CoHousing Solutions Newsletter | March 2020
What is going on?!
The global news this week was head spinning, and we have all had to adjust our expectations about what we are doing over the upcoming months.

If anything has been made clear during this crazy time, it is that community is more important than ever!

How are communities dealing?
Coming together while staying physically distant:
From Katie McCamant, Nevada City Cohousing, California:
Through every national or international crisis that I have experienced I ask myself, "in times like this, where do I want to be?" And every time I count my blessings to live in a collaborative cohousing community that knows how to come together in times of crisis.

My community is doing what cohousing communities are doing all over the world:
  • Forming Teams to take care of each other: who needs shopping done, prescriptions picked up, keeping the common house sterilized

  • Practicing social distancing while still taking care of our community. We even had a great landscape workday where everyone worked together while keeping their distance. 2020 might become our best landscape/garden year yet if no one can go away on vacation.

  • Conversations on the pathways, six feet apart

  • Keeping the conversation going, especially since there is new information every day.

  • We made the tough decision to close down the common house, but are working together to maintain daily cleaning and keeping the mail and laundry rooms open.

  • Brown bag meals on the common house terrace, when it is warm eough, while staying 6 feet part!

  • And we discovered ZOOM!

While I am working from home at this time, and staying physically apart from my neighbors, I don't feel alone. I know I am surrounded by people who are, and together we will figure this out as best as anyone can.
From Sarah Arthurs, Prairie Sky Cohousing, Alberta, Canada:
In the initial phases of this crisis we shared lots of links with information, inspiration and chuckles. Sharing links enabled us to say  Here I am, this is what is catching my attention  as well as a way to convey caring and a desire to connect with friends and neighbors.

We are still exploring how to make space for this lively flow without overwhelming people's in-boxes. Currently we are using a specific community email list that folk are put on if they wish to receive general covid related pieces.  

On a lighter note, last Friday we had a virtual dinner party seasoned with a generous amount of silliness including stuffed animals of various kinds doing dances on the screen!?

As Churchill said, "Let not waste a good crisis! " So, I have been thinking, what opportunity is this crisis providing for cohousing? Perhaps the opportunity is to step into deeper kindness and surprising creativity.  
From Bonnie, Swans Market Cohousing, Oakland, California:
Our younger neighbors have organized a twice weekly shopping run so that our elders can just email in our list of needs and they shop for us.

At 7pm every night we stand in our doorways (which are 18 feet apart) and clap to thank our medical folk and first responders, and then we all sing a song together, a different one every night. Solidarity in a time of social distancing.

A few days ago we learned that one of our original members who had cancer and so moved to assisted living facility had died; so we gathered in our communal garden which she had lovingly tended for 19 years and, standing 6 feet apart, we sang her favorite song, shared memories of her, and toasted her with Lemoncello which she used to make, in memory of her fabulous cocktail party she threw every year.

When one of our younger members turned 3 we stood in our doorways and sang   Happy Birthday  to her.

It feels strange but we still feel connected and are caring for each other. 
PDX Commons, Portland, Oregon:
The residents of PDX Commons have been finding ways to alter their usual forms of entertainment to accommodate social distancing. They have had courtyard dance parties, where everyone stays at least 6 feet apart. They have had courtyard concerts and poetry readings, where residents listen from their terraces.

As demonstrated in this picture, they are continuing their meetings, but having them outdoors and keeping at a distance.
We have been inspired by these stories, among others, that have emerged from cohousing communities all over North America. It has reminded us that our communities have the ability to keep us safe and sane during times of stress. Living in a cohousing community means that you don't have to go through these things alone, not even isolation.

We are encourage everyone to find solidarity in their community. Whether you live in a cohousing neighborhood or not, coming together (metaphorically) is what is going to get us through tough times.

We're Here to Help!
We provide development consulting services to help you create your sustainable neighborhood . Our team pioneered the development of cohousing in North America, and we have helped create dozens of successful communities.
Our newest venture involves training passionate cohousing entrepreneurs through the year-long 500 Communities Program .
Photo by Ed Asmus
Architecture by McCamant & Durrett Architects
CoHousing Solutions
(530) 478-1970
Know someone who would like this newsletter?