How to Find Like-Minded People in Your Community

5571950287_e079122b9b_zRecently a reader on the Facebook page asked:

“I never see anyone on this page that is actually looking for a roommate or a house to live in community with other people, why is that? I live in the Triad on North Carolina which is in the center of the state, I would love to find other women who want to live in community, if you are out there please contact me.”

While we would love for our page to facilitate meetings it may not be the best tool for the job. However, there are many other ways to find like-minded people in your area with whom to build community. I thought I might provide some ideas and tools that can work for you.

I have written a couple of blog posts about this very subject. You can see them here:

So let’s take recap and take a look at some of the best online methods in a little more detail.

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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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New Year’s Resolutions from Women for Living in Community

11695066003_345f318181_zThe holidays are over. We’ve watched the ball drop and rang in the New Year. Now, the real work begins. This time of year is where many people make resolutions they often set aside by February. Instead of impossible goals, what if you use 2014 to work toward your dream of living in community? Here are just a few resolutions that can move you forward this year.

  • Make connections. Community building is all about making the right connections. Join online forums, local meet-ups, and engage with everyone you meet. Talk about community building and what you do when you’re out at the store or at a restaurant. You never know who you will meet. Also, don’t hoard these introductions. When you meet someone who can help a friend or colleague, introduce them. Building community is all about surrounding yourself with the right people.
  • Begin to downsize. You may not want to move into a tiny house as a part of your community lifestyle, but you probably will want to simplify. This year is a good year to start. Look at your clothes, your books, your furniture; what can you part with? Donate anything you won’t need when you move into your ideal community living situation. Go one room at a time and if that is too overwhelming, start with a drawer. You can also begin to evaluate the space you do use in your life and how small you can go when you move. Would you be comfortable in a single bedroom? What are your true wants when it comes to a new life?
  • Challenge yourself. No one said building community was easy. There is a lot of hard work to accomplish what you’re looking to do. Challenge yourself to making these goals happen this year. Attend a conference or a workshop. Talk to real estate agents about homes in your area that would fit the profile. Get out of your comfort zone. If living in community were easy, everyone would do it. We have to be the trailblazers.
  • Share your story. Being accountable is one of the best motivators. Talk to others about your plans and let them keep you in check. Take it one step further and start a blog about your journey. The more followers you gain the more you will feel responsible for making something happen.

What can you do in 2014 to kick start your dream of living in community and make it a reality?

I can help! Contact me at my website or join in the conversation at Facebook to learn more! 

Image by vanhookc via Flickr

The Conversation: How to Discuss Community Living with Your Kids

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Community living for older adults is a relatively new concept, all things considered. Baby boomers watched their parents live in retirement and nursing homes and are looking for an alternative. That is why solutions like shared housing and aging in place are so attractive. But, there are some additional things that need to be taken care of if this is something you’re interested in pursuing.

One of those things may be explaining your idea to your adult children.

So many websites offer advice for adult children about how to “assist” their parents with their retirement or their elder care. Most of this advice is geared toward pretty conventional forms of retirement and estate planning. Your adult children may have a very specific idea about what your 60s, 70s, 80s and beyond will look like. What if it is very different from your vision?

Click below for a few tips on how to talk to your adult children about your decision to live in community.

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Three Important Questions to Ask Yourself

photo credit: Ed Yourdon via photopin cc

I am guessing that you have an interested in community living or other alternative living situations as you age or else you probably wouldn’t be reading here. There are so many possible solutions that can consider. Co-housing, shared housing, and aging in place are only a few examples. Now that you have been thinking about how to get started and where you might want to live, there are a few things you should be asking yourself.

1.       Is this what I really want to do?
2.       Who will take care of me?
3.       Is this house a place that can be accessible?

Each of these questions will have a very different answer for every individual, so let’s look at  them with a little more detail.

I encourage you to click below to read more.

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Share the Mission: 4 Ways to Advocate for Community Living

So, you want to live in community but you don’t know how to get started. I plan to provide a step by step guide to help out toward the end of this month but for now I want to share one of the most important things you can do to establish community: Advocacy. In order to attract like-minded people it is important to get the word out about what you’re doing.  Here are four ways you can advocate community living.

1. Social Media. Even if it just to look at photos from friends’ vacations or connect with your family on the other side of the country, you probably have Facebook. It is a valuable tool to use for connecting to others who have similar values. Search for groups on community living and “like” the pages. Use hashtags, or phrases that start with #, on Facebook or Twitter for your posts to be searchable by others. For instance you may say something like, “Attending a workshop on co-housing this week! #livingincommunity.”

I encourage you to click below to read more ideas on how you can advocate for living in community.

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The Best Place to Retire – for You!

photo credit: Kolin Toney via photopin cc

The internet loves to share lists. There is a reason for this. People love to read lists and so they skyrocket to the top of Google searches and suddenly everyone believes they have to have a list. I won’t promise that there will never be any sort of list on this website but I thought a more constructive thing to start with, rather than “Top 5 Places to Retire,” would be a guide to determine the right place for you.

I live in Asheville North Carolina which is consistently on the top 10 or so cities for retirement but I know that it isn’t a perfect place for everyone. However, for those who love it they can’t imagine living anywhere else.

This article gives some practical advice for choosing where to retire. Rather than reinventing the wheel, here are the important questions asked by writer Steve Vernon in the linked article.

  • Do you want to be near friends and family?
  • Will you be taking care of aging parents? If yes, will you need to be close by?
  • Do you have hobbies or interests that play into where you’d want to live?
  • Will you work during retirement? If so, will the location matter to you? (If you’ll transition to a part-time schedule for your current job, you may need to retire near or exactly where you live now.)

Click below for my thoughts on these bullets.

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Challenges You Might Face on the Path to Community Living

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Anytime someone has an idea that is different than that of mainstream culture they will face some challenges from society. The good news is that humans do well in adverse situations so it is safe to buckle in and see where this road takes you. Here are 5 challenges you might face as you begin a journey toward living in community.

  • Purchasing a shared home. Living in community involves resources so you need to make sure you discuss finances with the individuals with whom you’ll be sharing a home. If you chose to pool your money to purchase a home this is doubly as important. Be sure to be thorough with your agreements and the legal language so everyone feels safe with their investment.
  • Zoning laws regarding unrelated roommates. Several years ago, here in my town of Asheville, a local homeowner came under fire by the city for renting the 8 rooms in his home. In order to establish a community household you need to be aware of the laws in your municipality regarding unrelated roommates. Unfortunately, there is not one good answer since the regulations are different from place to place. Sometimes the issue can be solved by having safety measures in place and other times it is more complex. Talk with your local government or others who have done this in your city to find out more.

Click below to read more about the challenges you may face when building community.

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Rules and Tools: How to Establish Best Practices for Living in Community

One of the most common questions I’m asked is “how do I start a community like this?” I thought I might share just a few quick rules and tools that can help you get started on your path to building community as you age. These 10 things are just a sample of the kinds of things that you will need to establish before considering shared housing.

photo credit: roland via photopin cc

  • Agreements. The very first step in establishing community is to determine the shared agreements for individuals living within the household. Are you expecting to live with friends or will you be sharing your house in an unknown roommate situation? Do you own the home or is there a landlord? Leases and agreements should be detailed and will be legally binding once signed by all parties.
  •  Exit Strategy. Each housemate should have an understanding of what would happen when they leave the household. There should be plans in place for breaking a lease early and for providing notice to the home owner. It may also be important to know what to do in the case of a toxic roommate.
  •  Roles. There are many ways to share a home. Each housemate may be very independent and only responsible for themselves and their space, or there may be a desire to share household roles such as cooking or cleaning. This should be established prior to someone moving in.


Click below for the rest of the rules and tools you need for creating your own community.

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Settling Conflict in Community Living

photo credit: Aislinn Ritchie via photopin cc

It is important to understand that even with all the benefits of community living, it isn’t always a bed of roses. Conflict between adults happens, even in marriages and between friends. When it comes to living in community it is important to have a peace plan in place to settle conflict respectfully. It can be difficult to separate yourself from the situation because you and your housemates are more than just acquaintances or roommates.  Here are some ideas for dealing with conflict between women living in community.

  • Establish house rules. There are many resources available for designing roommate agreements on line. Use these and talk with your housemates to create a set of rules that will not restrict anyone’s personal freedom but will keep the home safe and orderly. For example, there may be rules about visitors, laundry, cooking, and quiet time. Many of these are common sense but having rules in writing from the beginning is important for dealing with future issues.

Click below to read more.

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Women For Living in Community