Chuck Durrett of McCamant & Durrett Architects, NE Cohousing Summit Presenter
There is a senior housing crisis in this country. In the United States, traditional senior housing options aren’t meeting the needs of older adults. Many attempts to put seniors in community have proven to work short term, but funding and employee retention continue to strain these organizations. Senior support, like Meals on Wheels, drains local economies and is constantly at risk of being dropped, which could leave seniors without access to proper nutrition and socialization.
The world of cohousing includes generous and talented people spread all over the country. When they find each other, amazing things happen. Communities get needed members and cohousing seekers find new homes. Cohousing professionals get the work they need to remain focused on cohousing and communities become more effective in anything from site design to consensus process. The challenge is that connecting people who are spread all over the country can be tough.
Maybe someday we’ll figure out how to build communities that fix themselves. Until we manage that, join us at the NE Cohousing Summit this September to learn how to keep your community in good working order. From getting the work done, to making sure you have the money to pay for it, and even making needed changes, our Saturday sessions will give you tools for keeping your community vibrant, financially stable and in good working order.
Elizabeth (Liz) Magill, NE Cohousing Summit Presenter
Why can't we all just get along?
Some percentage of people who join a cohousing community do so because they want everyone to "just get along". Idyllic images of not just knowing your neighbors, but also of really liking to hang out with your neighbors flutter through our heads.
And then we move in. Or maybe the first break with that image happens before move-in. Maybe its an email that sets it off, or something that happens with the kids and you have different views of what to do about it or even different views as to what happened.
“Move into community!” they said. “You’ll be so close with your neighbors!” they said. “Consensus is an empowering and relational way to make decisions.” they said. “We’ll laugh and play and dance together.”
So you are looking over the conference schedule and reading through all the amazing information you are going to receive in Saturday’s sessions. You are wondering whether it is worth the added time and expense to attend a half-day or full-day session on Friday. Here are my top five reasons for attending intensives in addition to the Saturday sessions.
Building Cohousing To Do List:
Find Land, Invite New Members, Plan (another) Info Meeting, Hire Architect . . .
For those creative and industrious people who are birthing brand new cohousing communities, the list can feel endless, so why would you add “Attend the NE Cohousing Summit”?
A storyteller, a photographer and an architect walk into a bar . . . or maybe it is a common house. They are joined by a teacher, a lawyer, a developer, a farmer, an activist, a mother, an artist, a grandchild, a musician, and a whole bunch of other cool people. They hug and laugh and reminisce and introduce themselves to each other. They teach each other new things and contemplate old problems. They are friendly, warm and so very wise. Every one of them is committed to living in community, to caring for others, and to sharing the resources they have.
What shall we discuss as we are forming our communities? Every forming community (I hope!) asks this question and communities that have already moved in give lots of different answers. Many of those answers are in the form of "I wish we'd resolved this" and "we decided x which was irrelevant and should have decided y which was important." All of those reflections are completely true, of course, but I don't think they get at the purpose for deciding things prior to move-in.
The purpose of discussing policies before move-in is to resolve as much as you can about your values before getting so many new members you can never agree on values.