world of subsidies and the opportunities and limitations of that world. Katie’s goal, in all of her work, is to help cohousing groups increase their likelihood of success by building on the knowledge gained from the cohousing development over the last 30 years, while adapting to the needs of future communities.

Bridges to Cohousing: Housing that’s Fair
Bridges to Cohousing: Housing That's Fair
Katie McCamant, Eve Stewart, Jim Leach

Part 1: Learn the basics of cohousing affordability including types of subsidies and how they work related to costs. Discover best practices in cohousing affordability such as inclusionary units, voluntary community contributions, and informal solutions. Hear about the development and impacts of affordable cohousing developments such as Petaluma Avenue Homes developed by SAHA (Satellite Affordable Housing Associates) and Cohousing Solutions.

Part 2: Ask questions and offer input on expanding cohousing affordability.

Building a pocket neighborhood in rural Oklahoma – Lessons learned
Cohousing Affordability
Ty Albright

Using an all-equity strategy, Ty took under a city block in Sulphur Oklahoma, worked with local talent and supplies and developed 8 lots plus a common area. He’s built the 1st of 8 homes and is now working on house #2. He did this with no debt. Ty will share actual numbers, experience gained, and mistakes made and offer suggestions for those wanting to attempt something similar.

CHUC: Affordability in Perpetuity
Affordable Conference on Afordable Cohousing
Grace Kim

Capitol Hill Urban Cohousing (CHUC) is a unique community in many ways. With nine families living on 4500sf of land, we are the smallest and yet most dense (90 units to the acre) cohousing community in North America. In addition, we have a unique ownership model that prioritized affordability in perpetuity – the legal structure is an LLC that owns an apartment building, where all the renters are members of the company who owns the building. In practice it is something between a co-op, a no-equity condo, and a rent-controlled apartment building. Learn about our unique model to see what lessons learned may be gleaned for your future community.

Cohousing Home Pricing for Equity and Affordability – How move from project costs to home sales price
The Nuts and Bolts of Community
Joren Bass, Eric Granum (UDP)

During the development process all communities must translate project costs into final home sales prices. This is one of the most important financial and collective decisions communities must make. A well-designed community will likely have a diverse mix of unit sizes and types. Each home will likely have unique attributes such as location within the community, differing access to light and views, or constructed attributes such as extra bathrooms or balconies. So how do you create a pricing framework that follow the basic cohousing principles of equity and shared affordability and also reflect the common market conditions for appraisal and financing. This session will discuss pitfalls and successful approaches for developing communities can use to set home prices.

Community Land Trusts
Affordable Conference on Affordable Cohousing
Rebecca Lane, Kathleen Hosfeld

Community land trusts (CLT’s) are seeing a resurgence in the United States as a solution for skyrocketing homeownership costs. Originated in the south in the early 60s, this model has new relevance for the housing affordability crisis that has affected virtually every state in the nation.

In our hour together we will share the basics of what a CLT is, and how an equity limited model can support both multi generational affordable home ownership and community. Lots of time for Q&A at the end!

HUD link
Grounded Solutions
Proud Ground

Supporting Documents:
Creating Approaches for Affordability
Cohousing Affordability
Jim Leach, Katie McCamant, Bryan Bowen

This will be an interactive session with experience professionals and audience members working together to consider options and possibilities for increasing affordability in cohousing.

Customization Kills
Affordable Conference on Affordable Cohousing
Mac Thomson

Many people new to construction don’t realize how significantly customization drives up costs. This session is for cohousers in the planning stages of design and construction. You will learn how to limit choices for homebuyers so your homes will be more affordable, but still gorgeous, energy efficient, and incorporating plenty of personal design elements to make it feel like your own.

Heartwood Cohousing

Economically Integrated Cohousing
Cohousing Affordability
Jim Leach, Katie McCamant, Bryan Bowen

This experienced panel will present models of and lessons learned from low and moderate income housing in cohousing communities and will include a discussion of potential new models of economically integrated communities.

Evidence-Based Affordable Cohousing: Taking the Next Steps
Affordable Conference on Affordable Cohousing
Chuck MacLane, Diane Margolis, Heidi Berrggren, Jane Nichols

CRN research findings and related information will be outlined as a basis for discussion. The subsequent sharing of ideas can lead to new ways of thinking about the intersection of affordability and cohousing.

LA EcoVillage
Cohousing Research Network
Cohousing Film

Supporting Documents:
Examples of Affordable Cohousing
Affordable Conference on Affordable Cohousing
Jim Leach, Mary Kraus

This presentation will begin with a summary of the unique cohousing elements that affect its cost and affordability. We will then look at specific approaches to affordability, including zoning and density bonuses and Boulder’s inclusionary housing program, as well as strategies such as accessory units and rental suites. We will show examples from specific communities, reflecting on both successes and lessons learned in the quest to provide affordable homes in cohousing.

Funding and Support Options for BIPOC Communities
Cohousing Affordability
Crystal Byrd Farmer

Are you seeking to create a community focused around the needs of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color? From community land trusts to the BIPOC IC Council, marginalized groups are innovating ways to acquire land and housing.

Housing Discrimination and the Search for Affordability
Affordable Conference on Affordable Cohousing
Crystal Byrd Farmer

Location is a huge factor in recruiting people to a cohousing community. Unfortunately, the United States has a long history of discriminating against home buyers based on race. We’ll discuss this history and how your site search may unintentionally leave out people of color.

Including auxiliary rental units in cohousing – Nyland’s experience
Cohousing Affordability
Robert Bruegel

One possible approach to improving the affordability of cohousing is to include auxiliary rental units as part of the homes. Nyland – located just east of Boulder, Co – has nearly 30 yrs experience with this. The session will share a Nyland founder’s experience, its impact on affordability, and suggestions for newly forming communities, based on this experience.

Innovations in Affordability
Cohousing Affordability
Betsy Morris

How have cohousing communities baked affordability into their projects? Looking back over the last two decades, what have we learned? What new opportunities, partnerships, funding sources and changes in how we think about cohousing can keep pushing the edges?

Cohousing Affordability
Christine Hernandez

Let’s start from this orientation: HOUSING IS A HUMAN RIGHT!

It goes without saying that the last two years have been full of difficulty and challenges. The damage of a Trump presidency, a global pandemic, civil unrest related to systemic oppression and racism and catastrophic climate events. Since the onset of COVID-19, many of us, who are not stuck in the struggle to meet our most basic need for shelter, are taking inventory and giving deep consideration to our individual lives and how we move through the world. As you continue on this journey and process, I would like to challenge you to give equal consideration to your current orientation, and how your life and wellness is interconnected to that of others.

Can cohousing be a tool for justice?

Keynote Address – The Crisis of Affordable Housing
Affordable Conference on Affordable Cohousing
David Dworkin

David Dworkin, President and CEO of the National Housing Conference, offered the keynote for the Cohousing Association’s Affordable Conference on Affordable Cohousing. He explained the crisis of affordable housing in the US today, and the steps that are needed to change it.

Supporting Documents:
Living in an Affordable Cohousing Unit
Affordable Conference on Affordable Cohousing
Carol Brooks Quintero

First hand experience of living in affordable co-housing unit
A talk from two people who moved into the affordable units at a new community in Virginia. Topics include true costs of moving, adjusting, etc. Plus, ideas on how to attract people of all racial and economic groups to co-housing in general.

Emerson Commons

Low Cost Housing – Challenges and Solutions
Affordable Conference on Affordable Cohousing
Ty Albright

Ty will share his experience with the challenges preventing low cost housing, and share details about a 8 home pocket community neighborhood he is developing which may provide a model for how others can also develop low cost housing.

Trailer Park
Tent City
Tyler’s Station
Ross Chapin Pocket Neighborhoods
Pocket Neighborhoods

Preparing Your Community For Mortgage Success
Affordable Conference on Affordable Cohousing
Adesina Cameron

You’ve done the work to raise your initial capital and break ground. While the buildings are going up you should be preparing to make sure that every member will successfully secure a mortgage when it’s time to move in. Mortgages can be a challenge for Cohousing because banks don’t really understand the concepts and their confusion often makes them say no. Learn about how you need to set up your documents and how you can help your community members get preapproved and stay preapproved throughout construction. This course is also for existing communities to learn how to facilitate successful resales. We will also address how to cultivate the next generation of cohousers so that they can qualify when you have openings.

Adesina’s Website

Retirement Cohousing for Women of “A Certain Age”
Affordable Conference on Affordable Cohousing
Beverly Suek

Women’s Housing Initiative Manitoba
If you are a woman over fifty and living alone, but would prefer to have company, you might consider creating your own, affordable cohousing. Get ideas on how to make your dream a reality. We are a women’s housing co-op of six women who are active, who like being part of a community and having fun together. We recognize the need to be affordable for women over 55, many of whom have no pensions or savings.
We have been operating as cohousing for 5 years and love it!
Check us out on Facebook or our website: WHIM Housing Co-Op

Co-buy resources

Retrofit Cohousing and the “Secret Sauce”
Affordable Conference on Affordable Cohousing
Alan O’Hashi

Traditional cohousing can’t be built fast enough nor inexpensive enough to meet growing demand, particularly for the aging population. There are 10,000 Baby Boomers turning 65 every day through at least the next decade.
If you can’t afford to buy a home or your rent is too high how can cohousing meet your needs?
Remember, housing is housing and what differentiates cohousing from other configurations is the “secret sauce.” I’ll introduce you to three alternatives to “stick-built” cohousing. communities.

Sociocracy For All
N Street Cohousing
Tiny House Cohousing