CoHousing Solutions Newsletter | September 2020
3 Ways Communities Prepare for Emergency
by Elise Gonzales-Sahota
California fire season has roared through the state and officially announced its arrival, even in our small Northern California town of Nevada City. While Katie and I packed up our belongings and began to evacuate, we noticed that we felt generally prepared in a traumatic time...and even led a workshop for One Kin Roof while we were evacuated!

Our community definitely had 'done the work' in emergency preparedness and we saw that this was another benefit of living in cohousing. Here are 3 ways we were prepared for emergencies as a community:

by Tony Finnerty
1) Emergency Contact List

Earlier this year, we updated our emergency contact list as part of our COVID planning. Each member in our community has an emergency contact peson and phone number, a neighbor within the community that they communicate with in case they contracted COVID and we even had a plan on how to support members if they did fall ill. This preparation leant itself generously to other emergencies such as the fire.

2) Fire Prep Maintenance

In June, we launched a full day work party for clearing our property. Nevada City Cohousing sits on 10 acres, with 6 acres of wooded forest. Each block united and we began clearing anything and everything that was within close proximity to our homes. All the vines were trimmed and trees were pruned. We relaid loose gravel in areas within 4 feet of houses so that flying embers would not start fires next to our home.

After the days' work, we celebrated with a distanced BBQ on our common house patio, hot dogs and all.

3) Protocol

As a new member of the community, I hadn't been accustomed to 'fire season' in cohousing, but luckily, our community already had protocol for exiting our homes in emergency. "Emergency evacuation cards" in case of a fire or other natural disasters were already created and conveniently hanging in my top kitchen cabinet. If I did evacuate, I just needed to put the 'red card' on my door to say that I had already evacuated or the 'white card' saying that I knew it was time to evacuate, but I was still inside.

Our COHO email list serv consistently updated us on the proximity of the fire, where families were evacuating to, what hotels still had availability and who was taking care of the chickens! Having the community to rely on in hard times and effective protocol and preparations took the heat out of the pun intended.

Luckily, we're all home and there were no immediate fire threats to our homes. In this time of climate change, we know this won't be our last emergency. We are lucky to have neighbors we can count on.
Sitting on the deck on a summer evening, listening to the pitter patter of my village, Nevada City Cohousing. The three tweens who have known each other all their lives, chatting on the sidewalk below. Kids taking their last dip in the pool in the twilight. The sounds of little Ramon resisting going to bed. Neighbors doing the dishes...

Heartwood Commons In Tulsa, Oklahoma celebrates breaking ground!
We are so excited to announce that Heartwood Commons is celebrating 'breaking ground' on September 17th, 10 am at 7141 Quincy Tulsa, OK! Come and enjoy in the celebration.

Not only are they celebrating breaking ground, but they were recently featured on their local news station! Check out this link to see the full feature! Way to go Heartwood Commons!
Village Hearth Cohousing moves in!
We asked founding member of Village Hearth, Pat McAulay to tell us about her experience with completing a cohousing project and moving in within a pandemic era for the first 55+ LGBT, Friends and Allies cohousing in the US!
"Honestly, it's sort of like birthing a baby (as 'they' say), you forget all the bad parts for the joy of the end product. I can't even remember the order of our delays, but it was something like: malware attack shutting down the City of Durham for a month right about the time that COVID shut everything down; slowing of inspections; shortage of subs, etc. Once we recovered from the initial shock, we hit our stride with all things Zoom, and are now on the verge of selling our last five homes. We mourn not being able to use the Common House due to COVID, but we have lovely shared mealtimes and even soirees on the terrace and in our yards. We feel so very lucky to have managed to get us all here where we can maintain our physical distance but not be subjected to social isolation!"
~ Pat McAulay
Skagit Cohousing reaches 24 members!
Skagit cohousing keeps finding members even in the hardest times of COVID! With reaching 24 members, Skagit cohousing is now able to move forward with their construction loan. 500 communities member Shelly Parks consistently stayed optimistic and says that staying connected to their leads is key!
"We found that these crazy times highlighted for people the need for connection. Knowing this, we focused our efforts on staying better connected with people in our data-base. We continued our online information meetings and made an effort to better our pre and post event communication. We also increased our efforts to connect with people over the phone and on Zoom. Our goal was to learn more about their interest in cohousing and explore whether Skagit Cohousing might be a good fit for what they envisioned for their better future. "

- Shelly Parks
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