Generations of Hope Newsletter May 2017
International Co-housing Conference
Two site directors and yours truly attended this conference. Co-housing, created in Denmark in 1972, is a close cousin to Generations of Hope communities. The structural design to enhance neighboring, the community center and other common spaces common features of new GOH inspired sites. Differences are apparent. Co-housing can be privatly owned property or rental property. Co-housing tends to be smaller and is not staffed; most fall under condo association laws but a few are 501(c)3 non profits. Over the years a variety of governance and organization processes have emerged as â€œthe norm.â€ I could not find a co-housing community that addressed the needs of a vulnerable population however a newly forming site in Portland, Or is headed that way. Co-housing in the States has existed for at least 25 years and there are several variations.
It was reported that there are now 150 sites in operation and 150 in formation. The Conference was attended by people who live in co-housing and are committed to the “movement” (architects, developers etc.); Interestingly, many of these folks live in co-housing. Co-housing is either owned by the residents (each can buy and sell their homes) or rentals built by a developer as investment property. All co-housing sites have a common room(s) as well as clustered housing. Most sites have meals together -the frequency varies. However, some sites spoke of having foster children and others of have care-giving programs as their seniors residents get older.
Jan Tuls director of the GOH emerging site Community of Hope in Fremont Michigan and Mary Kay Walton director of the Sweetgrass, in Tennessee, a GOH emerging site, found the concept of a private ownership of considerable interest. I went to the conference looking for new partnerships with forming sites and to see if it made sense to model a non-profit co-housing demonstration. Nashville was indeed a good place to be for a couple days of learning.
A Bit of Important History “ Capehart Housing at Hope Meadows-inspired
Many of you have visited Hope Meadows our first multigenerational community for foster and adopted children and seniors. I always wondered about Air Force base housing and did a little digging. These homes are called Capehart Housing after the congressman who sponsored the bill for the funding; the Chanute Air Force base homes were part of 250,000 homes built under this act. If one traveled Department of Defense bases around the country would be found very similar apartments, duplexes, four plexus similar to Hope Meadows site. Except for specific mid-century modern sites, the actual architects are not recorded. In Rantoul, 600 Wherry houses (post war housing) and 250 Capehart houses were built. Designed for the post war housing needs, careful consideration was given to comprehensive neighborhood planning and the suburban sub-division concepts. For the Generations of Hope principles, we always tout the carports and the open spaces as keys to unintentional neighboring.It is interesting to note that as the Wherry-Capehart communities reach 70 years of age, conversation turns to making them historic sites.
A Private Property Generations of Hope Community
Many of the sites in the strategic planning process want to create a whole or a partial site consisting of private property. To many the reasoning is that this avoids having to deal with government grants, loans and other programs. To date there is no single family owned intentional community with the mission of including a vulnerable population; this is about to change!
A technical document and training course is in development which includes the following:
- Effective approaches to deed restrictions,
- Community Land Trusts to assure perpetuity of communities,
- Mixing Rent to Own with market units,
- Low Income Tax Credits, private units and affordability for seniors and persons with disabilities,
- Private units and assuring sustainability, accessibility, and affordability,
- Grants or private underwriting for common spaces and park spaces
- Financial Modeling of multiple of private options.
Stay tuned this is a mighty big project!
Generations of Hope Seeks Developer Partners
We met a developer from Connecticut at the Co-Housing Conference, with a skill set that could meet your needs.(Of some interest, his company does not charge up front and is paid after the project is completed) Below is his contact information. The last newsletter included links to the top 100 affordable housing developers. GOH will be reaching out to those who are near our sites to explore levels of interest. It is our hope new partnerships can be formed which make part the creation of a new community easier.
David Berto, Housing Enterprises, Inc, firstname.lastname@example.org, 860.741-9837
New sites Wanted
Since Generations of Hope, a few years ago began reaching out to many vulnerable populations, the idea of marketing to other groups has always been a strong need. Based on media attention, GOH market’s better to people in the foster/adoptive/kindred world than the autism world and other vulnerable populations. A list of populations whose lives would be greatly enhanced by being included in a new intentional intergenerational community has been developed:
- Low Income parts of a medium sized city with multiple vacant lots and scattered homes occupied by mostly older citizens,
- Couples with disabilities who are raising children,
- Non-profit Co-housing focused on vulnerable populations,
- Wounded Warrior families,
- Active Senior Driven communities, especially new villages associated with Continuous Care Communities,
- Foster Children who have identified themselves as part of the LGBT Community.
Since July of last year GOH has received approximately 75 inquiries about either living in a Generations of Hope Community or starting a new community. In reviewing the list it is interesting that the most obvious group that is not expressing an interest in new communities are the seniors. Within those 10,000 Baby Boomers that are retiring everyday, there is a dearth of inquiries from those skilled in development, community design and finance coming forward to use their skills to create an intergenerational community. The challenge this year will be to see if we can open up this vast array of talent to work on behalf of themselves and vulnerable populations. My primary purpose in going to the Co-Housing Conference and the Generations United conference was to identify organizations and people interest in moving the GOH concept forward.