Free, 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.
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.
The 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.
This 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.
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.
Might this be relevant for you? Make sure to tell us about your interests.
Funded in part by War Taxes Redirected by the People’s Life Fund.
Here’s what’s happening in the world of cohousing around Oakland, California.
Please pay close attention to whether listed events are virtual or in-person, and if the latter, what precautions to observe; in many cases, advance RSVPs are required to attend.See all events
For years, EBCOHO members have asked us how they can buy property and create affordable cohousing and cooperative communities here in Berkeley and Oakland.
Well, the time has come --- both cities are considering a new Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA) which will make that more possible than any time in the last 25 years! TOPA means tenants will get notice from landlords before their building goes on the market, and can band together to make an offer, or designate a community partner to negotiate on their behalf -- and then be eligible for public funds.
Berkeley, like the rest of the Bay Area, faces a housing crisis, one driven by rising rental prices and a hot housing market. With 75% of the city’s low-income census tracts at risk of or undergoing displacement and a continued loss of thousands of Black households, Berkeley desperately needs anti-displacement strategies that prioritize low income renters and communities of color. One of those strategies is the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA).
TOPA prevents displacement by empowering tenants with choices for their future housing when the owner of a rental property decides to sell (learn how it works here!). In Washington, DC, TOPA has helped preserve over 3500 units of affordable housing since 2002, and those numbers continue to grow.
Berkeley’s TOPA policy is designed to:
Prevent displacement of low-income communities of color and marginalized tenants
Create permanently affordable housing
Create pathways to ownership for tenants and promote democratic residential control
Stabilize housing for existing tenants
Give tenants choice and voice regarding their housing
Protect rental housing from speculative investment by keeping them in the community
Now is the time for Berkeley to pass a TOPA policy that helps meet Berkeley’s housing crisis and needs.
We can’t do this without you. Raise your voice for TOPA today!
Sign below by Wednesday night and we’ll include your digital signature in our attendance at a council committee meeting discussing TOPA this Thursday. Not sure yet? Want to help recruit others? Join our Zoom call Wednesday at 5:30 PM.
Please support the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA). The time to support TOPA is now. It's been tested in Washington, DC for 40 years, modified for Berkeley's needs and is an important tool in preventing displacement, preserving racial and economic diversity and creating pathways to ownership and long-term neighbor cooperation and resilience.
TOPA can be part of addressing our community's history of exclusionary policy and promoting a Berkeley of opportunity and stability.
As a member of East Bay Cohousing, I believe that TOPA can help make it easier for me to stay in Berkeley and co-create permanently affordable community.
I urge you to vote YES on TOPA and will stand behind you in your support.
We welcome you to Phoenix Commons
our San Francisco Bay Area 55+ cohousing community.
Our community lives in a modern, environmentally friendly building located in the vibrant Jingletown neighborhood of Oakland, CA and is situated along the beautiful Oakland Estuary.
We have 5 available units for sale, some with sunset views over the San Francisco Bay.
If you’d like to drop by for our Zoom Open House on Saturday, please RSVP on this page or via the East Bay Cohousing MeetUp group.
We look forward to seeing you!