How to Advertise for Community Living: Resources Beyond Craigslist

Image by In 30 Minutes Guides via Flickr

Image by In 30 Minutes Guides via Flickr

So many people ask me for practical advice about shared households and how to get started. One of the biggest steps toward this goal is to spread the word about your need for like-minded people to join you on this journey.

Since there are so many possible ways to handle shared living a lot of the information will vary depending on your specific situation. For instance, if you want to purchase a home with two or three other people your relationship with them should be very different than if you were renting our rooms in an existing home. Sometimes, but not always, you will want to keep your focus local to attract people who are ready to make this change now. Other times you may want to expand your search further out from where you are now. All of these factors will play into exactly how you advertise and where.

My ideas are after the jump.

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Tools for Creating Community

As you may know, my mission is to create places for Boomers to grow older in grace and dignity. My big thing is not to wait. If you’re someone who has been talking about these ideas with a friend, don’t wait 10 years. Let’s do it now!

 

In a radio interview I did earlier this year with Cathy Severson, host of the blog radio show “Retirement Life Matters,” I discuss my six-year circuitous and bumpy path that led to the shared Golden Girls-like home I happily now live in in Asheville, N.C. My goal is to help your path be considerably faster and easier. Here are tools to create community in your life now. Click here for a link to the full 30-minute interview and a downloadable transcript.

 

How do you get started?
I see three key components for creating community in your life.
Ask yourself:
1. Who are the people you most want to live with?
2. Where is the place you see yourself living?
3. What are key interpersonal tools you’ll need to get along with your housemates?It is critical to begin with a clear vision for yourself of why you want a community component in your housing. Is it economic? For social connections? For health reasons? Or all three combined?

What tools will help you?
I assist groups and individuals to get started by focusing on what I call “My Why?” Ask yourself: Why do I want to do this? When the process gets difficult, you’ll find it helpful to refer back to why you were inspired to create a community in the first place.

I highly recommend the “The Blue Print of We.” You can view this free document produced by The Center for Collaborative Awareness at this link. This is a document we regularly use in our shared house in Asheville both, as a contract with our landlord, and as a working document between housemates. Each of us fills out our own part and then we combine sections for a comprehensive document we’ve all agreed to.

Making decisions is one of the most difficult things to do with a group of people. It’s not about someone winning. It’s about everyone being heard and people feeling included in the decision. We use a form of decision making called “Dynamic Governance.

We also use Non-Violent Communication, a method developed by Marshall Rosenberg. This communication tool enables you to clearly express your feelings and needs and keeps the phrasing to “I” statements, such as, I feel hurt when you ….”. You can access all these documents in the Resources section of my website under “Tools for Getting Along.”

Please contact me if you’re ready to make community happen in your life and create the kind of living arrangement you want for the next phase of your life.

Are You a Good Fit for a Cohousing Community?

Cohousing neighborhoods are intentionally designed to make connecting with your neighbors easy.

In my last blog, I wrote about five personal traits that, if you have most or all of them, you’re probably a good fit for a Golden Girls-like home. However, living in a house where you share a kitchen, living room and dining space is for some too close for comfort.

If you’re wanting more community in your living arrangement as you look at the years ahead, but need more personal space than living in a shared house, an intentional neighborhood may be the right choice for you.

In this blog, I’ll discuss cohousing neighborhoods. In Cohousing communities residents own their own home and share common spaces and resources. Interestingly, these intentional communities are created by the future resident group who meet each other and work together to decide about the physical design and social agreements of the neighborhood. In many cases, future residents become friends by the time they move-in into the neighborhood.

These collaborative communities are typically between 25 to 35 households, and are home to more than 6,000 people in North America. They are popular because they provide a healthy balance between privacy and community. I know many people who live in cohousing who come from a range of backgrounds, ages and economic situations. They consistently love the lifestyle which they describe as safe, nurturing and FUN.

Spontaneous social gatherings are frequent in cohousing. Kathryn McCamant, one of the co-founders of the Cohousing movement and co-author of the book Cohousing: A Contemporary Approach to Housing Ourselves, says:
“I know I live in a community, because on Friday afternoons, it sometimes takes me 45 minutes, two drinks, and three conversations to get from the street to my front door.’

According to the Cohousing Association of the U.S., cohousing communities have six defining characteristics:
1. Participatory process;
2. Neighborhood design;
3. Common facilities;
4. Resident management;
5. Shared leadership and decision-making;
6. No shared community economy.

This lifestyle has many benefits for Boomers. Residents enjoy an intellectually stimulating and emotionally supportive environment ideal for aging at home in a non-institutional setting. Cohousing residents have privacy when they’re in their private home, and community when they venture outside to the shared common spaces, including common dinners several times a week in the community’s well-used club house or “Common House.”
One of the newer trends in cohousing are elder/senior cohousing neighborhoods designed with Universal Design features to accommodate residents to age comfortably in their homes.

Please contact me if you want to know more about this multi-generational or senior cohousing trend or cohousing in general. In my next blog, I’ll share the characteristics that are most important for living in these socially and environmentally sustainable neighborhoods.

How to share our lives

“Let’s Get Physical”   (Remember the song?)

When we think of community and living IN community one of the first questions asked is? What will it look like?

Through my many years of looking for “my community” I researched, visited sites all over the country, hours on the web, books, seminars,  probing, questioning and soul searching.  Then there were some pretty stupid and costly “lessons” too. You might have to hear about those in person.  I wish I had this book with all it’s wise checklists to guide me along the way back then.

Here is another part of the a checklist from The Sharing Solution by Janelle Orsi and Emily Doskow.  You can get it for free at http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/free-books/sharing-book.html.  Check out other resources like this one at  http://www.womenlivingincommunity.com/resources/books/.

A morsel for you from their wonderful book: [Read more...]

6 Tips for Finding Others to Share Housing

A large number of you wanted to know how to find others who might be interested in a shared housing experience. I thought I would give you a few pointers about that from my experiences.  The journey starts with you:

TIP #1:   Start by answering a few important questions.  

Why does this resonate with you?
What appeals to you? Look inside you.
The big question is. Why do I want to live in a shared house?
Then start moving outside of yourself to see who else might be in your tribe or your social web who is interested too. [Read more...]
Women For Living in Community