People's Life Fund grant for Aging in Community

Aging in Community logoFree, discount and subsided training on effective Aging in Community

An East Bay Cohousing service in development

Made possible by a grant from People's Life Fund
And your member contributions

In our work helping people find and create community, we often discover that the people who most could benefit from senior cohousing can't afford the initial workshop series that we offer to get it started. We want to increase the number of communities, not by going for the traditional "easy" market-rate homebuyers, but instead fostering diversity by getting groups going and linking them to established area programs that can make housing and community more affordable.

Aging in Community chart showing relationship to East Bay Cohousing

So we plan on taking our proven "Aging in Community" curriculum, adapted from the Danish national "successful aging" curriculum, and offer classes at no cost and by donation for groups identified through area senior centers and the group that we helped incubate, the People of Color Sustainable Housing Network (POCSHN), or with scholarships for seats at our general workshops (whichever approach turns out to be more more effective and inclusive, under POCSHN's guidance). We know that we don't have all the answers, and we aren't the world's experts at what works well for different people, so we'll be looking for ways to support what's underway from groups working in these areas, like the Northern California Land Trust (NCLT) Co-ownership Initiative.

Senior Cohousing handbook coverThe traditional course format is a 10-week workshop, but we have learned from trying out other styles, and based on recommendations from POCSHN and prospective attendees we plan to offer a version of the course that best meets their needs for time and location, and which includes paid POC guest presenters and activities that help make it clear some of the paths and resources and attitudes that have led to meaningful change and opening up new options.

Cohousing Coach Raines CohenThis effort will be led by EBCOHO co-organizer and Cohousing Coach Raines Cohen (left), a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA) and Certified Sage-ing Leader (CSL). He trained with Chuck Durrett in the initial classes based on the Senior Cohousing handbook (upper right), and wrote about Senior Cohousing and related movements in the book Audacious Aging (below right). He serves on the board of Sage-ing International.Audacious Aging book cover

We are pleased to announce that People's Life Fund has selected this project as one of its 2021 grantees. This is the second time that EBCOHO has received a PLF grant; the first, several years ago, helped us create the Squirrel Fund, funding some of our initial legal work, partnerships, and outreach for a new way of helping keep fixed-income seniors living in community as costs rise, and to keep their homes affordable after their deaths.

Why this matters now: We have been offered the opportunity to bring a community to a site that could have people in a new neighborhood near BART with new, designed-for-accessibility homes priced less than a third of what even old homes that need work cost in Berkeley. We want to make sure that people who don't already own homes here (or historically were excluded from homeownership or priced out of it) have a better shot at it, and also to be ready to help people who have the least make the most of the opportunities for "build in place" community that Berkeley's new proposed legalizing of 4-plexes will create.

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Funded in part by War Taxes Redirected by the People’s Life Fund.

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