INTRODUCTION TO THE “THEN AND NOW” SERIES
Visitors touring CoHo sometimes ask how our expectations for community prior to move-in differ from our current day-to-day reality.
Comparing “then and now” is the framework for this series of blog postings. The source of historical perspective is the CoHo newsletters published in 2006 and 2007 (they are still available on our website). This was an intensive time, with the primary focus on actively building the community (both in terms of actual construction of buildings and the collection of folks who would be our neighbors).
What were our dreams in 2006? What is our daily life like now in 2014?
First, read the original newsletter (link below), then return to this posting for current perspectives.
In 2006, CoHo Ecovillage was focused on attracting 34 households to join our growing community. Since our fall 2007 move-in, there have been 7 resales of 5 units (plus 2 resales in the first year that involved CoHoots swapping units).
In 2006, there were 80+ built cohousing communities in the US. By 2008, the number of built communities had grown to more than 100. According to the communities directory on cohousing.org, there are now more than 220 cohousing communities either completed or in formation.
Although the local and national cohousing scene has changed in the past 8 years, this 2006 post about saying “YES” to cohousing translates very well to 2014. The same factors (cohousing, site, neighbors, unit) are still part of the decision-making matrix whether you hope to join a forming group or an established community.
Some CoHoots learned that one or more of the “yes” responses they had given did not lead to the outcomes they had hoped for. Some of those folks moved on to other housing options; some did not. Some CoHoots learned to value the “co” (community) part of cohousing more than the “housing” part. Some could no longer imagine living outside of community, even when experiencing frustration at dealing with challenging issues as elbow-to-elbow neighbors.
How has CoHo helped folks who are starting to explore cohousing?
Our First Responders (the CoHoots who answer calls and emails about CoHo) have fielded lots of questions and given many tours. CoHo has also coordinated joint tours with a forming community in Eugene (Oakleigh Meadow). CoHo continues to host a website with generous amounts of information on the community.
Renting first (to get a first-hand preview of community life) is sometimes an option. That happened twice at CoHo (one future neighbor rented, then bought her unit; another future neighbor rented a room and then bought a different unit).
A few years ago, CoHo revamped its Friends of CoHo program and launched a new Associate Member program. Both of these affiliate programs give folks living off-site an opportunity to connect with the community. Some affiliates hope to live on-site in the future, while others have living situations off-site that work well, and some even come to the realization that living in the community itself isn’t necessarily the best fit.
If you share the sentiments of the CoHoot quoted in newsletter 11 (“I want to be part of something that is bigger and more important than I am….”) you may be ready to start the cohousing journey to Yes-Yes-Yes-Yes.