This Orientation is specifically designed for people seriously interested in creating a community through co-householding in the next two months. This orientation is specifically for people with the time, energy, and financial resources to secure a remarkable house on Dwight Way as a potential collectively managed rental community.
1. Welcome; goals and purpose
2. What is EBCOHO, types of cooperative communities we include? Introduction of the Coop Community Catalyzer and Network.
4. Getting to know one another; Speed-dating for communitarians
5. Vision for Dwight House (Mary Hill)
6. Timeline and status, documents,costs, steps for joining
7. Wrap up and Closing
Children are welcome; quiet room available if needed; call/email about mobility access.
The working vision: (read full document here)
Dwight House is proposed as a new cohouseholding community forming in Berkeley. EBCOHO is supporting a process to recruit new members designed with one such serious prospector who is looking to create a multi-generational home for a diverse community with members from a variety of cultural and ethnic backgrounds, family structures, as well as alternative lifestyles and sexual orientations.
The house, near Sacramento & Dwight, is a newly renovated 6200+ square foot Victorian landmark built in 1886. It is a designated historic landmark that now has 15-bedrooms and 5.5 bathrooms total. There is a separate in-law unit (1BR loft-style) in the back of the house with its own entrance off of a 3000sf garden and grounds.
The house has ample, well-lit indoor and outdoor common spaces, both large and small on each of 3 floors. The main floor has a very large great room and an open L-shaped kitchen with 2 sets of appliances and 3 sinks. There are kitchenettes on the top 2 floors. The first two floors have very high ceilings and doors with original or period fixtures. The top floor (former attic) has interesting angled ceilings, with lots of windows and skylights including the central area surrounding the staircase.
The first floor has 5 entrances. Every floor can be reached by both the central staircase and through a very solid back outdoor staircase/fire escape with small decks at each upper floor.
The house is not currently wheelchair accessible as there are steps at every entrance. Members could choose to install a ramp or lift with their own funds; the first floor could easily accomodate a wheelchair.
As currently envisioned, some of the different common spaces could be resources for coworking or private offices, educational workshops, urban farming, cottage food production, kid's playroom, guest room, or other uses.
EBCOHO has launched a community accelerator process, that we're piloting by forming a new shared household in Berkeley of 15 to 20 members. Earlier burning souls called it Dancing Spirits, and then theTree of Light Collective. We're partnering with one former burning soul who had been actively organizing since last July. Our joint aim is to rapidly build a sustainable core community of people with the skills to live well together for the long run. Our immediate mission - send a strong proposal to the owner by Feb. 15, with a current target move-in date of April 1st! Come join the journey -- Raines & Betsy
EBCOHO will host member recruitment and training events through February and March; members will self-select by moving through several steps together before making a final decision. Along the way, you will share required trainings, and optional social gatherings, tours, and facilitated meetings to help you in making a good decision for youself and the group before the April 1 move-in. You can also join Steps 1-3 of the process to learn how to start your own cohousehold community or be on a wait list for future openings).
Keep in mind, median rents in Berkeley are over $1300 for a 1 bedroom apartment. This is a unique and extraordinary opportunity for the right people to have more by sharing more, but it is not the cheapest housing around.
As a group, members will be responsible for a $14,000 a month lease payment plus house expenses. (Maintenance should be very low because it is being heavily renovated before move-in). You can expect to pay between $850 - $1200 per bedroom, a little more for couples or children. This includes house expenses and utilities estimated up to $170/month. There may be initial improvements such as landscaping and finishing the bike storage that the community could take on to make for a more competitive bid.
• The separate in-law unit with a private entrance off the rear garden will be about $1600 a month for a couple.
While total move-in costs are not fully settled, core group members should be able to commit time and money upfront. The upfront amount may be around $1800 plus $900 for the development accelerator process. A part of this total will also go to the first month's house operating budget.
Step 1: Take the orientation ($20) to be up to date on the latest information.
Step 2: If not already one, become a supporting member of EBCOHO at $100 for the year (minus the $20 for the orientation).
Step 3: Pay $400 to join the coop accelerator process coordinated by EBCOHO for Dwight House and other forming communities. This payment ensures your order in the queue of room choices at Dwight house which will happen later in the process. One member is now at this stage. We're calling this the Prospector stage. At this stage you would fill out a self-assessment questionnaire.
Everyone at this level is commited to attend 12 hours of trainings and share in the cost of legal and financial fees for startup. The trainings cover: a) collective house development (legal steps, financial management and budgeting for the house and you); b) communication and facilitation, and conflict resolution skills for good meetings; c) consensus decision-making; d) governance and getting the work done with sociocracy; e) property stewardship and maintenance.
Those seeking to live in the house fill out a self-assessment questionnaire. As you move to take Step 4, everyone will fill out a standard rental application,with 3 references, and a background check to share with the group. You will also sign the working occupancy agreement, which entitles you to be part of changing the agreement.
Step 4: Become the Dwight House core group member and take part in overall decision-making by making the full financial commitment.
Core group members agree to put up an amount to be finalized, but roughly $2000 plus $500 for your place in the community. The $2000 goes into an escrow fund by Feb. 15. These funds will not be touched until move in, or it will be refunded if project doesn't go through. You commit to participate in a intensive 2-day weekend retreat currently planned for mid-March. This is $500/adult.
This intensive, led by experienced coop trainer/facilitators will solidify your relationships and help you finalize agreements about house values, budgets, systems and occupancy agreement. Any surplus on the $500 will be shared between the community and EBCOHO to feed the house operating budget and other final startup expenses.
Note: EBCOHO is functioning as an accelerator/catalyst/networker/project manager for group development. We do not represent the landlord (although she is also an EBCOHO Member).
We are working with committed members on scheduling additional tours, socials, and walk-throughs, as well as uploading a virtual tour. For those joining the journey, a draft lease, and working budgets and occupancy agreements will be available.