Thank you all so much for all your support over the last year. Your signatures on my petition to HUD brought about real change in the acceptance of cohousing by government, making it easier for many people living in community to stay in their homes as they age.
Based on our success and the possibilities that emerged during this journey, I'm now inspired to pursue a different path towards similar goals: building a community infrastructure that can help us help each other get our needs met, without having to engage the banking system and HUD-backed mortgage insurance.
But I most definitely can't do this alone -- your help, connections, ideas and inspiration will be critical as we co-create this new world, together.
It has been quite an education, not just for me and my "Cohousing Coach" neighbor Raines who has been helping me in the process, but also for our entire community and the movement. We've learned more about how government works and how these programs help make it easier for bankers to treat us and our properties as commodities, so that they can "create markets" and offer standardized products and services across the country, without ever getting to know the many people in my shoes, or similar situations; we heard from so many of you who signed my petition.
So we can declare success: you gave us thousands of signatures (over 10,000 the first weekend) and you changed policy.
However, along the way we discovered:
- This particular HUD program won't be able to help me or my neighbors, for technical reasons related to our community's affordability agreements with the City of Berkeley
- We can do better with a grassroots community-based support system that we devise on our own, rather than fitting into the commodity model of housing finance.
So now we are embarking on a whole new path, one that will empower more communities to help their members and help each other.
Our goals are now:
- build a community infrastructure that can help us help each other get our needs met
- do this without engaging the banking system and HUD-backed mortgage insurance.
Rather than turn to private for-profit banks for help and me (or my estate) owing them more and more each month, we have realized that we have the necessary resources right here -- between our own community and the extended community of communities. With your engagement, and others around the world, we can do a better job of getting our needs met and keep the value close to home.
We are getting out and learning and doing the hard work to build community capacity, and invite you to join us on the journey, and together:
- Map existing innovative tools and systems to help people stay in their homes as they age or face life's challenges.
- Creating new options, based on shared values - in each of our communities.
- Funding the systems we create - both from community members and between neighborhoods.
Please sign up on our new Aging in Community website to be part of the process and get further updates and invitations to participate (we won't be able to reach you through PEERS or change.org, so we need your direct contact).