September 2019
Cohousing Now!
Life Together
 C ommunity is a wonderful place to live all year round, and holidays can be a special time of enjoying the benefits of cohousing. While hospitals offer to Xray candy in protection of children who trick or treat in subdivisions, cohousing neighbors have other things to think about. The following is a campfire tale, woven together from communities in different places and different times, capturing the spirit of cohousing and the treasure that is community. 

As September wanes and October brings chilly mornings, a family plans their annual pumpkin patch. They stack dozens of pumpkins on the community green, along with a sign: Pumpkins for sale, $5. Neighbors pick their pumpkins and drop payment off at the family home. It isn’t clear whether the kids make a bit of cash for their efforts or it is simply a community service bringing ease and increased participation in pumpkin carving. It turns out it doesn’t matter. The sense of collaboration, reduced driving, and cost savings align perfectly with our values.

Early planners are well into costume assembly by the second week of October. Treasures are passed down from one child to the next, costume jewelry is duly lent and borrowed. Bit by bit the masterpieces are assembled from the abundance of community. 

The aunts and grandmothers in the community plan their baking. Popcorn balls and pumpkin cookies, abandoned as unsafe where neighbors are strangers, are common fare in cohousing. One friend offers the choice of carrot sticks or candy and gets takers for both. Cohousing kids like their sweets  and  the fruits of the land, and it doesn’t bother them to be the “weird kid” who chooses the carrots. 

Halloween dawns crisp and cold, and just after lunch pumpkin carving begins: one huge mess in the common house rather than 20 individual ones; carving tools and advice traded across the tables. Seeds get roasted and the rest of the innards find their way to the community compost pile, perhaps by wheelbarrow, leaving the masterpieces. The first carving effort of five-year-old artist sits alongside the artistry of an octogenarian master. Each is treasured, photographed and displayed for all to enjoy, the community celebration is officially launched. 

Next up, of course there is a community meal. It’s simple: hot dogs, popcorn, perhaps some spiced cider if the night is chilly. It is quick sustenance for the revelry ahead. You wouldn’t want to fill up on real food before the candy-eating begins!

The costume parade offers something for everyone. For the procrastinators who find themselves costume-less, it’s a quick trip to the community costume box, and perhaps a few bits and pieces gathered from neighbors as they pass by. Someone has set up face painting along the way. The parade forms, musicians at the front. It’s a joyful noise to be sure, and with surprising quality for an unpracticed, pulled together band. They play old favorites everyone knows and circus music and whatever feels fun. Falling in behind the band are the most eager of the children, reveling in each moment of this special day. Bringing up the rear, the more mature characters, displaying their creativity, pausing for conversation, soaking in the applause of the audience. 
The audience is made up of neighbors who prefer the comfort of home on a night like tonight. For them, the joy of community is being able to see it from their front porch, fully present, surrounded by friends, without having to leave home. Perhaps they will venture down to the party for a bit later on. 

Oh yes, in cohousing, of course there is a party! It’s where adults gather for adult beverages and revelry and kids return from group trick or treating (which parents supervise in turns) to commence the great candy swap. Knowing each other’s favorites, they begin the sorting – Butterfingers go this way and Tootsie rolls that and everyone knows that Aunt Sally loves an Almond Joy. There is tallying, and laughing and sugar high galore. And yes, overwhelm and tears happen here too, because community is like family and we come as we are. Skinned knees get bandaged, lost candy is somehow replaced, bruised egos comforted with love and care, and when the little one just needs her bed, home is not far away. 

As we recall the glorious costumes of years past, the epic of the pumpkin disaster, the ketchup spill turned to zombie blood, we know that this year’s stories will find their place among the favorites. Community will be here for us again next year, and still tomorrow, and for every day as we celebrate life together. 
Cohousing Comes to Tulsa
By CohoUS Staff
Photo by John Bevins
Heartwood Commons - Tulsa

T ulsans have courage and risk-taking in their history. Some of the earliest settlers in the area were “wildcatters”, people who took a chance on drilling for oil where none was known to exist. Their investments paid off and Tulsa was built with wealth pulled from the earth. The members of Heartwood Commons, a forming active adult community in Tulsa, Oklahoma, are seeking a different kind of wealth - the wealth of community - with the same passion and determination that drove the wildcatters. 
Their vision is for a progressive community grounded in creativity and acceptance of differences with a focus on sustainability and concern for all people and our planet. The group, which includes teachers, artists, nurses, travelers, animal-lovers, and mathematicians already enjoys a sense of community as they build both the physical structures they will live in and the friendships and connections that will sustain them as they grow older.  

“People don’t realize how cosmopolitan Tulsa is,” says John Orsulak. “We have everything big cities have, arts and culture, opera, museums, great restaurants, and a vibrant downtown urban center, yet we retain the feel of a friendly, small town.” Tulsa’s three Unitarian churches are attended by several members of Heartwood Commons and include the largest Unitarian church in the US. 

In addition to abundant shoreline with the Arkansas River just a block away from Heartwood Commons, the community boasts easy access to the river trails, Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area and the Gathering Place (named the #1 new attraction in America by USA Today).  

Culture and the natural world come together in Tulsa’s rich Native American heritage. Native practices and beliefs are part of the diversity Heartwood Commons embraces. “It will take all of us, with all kinds of ideas and approaches to create a way of life that sustains both our planet and our community.” explains member Suzy Sharp, which describes perfectly the intention of this community to spread the cohousing values of sustainability and diversity to the broader world.  

Another value they have going for them is affordability. Due largely to Tulsa’s status as one of the most livable cities, Heartwood Commons is turning out to be one of the most affordable cohousing communities currently available. “We hear every week from people who want to live in cohousing, but can’t afford communities near them on the coasts. We hope some of them will find a home in Tulsa in Heartwood Commons.” says CohoUS Communications Director, Karen Gimnig.  

Heartwood Commons will be the second senior cohousing community in Oklahoma, and hopefully an example for more to follow in years to come. Their resolve connects them with Tulsa’s heritage and carries forward a new vision for a world in which wealth is measured in connection, creativity and common good.
In 2020, The Cohousing Association will host a series of simple events around the country.

Would you like to see a Simple Series event in a place where there is no cohousing yet, but plenty of people are interested in creating it? Or would you rather a SS event be someplace where there are established communities to tour?

Would you like to see a Simple Series event offer sessions only appropriate for cohousing professionals? Or would you rather each event have 'something for everyone' whether a professional or a community member or a seeker?

Would you rather Simple Series event sessions be lead by 'local' experts? Or would you rather have session lead by experts no matter how far they must travel?

Simple Series is coming in 2020 and this is your chance to tell us what you want!

Please let us know! Email us !

 Thursday, Oct 17
Diana Leafe Christian
Dealing Effectively with Especially Challenging Community Behaviors

Wednesday, Nov 6
Katie McCamant
The Stages of Cohousing Development

Monday, Nov 18
Karen Gimnig
Personal Growth: The most important reason for cohousing.

5pm PT, 6pm MT,
7pm CT, 8pm ET
Welcome Liz Ryan Cole
to the CohoUS BOD!

Liz believes that a robust national organization is important, perhaps essential, for the creation of multiple, sustainable cohousing neighborhoods across the US and is looking forward to contributing toward that effort !

Here is Alan O'Hashi, your CohoUS BOD president, hard at work donating his time and energy to help COHOUSING grow! Look for your chance to help - check your mailbox - or visit  and click on DONATE, or even easier: CLICK HERE TO GIVE
We Welcome Your Stories
Some of our favorite blogs are stories by people just like you. Tell us about your favorite community experience, your biggest learning, the beautiful thing your neighbor did. We'd love to share it. Submit to:
By: Jim Daly, Quimper Village

Friday Forum (FF) is a group that meets every other Friday for approximately one and a half hours. Its purpose is to provide members a place to reveal and discuss their personal cares and concerns. To keep it from becoming just any group, where people chitty-chat, interrupt, dominate, tell long narratives that deal with things and events but that do not deal with their feelings, there is a structure.

Don’t treat individual problems as community problems
By Liz Magill, Mosaic Commons

One of the questions our community support team helps to discern is whether an issue is a community issue or a personal issue. While in many cases this is a straightforward, sometimes extra investigating will reveal which type of a challenge we are facing.

In the News
Offering Community and Connection in the Age of Separation

written by John De Graaf - Earth Island Journal
photo courtesy of McCamant & Durrett

Charles Durrett offers a product designed to address some of the biggest problems we face in America. With the tireless zeal of a much-younger man, the 63-year old Nevada City, California architect is always on the move, selling a concept called “cohousing” to audiences across the United States. Durrett describes his product as “the best of both worlds.” “With cohousing,” he says, “you can have as much privacy as you want and as much community as you want, and it has a lot of other advantages as well.” 

From cohabitation to cohousing: Older baby boomers create living arrangements to suit new needs

written by Nancy P. Kropf and Sherry Cummings - The Conversation

One of the major questions of growing older is, “where do I want to live as I age?” For many baby boomers, an important goal is staying independent as long as possible. Many in this generation desire to age in their homes and make their own choices as long as possible.

Living preferences are changing, as are relationship patterns, such as greater numbers of mid- and late-life adults who are single, childless, or live at a distance from adult children. “Senior cohousing communities,” or SCCs, are a form of communal living that integrates common areas and private residences. They promote choice and independence, which are particularly important for the aging baby boom generation.

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Cohousing Now!   provides news and events on Cohousing... Now! provided by The Cohousing Association of the United States. Please forward to your friends, communities, and other lists to spread the word about cohousing!  
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