Throughout 2020 forming cohousing communities have been enjoying the benefits of the Community Launch program with CohoUS. We’re making it even better for 2021. Jennie Lindberg of Sunnyside Village Cohousing describes her experience with the program this way: I want to give a big “shout out” to the Community Launch program at CohoUS. As… Read More
The Community Partnership Program: Win-Win for Communities and Coho/US! Anyone who has participated in a Coho/US conference knows how much they learnedindividually – and the wealth of information and experience they brought back to their homecommunity. When a community joins the Community Partnership Program, every member getsunlimited access to all of the online conferences. That… Read More
Join us for a webinar to follow our journey over the past year and a half, learn about the current status of our project and how you can become a member. You are invited to a Zoom meeting. Please pre-register for this virtual event. Find more information about Bozeman Cohousing and the link to pre-register… Read More
Physically Distancing, Socially Connecting
WOW. What changes the world has seen in the recent few weeks. CohoUS saw rapid change happening worldwide and believed that we could provide a platform for cohousers to do what they do best: Connect and Collaborate.
CohoUS has been hosting once or twice weekly a series of free WebChats ‘Cohousing and the Coronavirus’. Here are some of the concepts collected thus far:
BE KIND with each other
The unknown is scary, and fear often leads to resistance.
Remember that as a community you love each other, or like each other, or at least have learned to accept differences and tolerate each other.
LISTEN to each other
Give plenty of opportunity for your community members to share what their feelings are, to voice their concerns, to ask for help.
BE GENTLE with each other
Often people don’t like to be told what to do or what they are not allowed to do. Note that the CDC guidelines are recommendations; they are using their knowledge to suggest what they think is best practice in this specific situation.
That people may have differing views. Consider giving to the more conservative if that will allow a community member to feel safer. Truly hearing others opinions can challenge our minds.
THINK outside of the box
Consider meeting weekly instead of monthly for the time being.
Don’t let the social stuff disappear. Be creative when thinking about how to do the fun stuff! Dice games while on zoom, virtual knitting circles, share recipes, trade books, ‘meet’ for happy hour.
HELP keep the parents from imploding!
Think of fun stuff to do ‘with’ the kids. Eat ice cream for breakfast ‘together’ on zoom; offer riddles to kids, create scavenger hunts, share art supplies, help the kids create a virtual band!
Local restaurants, trade workers, teachers, health care workers. Order takeout if your budget allows; paying for services if you can, even if temporarily not happening
SHOW appreciation by sincerely thanking grocery workers, delivery drivers, health care workers, teachers, volunteers
Find out what local needs are and give. Hand sanitizer for the homeless shelter, food to the food pantry, etc
LEARN how to use things like Zoom, Facetime, WhatsApp, Snapchat, etc
A few fun ideas …
Play an entire game of monopoly
Learn how to play ukulele
Start and finish a puzzle
Write a book or a song
Clean out your spice drawer
Write letters to distant family, to old friends
Dress your animal up in clothes and take photos
Bake bread from scratch
Take an online dance class
Sort through old photos
Color your hair purple
Watch your Netflix list
Plant a garden
Read through your stack of books
Learn a language
We are Stronger Together (even if at least 6 feet apart)
Since the beginning, cohousing communities in the US have named diversity as a
core value. We have wanted to live among a variety of people: race, gender,
orientation, wealth. In this moment, as our nation is more vividly aware than ever
before of the ways race influences individuals’ experience of life in community, it
seems appropriate to ask ourselves, where is cohousing in all this?
There is no question that across cohousing there is a strong desire to be welcoming
to all. We ask ourselves, how do we attract people of color? It is a very difficult
question. Anyone who has hung out in the cohousing world and visited a range of
communities will tell you, we mostly haven’t figured it out. Our communities are far
more white than their surrounding areas.
Perhaps this is because we are asking the wrong question. Perhaps we are falling
into the common majority-culture trap of missing the perspective of the very people
we would like to engage. To put it in the words of one wife responding to her
husband’s suggestion that they move to cohousing, “Why would we want to live with
a bunch of white people?”
So in the midst of a huge national shift around race, we offer a new set of questions
cohousers might ask ourselves in our effort to live in more diversity:
How do we join people of color? How do we meet communities of color where they
are, to best serve them?
What sort of community would meet the particular needs of non-white people?
What can we learn from other cultures about doing community really well?
What are the unmet needs, which may be very different than ours?
Are there things we have learned through cohousing that can be offered to
communities, existing and forming, that reflect a culture different than whitemajority?
Innovation is all about finding a better way – a better way to build or live or cook or sleep or grow tomatoes. Whatever your passion is, the innovators in that space are the ones who bring new ideas and show us new ways. Never in history has it been more evident that we desperately need new ways. In particular we need new ways to meet needs for connection, safety, and other basic needs.
Decades after the first cohousing was built in the US, the concept remains innovative as more and more people engage with this “new” idea.
What matters more for 2020 is that cohousing fosters innovation. It unites people who share a vision for a better life and proves a structure within which their ideas cross-pollinate, find support and spark collaboration. It connects visionaries with the doers who make things happen. Cohousing equips neighbors with support systems and cooperative skills. Individual innovators can have a powerful impact. Communities of innovators have exponentially more, which is exactly what our world needs.
Three cheers for communities of innovators! Three cheers for cohousing!
Monan’s Rill is a 414-acre intentional, intergenerational community in Sonoma County, California. We hold a shared commitment to the land we live on, to a set of core community values, and to one another. Most of us have come of age in a society that emphasizes competition, materialism and self-enhancement. We feel that this has… Read More
Our recent online conference, Community For All, was a great day full of inspiring and challenging messages about how cohousing can welcome diversity in more effective and meaningful ways. Click HERE for a taste of what was shared. The four minute video barely touches the richness of the full conference. Fortunately it’s not too late to register for the full event with all 13 recordings and more. Click here for more information.
The theme for Spring 2020 here at CohoUS has been the amazing amount of connection that can be had with physical distance. Across the country and into Canada, we’ve gathered together online to share information, borrow ideas, and most of all connect with each other in a series of events designed for just that.
We’re so grateful to our friends at SOFA for showing us the power of an online conference. After our first full day conference in February, it was clear that we should expand this program, and so we added our May event to the two already on the calendar.
Meanwhile, Covid arrived, so we activated our WebChat structure and invited our large community of communities to come together online in a series of 12 weekly events to help all of our communities find our way through the pandemic.
The response has proven once again that we are better together, during crisis and everyday.
When harm comes our way, the thing that determines our survival is resilience. Resilience is our ability to recover, to heal, to continue on when life goes badly. More is better, and there is a harsh limit on how much resilience a person can have individually. Humans are an incredibly resilient species because we gain resilience in our tribes. When one falls, another helps them up. When one is sad, another holds their hand. When a disease sends one to bed, others seek a cure, provide care, hold light, and do essential tasks. Resilience.
We cohousers are noticing it now, as we protect one another from COVID-19 and from the loneliness that comes of that protection. We are relying on the resilience of our communities and of our community of communities across the nation, and in that resilience we are thriving.
COVID-19 has spotlighted a resilience we’ve long enjoyed but perhaps not noticed. The resilience that is now holding us together through crisis is the same resilience that watered the garden the day you worked a double shift. It’s the resilience that lifted your spirits when bad news arrived and kept you from deeper depression. It’s the resilience that took a bad day at school and finished it on a porch swing full of giggling friends. It’s meals and hugs and a listening ear. It’s humor and empathy and wisdom and skills and shared objects. It is the resilience of community and it is precious indeed.
It’s retreat time for the board and staff of CohoUS. This year we gathered on zoom to reconnect with each other and with our shared mission. We asked ourselves about the value of our organization and of our work. The answer turned out to be simple.
The value of cohousing is community. In particular CohoUS is about community born of the intention to be caring and engaged neighbors and achieved through the proximity of living together. Community is as simple as our universal human need for connection and belonging and as complex as dozens of individuals coming together with diverse needs and resources figuring out how to live together. Our common need draws us together in a community of communities where the challenges of complexity are made easier by the sharing of experience and resources.
CohoUS holds this shared value and celebrates the variety that flows from it. Each group adds its own combination of values and goals to the central theme of community. Some make space for food production. Others focus on the accessibility needs of seniors. Whether your passion is a shooting range or a tiny house, the power of community will draw neighbors who share your vision. CohoUS will be here to connect you with others who are finding our way through the challenges of creating community and living together.
It is the first week of autumn here in Southern New England – a few dabs of color creeping into the brush and trees. There is promise in the air, promise of the brilliant foliage that blesses our land each year after the harvest. Our gardens are now nearly empty of their summer bounty, and… Read More