Co-housing communities hope to offer antidote to America’s epidemic of loneliness

Religion News Service | 4/22/2019 | Staff
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (RNS) — Casa Verde Commons is home to 67 adults, 15 young people, 12 cats, eight dogs, and one lawn mower.

It’s not exactly heaven on earth.

But it’s close.

“Co-housing is better than what we knew,” said Michelle Rodriguez, who moved to Casa Verde with her husband and son in January. “This scratched our itch for intentional community and downsizing, plus our son has a bunch of extended grandparents.”

E - Pluribus - Unum - Words - Great

“E pluribus unum” — the words on the Great Seal of the United States — means “out of many, one.” But Americans aren’t feeling much oneness these days, and many tell pollsters they suffer loneliness, social isolation and little connection with others.

Residents of places like Casa Verde, one of America’s 165 established co-housing communities, hope to change that. They’re planning to open their doors and welcome guests on April 27 during Cohousing Open House Day.

Communities - Communes - Residents - Homes - Share

Co-housing communities aren’t communes. Residents own their own homes and a share of community spaces, and they pay monthly homeowner association fees to cover community expenses. Co-housing residences typically cost less to buy and operate than single-family homes built on individual lots, and overall they hold their value.

And they’re not sects or insular religious communities. There are no charismatic leaders, religious creeds or barriers to the outside world. People live together freely because they want to.

People - Communities - Plan - Communities - Process

About 15,000 people currently live in co-housing communities. And more plan to join them. Another 140 co-housing communities are in the process of getting started, according to cohousing.org.

This co-housing model began in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1970. The model migrated to the U.S. with the 1991 opening of Muir Commons in Davis, Calif. Jane McKendry was one of the founding residents. Twenty-seven years later she’s thankful for life in a community.

Pioneers - McKendry

“We weren’t particularly thinking about being pioneers,” said McKendry. “Some of us grew...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Religion News Service
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