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Living in Cohousing -A Model for a Sustainable Planet Affordability Strategies Saturday, July 21 Betsy Morris Research Director Cohousing Association of.

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Presentation on theme: "Living in Cohousing -A Model for a Sustainable Planet Affordability Strategies Saturday, July 21 Betsy Morris Research Director Cohousing Association of."— Presentation transcript:

1 Living in Cohousing -A Model for a Sustainable Planet Affordability Strategies Saturday, July 21 Betsy Morris Research Director Cohousing Association of the US Berkeley Cohousing

2 Affordability Strategies 2006 National Cohousing Conference July 21-22, Chapel Hill, NC Elizabeth W. Morris, PhD Cohousing Association of the US

3 Affordability Strategies 2006 National Cohousing Conference July 21-22, Chapel Hill, NC Elizabeth W. Morris, PhD Cohousing Association of the US

4 Affordability Strategies 2006 National Cohousing Conference July 21-22, Chapel Hill, NC Elizabeth W. Morris, PhD Cohousing Association of the US Overview 1.Frequently Asked Questions about Affordability 2.Strategies used in cohousing communities 5. Summary of options –Construction –Mortgage and Rent –Operating costs 4. Pros and Cons 5. Federal requirements 6. Other options Are there grants? 8. Conclusions

5 Affordability Strategies 2006 National Cohousing Conference July 21-22, Chapel Hill, NC Elizabeth W. Morris, PhD Cohousing Association of the US Cohousing in the US Overview Inspired by book by architects Katherine McCamant & Charles Durrett Based on Danish experience from 1970s Resident-led; actively participate in the design and operation of their own neighborhood of homes Typically structured as condominium homeownership, financed by private mortgages Extensive and carefully designed shared facilities Conscious attention to fostering community relationships and effecive decision-making Physical design encourages social contact in common space, and respects private in individual homes

6 Affordability Strategies 2006 National Cohousing Conference July 21-22, Chapel Hill, NC Elizabeth W. Morris, PhD Cohousing Association of the US Cohousing Overview (cont)

7 Affordability Strategies 2006 National Cohousing Conference July 21-22, Chapel Hill, NC Elizabeth W. Morris, PhD Cohousing Association of the US Cohousing Overview (cont)

8 Affordability Strategies 2006 National Cohousing Conference July 21-22, Chapel Hill, NC Elizabeth W. Morris, PhD Cohousing Association of the US Cohousing Examples Quayside Cohousing, Vancouver, BC Urban Mixed use; multi-family condo & rental flats Source: Canadian cohousing network Rosewind Cohousing, Port Townsend, WA Rural small town Lot model development Primarily retirees Rosewind.org

9 Affordability Strategies 2006 National Cohousing Conference July 21-22, Chapel Hill, NC Elizabeth W. Morris, PhD Cohousing Association of the US Typical Features Condominium legal structure Privately owned homes (attached) Average unit 1100 SF Average 3000 SF common house 26 units 60 residents

10 Affordability Strategies 2006 National Cohousing Conference July 21-22, Chapel Hill, NC Elizabeth W. Morris, PhD Cohousing Association of the US Who Lives in Cohousing? Meltzer survey (1996) 85% college educated 90% white Technical and helping Professionals dominate Large # of self-employed and part-time Majority adults ages 30-50

11 Affordability Strategies 2006 National Cohousing Conference July 21-22, Chapel Hill, NC Elizabeth W. Morris, PhD Cohousing Association of the US What is Senior Cohousing? Older residents who choose to grow older in a self-managed, close-knit community Using universal design, each home can transition from an active lifestyle to support new needs Conscious planned co-care agreements with limits Common house offers space for residential home care aides and family visits Coordinate with senior services in the area

12 Affordability Strategies 2006 National Cohousing Conference July 21-22, Chapel Hill, NC Elizabeth W. Morris, PhD Cohousing Association of the US Senior Cohousing in Denmark Cohousing comprises 1% of total housing stock (since 1972) Senior cohousing (since late 1980s) is fastest growing type of cohousing National government support, but limited direct financing Spearheaded by senior quality of life organization Streamlined 5-step process over 24 months Now promoted through nonprofit and for-profit developers

13 Affordability Strategies 2006 National Cohousing Conference July 21-22, Chapel Hill, NC Elizabeth W. Morris, PhD Cohousing Association of the US

14 Affordability Strategies 2006 National Cohousing Conference July 21-22, Chapel Hill, NC Elizabeth W. Morris, PhD Cohousing Association of the US Isn’t cohousing cheaper to build than market rate cohousing?

15 Affordability Strategies 2006 National Cohousing Conference July 21-22, Chapel Hill, NC Elizabeth W. Morris, PhD Cohousing Association of the US Affordable Housing Options Construction Costs Operating Costs Ownership/Rental Costs HOA dues Subsidies

16 Affordability Strategies 2006 National Cohousing Conference July 21-22, Chapel Hill, NC Elizabeth W. Morris, PhD Cohousing Association of the US Affordable Housing Options Energy Efficiency Assure that electric and gas meters are installed and that there is accountability by owner or tenant for use Use properly sized and designed sealed combustion boilers or furnaces and distribution systems or other low-energy use heating Use tankless water heaters, indirect water heaters, sealed combustion water heaters, or solar hot water heaters Specify compact fluorescent fixtures and educate tenants about their energy savings. Provide collection for spent bulbs to be disposed of properly. Specify Energy Star appliances throughout Avoid or minimize air-conditioning with natural ventilation or other passive cooling strategy Consider renewable energy sources such as geothermal or photovoltaics (or pre-wire to be added when feasible) using research grants and rebates Source:

17 Affordability Strategies 2006 National Cohousing Conference July 21-22, Chapel Hill, NC Elizabeth W. Morris, PhD Cohousing Association of the US Affordable Housing Options Limited equity homeownership Rentals with income caps Shared housing (rental) Cooperatively owned units Nonprofit land trust Affordable housing tax credits Section 8 subsidized units Habitat for Humanity units Public Housing Authority or nonprofit ownership of some units Units designated and subsidized for developmentally disabled tenants Silent second mortgage Internal tradeoffs among homeowners

18 Affordability Strategies 2006 National Cohousing Conference July 21-22, Chapel Hill, NC Elizabeth W. Morris, PhD Cohousing Association of the US Affordable Housing Options Construction Phase Step 8. Conduct cost analyses early and often Why is this step important? Development is an iterative process between the aspirations and goals for a project and the realities of the available budget. Too often critical design components - components that may impact the long term viability of a project - are eliminated to save money. To make the problem worse, this "trade-off" often occurs at a point when the design is fairly far advanced; i.e., when it's too late to adjust the design and the only option is to eliminate specific components. Close attention to cost from the earliest stages of the project will help ensure that the evolving design can be built for the available budget. Some tradeoffs will be inevitable as the process unfolds, but if costs are analyzed and controlled on an ongoing basis, these tradeoffs can be minimized so as not to affect critical design components.

19 Affordability Strategies 2006 National Cohousing Conference July 21-22, Chapel Hill, NC Elizabeth W. Morris, PhD Cohousing Association of the US Affordable Housing Options Land Trust Dearborn Commons (not built) - land trust

20 Affordability Strategies 2006 National Cohousing Conference July 21-22, Chapel Hill, NC Elizabeth W. Morris, PhD Cohousing Association of the US Resources on Cohousing Affordability Institute for Community Economics National Low-income Housing Coalition, Washington National Coop Bank Neighborworks Institute Habitat for Humanity Enterprise Foundation Fannie Mae Foundation Banks City or State trust R.S. Means also provides some information gratis at their website Marshall & Swift's site is For analyses based on material and quantity "take-offs," software tools are available from these companies and from the Enterprise Foundation. Craftsman can be reached at or R.S. Means is at or Marshall & Swift is at or The Enterprise Foundation is at or

21 Affordability Strategies 2006 National Cohousing Conference July 21-22, Chapel Hill, NC Elizabeth W. Morris, PhD Cohousing Association of the US Research Studies on Aging and Community 1. The Roseto Effect -- Researchers from Harvard and Yale found that the men in a close-knit community had less heart attacks. 2. Population Based Study of Social and Productive Activities as Predictors of Survival Among Elderly Americans A coalition of Harvard, Yale and Rush Institute for Healthy Aging researchers found that social and productive activities were equally as significant as physical exercise in promoting longer, healthier lives in Americans Anticipated Support From Neighbors and Physical Functioning During Later Life A SUNY researcher has found that the expectation of neighborliness keeps older adults more functional. 4. Social Participation and Health in a Community Rich in Stock of Social Capital Finnish researchers from the Social Insurance Institution of Finland found that members of the Swedish-speaking minority living in Finland live longer, healthier lives due to more active and meaningful social lives than their Finnish counterparts. 5. Maintaining Cognitive Health in an Ageing (sic) Society Researchers from France, the U.K. and the U.S. find social engagement, intellectual stimulation and physical activity play a key role in maintaining cognitive health. 6. Participating in Social Activities Helps Preserve Cognitive Function: An Analysis of a Longitudinal, Population-Based Study of the Elderly An international group of researchers finds community social activities have even higher impact than family relations on maintaining and improving cognitive function among the elderly. 7. Lack of Social Support and Incidence of Coronary Heart Disease in Middle-Aged Swedish Men Researchers find lack of social support for men as significant as smoking as a leading indicator for coronary heart disease. Compiled by ElderCohousing.orgThe Roseto EffectPopulation Based Study of Social and Productive Activities as Predictors of Survival Among Elderly AmericansAnticipated Support From Neighbors and Physical Functioning During Later LifeSocial Participation and Health in a Community Rich in Stock of Social CapitalMaintaining Cognitive Health in an Ageing (sic) SocietyParticipating in Social Activities Helps Preserve Cognitive Function: An Analysis of a Longitudinal, Population-Based Study of the ElderlyLack of Social Support and Incidence of Coronary Heart Disease in Middle-Aged Swedish Men

22 Affordability Strategies 2006 National Cohousing Conference July 21-22, Chapel Hill, NC Elizabeth W. Morris, PhD Cohousing Association of the US Cohousing Resources Keep in Touch! Cohousing Association of the US - Cohousing.org –Virtual tour –Communities directory –E-zine articles –Classifieds –Coho-L listserve –Tours, trainings, events, books –Links to professionals Senior Cohousing Facilitator Training, April 2006 National Cohousing Conference, North Carolina, June, 2006 The Cohousing Company - Cohousingco.org ElderCohousing.org AgingInCommunity.com Fellowship for Intentional Communities - www,ic.org –Communities Magazine –National directory of intentional communities CoHousing Neighbors out for a stroll in Golden, CO (Photo by Julia Rainer)


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