Cohousing Now!
Fannie Mae Recognizes Cohousing
Success! In response to seeking Fannie Mae support of cohousing, Fannie Mae has included specific language in its online FAQ's to clarify that they will do loans on cohousing homes. While it is a relatively small step in the larger scheme of things, it is a big step for cohousing to be formally recognized by Fannie Mae, the entity that sets the standards for home mortgages across the country. In addition, we now have a relationship with Fannie Mae.
This could only happen with a national effort lead by Coho/US, supported by more than two dozen people and organizations that contributed letters of support. We are particularly thankful to the members of the Association's Cohousing Finance Work Group, which includes our sister affiliate, the Partnerships for Affordable Cohousing, and Katie McCamant of CoHousing Solutions who lead this effort.

Visit Fannie Mae Language Supporting Loans for Cohousing Homes. We plan to expand this webpage so that cohousing communities and home buyers have easy access to this information when they come across a reluctant lender.  Katie McCamant had this experience - yet again - when she was shopping a cohousing construction loan and came across a lender that was convinced they couldn't get Fannie Mae loans. It took that lender nearly three months to get clear with Fannie Mae that being a cohousing neighborhood was not a problem. 

We will be sharing this information with the press, and the banking and mortgage world. We will also be using our success with Fannie Mae to encourage FHA to do the same.  We greatly appreciate your support on this effort. Please let us know as you come across other issues that would be best addressed on the national level. We are, after all, your Cohousing Association.
Alice Alexander, Coho/US Executive Director
Conferences & Events

May 19-21, 2017,  Nashville, Tennessee

Elder Cohousing Research Symposium
Thursday, Oct. 27, University of North Carolina - Wilmington
Unpacking Impacted Tensions  
As a professional consultant in group dynamics I rarely get asked to work with a group when everything is going fine. Usually they're leaking oil, have a busted leaf spring, or can't seem to shift into third gear-and are hoping for inexpensive repairs from me, the itinerant shade tree mechanic..... First of all, it can be awkward admitting (to a stranger, no less!) that your group has troubles that it's not able to navigate on its own. For most of us that's a humbling admission.    read more.    
What Causes Conflict in Cohousing?
Sharon Villines, Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC
I thought the question "what causes conflict in cohousing" was an interesting one. There was an element of surprise in the question. Do you allow conflict? Sometimes we paint ourselves to potential new members as rainbows and candy.  The usual suspects that cause conflict are  "parents, pets, and pesticides" . Or children's behavior, outdoor pets, and cleaning or killing chemicals used in the garden or the common house.  As an example, I'll list the ones that have been issues as Takoma Village - some small, some big. Some private and individual and some with everyone on one side or the other. Some still toasting.  read more  
Cohousing: You Need Not Reinvent the Wheel
Charles Durrett, McCamant & Durrett Architects 
Mountain View Cohousing
Cohousing in Denmark was catapulted into success with the collaboration of the very capable architect Jan Gudmand Hoyer and the architectural firm Vandkunsten. Their idea was inspired by the article titled "Children Should Have One Hundred Parents," by Bodil Graae. Using a village model they created a cohousing community that invited its residents to live autonomously but together -- making the thesis of the article a reality. When the community was completed, a multitude of visitors walked into that village and said to themselves, "Now I could live here. I'm going to go home and make one of these in my town." Read more
Living in Community
Culture of Appreciation
Katie McCamant, Nevada City Cohousing (California)
Living in community, we have an opportunity to create a culture of appreciation, or not. This doesn't happen casually. I consider myself a typical cohouser, in that, if you ask me, I'm guaranteed to have an opinion. But sometimes we don't need more opinions, we just need people to appreciate our efforts. In my community, Nevada City Cohousing, we found ourselves overwhelmed with too many opinions after move-in, ten years ago. Everyone wanted a say on everything. We had to consciously tell ourselves "assume best intent," rather than questioning why someone or some committee did this or that..... I saw the payoff of this culture of appreciation recently, when I casually chatted with a neighbor in the pool as I walked by.  Read more.
Coho/US Notes
Many Thanks to Communities who have Given in 2016 
Coho/US exists to nurture our Cohousing Communities, established and forming. Gifts from our communities, as well as individuals and sponsors, enable us to provide programs and services that benefit you. Visit our  Sustaining Communities webpage for giving options.  We are grateful for the communities listed here have given or pledged to Coho/US in 2016. 

Established Communities = 163
---Completed = 147
---Building = 16

Forming** = 131
**Thirty forming groups have acquired land they plan to develop
Do you like receiving this eNews? Please consider supporting Coho/US, serving as a clearinghouse and connector to grow and nurture cohousing across the country. 

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"The most reliable wealth is found in relationship. I aim to live a life as connected and courageous as possible."  Read more about Courtney's book, TED Talk, and NY Times article:

New York Times 
Twenty-five years in, although the experiment is still small scale, it has yielded a generation of Americans who grew up in cohousing. Many are evangelical about the ways in which the experience has shaped who they are.

Atlantic Magazine
Humans may never return to the days of having strangers and distant relatives dropping in to live for extended periods of time, but it's clear that a group of people are tapping into the past that Gillis wrote about: "Until well into the nine-teenth century, heaven was represented not as a community of families but as one large community of friends."
New Resources