When I think about non-profit organizations, I mostly think of helping those who cannot help themselves - those suffering in some way from poverty or illness or both. So why would I support The Cohousing Association? Isn’t cohousing about the place you live? Aren’t most of the people who live there middle class or above? Why would I want to be part of an organization like that?
This story was written in 2003 and first published in David Wann's book Reinventing Community: Stories from the Walkways of Cohousing. We are republishing it here with permission because it is such a great example of how cohousing communities nurture and support beyond the community itself.
We’ve been living with foster children in our house for nine months. In many ways this experience has served to remind us just how supportive cohousing can be to those who live there and how far its influence can reach to improve the lives of people beyond our immediate neighborhood.
For any forming cohousing community, finding a building site is a big event. Skagit Cohousing is especially blessed to find land nurtured for the past 30 years by Ann and Bill Testerman. After raising their children (and many animals) on their 4 plus acres, Ann and Bill decided that in their retirement, it was time to downsize and adopt a lifestyle less tied to the land and nearer family. Many couples would consult a realtor, put up a "for sale" sign, look for the highest price purchaser, and be on their way. Bill and Ann do things differently.
The Cohousing Association of the US was delighted to welcome longtime process professional, Laird Schaub for a WebChat on working with emotions. An audience of about 80 people including groups gathered in common houses to watch together.
The following question was asked on a WebChat on Oct 18, 2018. We didn’t have time to answer it there, so Karen is offering the answer here.
Is there a way to get folks who are extremely focused on "getting a lot done" -- especially leaders/facilitators who make very packed meeting agendas down to the minute and are worried that they need to build membership ASAP in order to get to actually living in community ASAP -- to slow down and focus on connection? Or, is this a basic mismatch of values and I should seek another community?
Karen Gimnig shared about the value of Getting Connected and strategies for making it happen faster. After a short presentation, questions ranged from managing speakers in meetings to balancing work on connection with decision-making.
This fall I got to spend some time with long-term cohousers. I asked them “Why cohousing?” As expected, they told me about neighborly support, caring for the environment, common meals, and all sorts of details of why it’s enjoyable to live in cohousing. What felt more important, though, were all the reasons the world needs more cohousing.
The Cohousing Association of the US was delighted to host Jerry Koch-Gonzalez of Sociocracy for All for the first in our series of WebChats. Over 70 people attended the program, including groups that gathering in their common house to watch together. We always love to see cohousing in action.
Jerry started the evening with a short presentation of facilitation skills and techniques. He then answered questions from participants about everything from power and privilege to community connection. We all learned a lot and now you can too.
Last weekend’s NE Summit kicked off with a day of pre-conference intensive workshops hosted by Pioneer Valley Cohousing in their common house. We filled every room with 2 full day and 7 half day workshops. We were greeted by cohousing in action with community members on hand to welcome us while others were working to maintain their community or going about their daily lives.