What we're about

Welcome! East Bay Cohousing is for people interested in intentional communities and creating ways of meeting our daily needs for shelter and livelihood through cooperative long-term relationships among peers.

We are a big tent for all manner of self-governing member-led "collaborative housing" communities, including housing cooperatives, student coops, collective and co-living households, as well as co-housing neighborhoods, urban and rural eco-villages, faith-based or service oriented, moshads, kibbutzes and income sharing communes! EBCOHO Members come from every county in the Bay Area, and other parts of the US and the world.

Check out the EBCOHO calendar and events descriptions, past and present, to see the range of events we produce or curate from among our members, friends, partners, friends, and movement allies for a more just, sustainable, and flourishing world. Look for socials, orientations, workshops, discussions, slide shows, movie nights, open houses, work-days, trainings, tours, and conferences.

Explore the Discussion Forums to post and search for openings, forming groups, call-outs from Members, and other features.

Orientations for newcomers are usually offered every 4-6 weeks. This is where you can explore current and long-term opportunities to join a community, ask lots of questions, share who you are and your dreams, and start meeting like-minded people. If you are a do-it-yourself learner or explore the big picture, you'll get lots of useful resources.

Joining EBCOHO also makes you part of Cohousing California. At http://www.CalCoho.org you will find other regional networks, a combined calendar of events, links to forming and existing communities we know, and links to our partners, networks we belong to, and groups we consider allies around the world.

Use the Suggest a Meetup feature if you'd like to see a particular topic addressed, or if you've got something you are hosting. Events we personally host (Cohousing Coaches Raines & Betsy, that is), almost always include ample time for members to share their personal visions, skills and experiences.

EBCOHO is not usually a quick route to cheap housing, although members do share openings and offers, and we do list and refer members to openings in established intentional communities, both rental and ownership, in the Bay Area and beyond.

Thousands of Bay Area residents already live in safe and stable collaborative housing situations sharing life experiences and living expenses, decision-making, and ownership. Across the US and the world, millions more of people are living more sustainably, more democratically, more cooperatively, and more cost effectively, out of the booms and busts of predatory real estate markets.

If you want to know your neighbors well, have a better life by sharing more, and live more peacefully and lightly on the planet then please join us!

MORE.... about the sponsors and hosts of East Bay Cohousing.

This work is self-funded by the organizers, with a depth of knowledge and commitment that makes it unusual among Meetups (at least we think so!).

Thank you to Supporting Members and our Coaching Clients for helping defray some of the expenses of this labor of love. We thank you with a free orientation, and discounts to future events hosted by us and some of our sponsors/partners. You can track income and expenses on the Money page.

EBCOHO and Cohousing California are projects of Raines Cohen and Betsy Morris and our business partnership, Planning for Sustainable Communities. Each of us has lived in multiple cooperative living situations in the Bay Area before moving in together to Berkeley Cohousing, where we have been members since 2003. Raines has been deeply involved in technology user groups, tech for the social good, journalism and database consulting; Betsy has a PhD, a Masters in city and regional planning, and 20 years experience as a community development and research consultant. Both of us love organizing events that put people first, offer quality resources, and open up new doors and windows to the world that supports our visions and values.

As Cohousing Coaches and project consultants, we provide technical assistance and personalized support for individual members, forming groups, and existing communities. We connect a wide variety of kindred spirits and resources. Please find out more at http://cohousingcoaches.com , or http://www.AgingInCommunity.com/

Upcoming events (5+)

Members Orientation: Cohousing Intro & Welcome (S. Berkeley)

The Long Haul Infoshop


Cohousing, housing cooperatives, cohouseholding, communes and ecovillages - Intentional communities, transition towns, nonprofit affordable housing, senior "villages" -- What's the difference and why does it matter? What's living one of these communities really like? Should I join an existing community or start my own? Where do I find openings? How do cooperative communities really work? Who's in charge? You'll get answers and links to a world of resources at our EBCOHO orientation. Orientations vary from Saturdays, Sundays, and very occasional weekday evenings, but we hold them every 4-6 weeks. Come when you are ready! Comments on recent orientations: Very informative and well-presented. Nice group of people, too (of course!). Leslie Hassberg ( http://www.ebcoho.org/members/13498229/ ) ... I left inspired. Jeff French ( http://www.ebcoho.org/members/9064675/ ) ...Very thorough, lots of good advice. Raines is a wonderful host. Walter Feigenson ( http://www.ebcoho.org/members/13122957/ ) Presentation so knowledgeable, yet relaxed. ... very lovely people i met - ginny ( http://www.ebcoho.org/members/77157692/ ) Program runs from 10 til 12, including a little more time for Q&A. Light refreshments available, but lunch is not provided. Agenda usually includes: • Member introductions, visions, and goals for cooperative community. • Overview of different types of intentional communities, short definitions, and examples, in the Bay Area; • How to use EBCOHO and other resources to find or create a cooperative community. • Your Questions & Answers, Concerns, and Opportunities • Community-building game or exercise, and time for open sharing on your experience and interests. Raines Cohen, Cohousing Coach (http://www.CohousingCoaches.com/ (http://www.cohousingcoaches.com/)) and community organizer, will present and lead discussion. The orientation fee of $20 per household helps cover ongoing EBCOHO expenses such as meeting space, refreshments, insurance, websites, and memberships in key partners and allies. Coaching clients can come free, and members of supporting groups pay just $10. Your fee is refunded if you become a supporting member on the spot. (Supporting members get our thanks, discounts on future EBCOHO hosted events, and a copy of Cohousing: a new way of housing ourselves (edition 2) by McCamant & Durrett or a Communities magazine back issue while supplies last. If you RSVP for multiple people, MeetUp will tell you the price is per person, but relax... it's really per household, so bring your better half or housemates. If you register with a friend, you can both get $5 off. You can pay in advance by credit card or at the door by cash or check. If you can't come out with us on a Sunday morning -- fear not! Keep eye on the EBCOHO calendar ( http://www.ebcoho.org/events/calendar/ ) for what's coming up, weekend and weeknight orientations, (un)common meals, socials, movies, and other ways to connect. We hope to see you soon. Other workshops throughout the year will address: • Be Prepared: Buying or Leasing Property Together • Developing and Financing a New Cohousing Neighborhood • Developing and Financing a Housing Cooperative • ABC's of Good Group Process • Marketing and Member Development • Patterns of Thriving Cooperative Groups

Buying a house together - for Mini Retrofit Cohousing Project (S. Berkeley)

Build community while participating in a renovation project. The project could be a multi unit, 2 or more houses on one larger lot, or a larger single family house zoned for multi unit or appropriate for ADU (accessory dwelling unit) expansion. We are focusing on neighborhoods in Oakland from San Antonio Square to North Oakland and Berkeley. Join members for a focused look at the opportunities and challenges involved in cooperatively buying and developing an existing property with others in Oakland. Even as costs in Oakland have recently increased by an average of 10% per year, it is possible to reduce the costs and increase the enjoyment of buying and owning property by taking advantage of the economy of scale of a group purchase, having the capacity as a group to do moderate work to improve / expand an existing property as well as other efficiencies available through cohousing - sharing larger common and yard spaces, laundry facility, etc. Our vision for the community and type of house we want is here - https://docs.google.com/document/d/19DBZaEW25mDQ9r_wggKcp-RlddIIPNMCnqkoTqTlmO4/edit?usp=sharing We have recently been going to open houses and have done detailed analysis on a couple of potential target properties in Oakland and Berkeley. We will be discussing what we have learned about the current housing market and feasibility of taking on a project using examples as test cases. Please also bring sample properties of projects that may interest you as well for us to discuss. Buying an older property costs less per square foot than one already remodeled. What has worked well? What are the pitfalls to avoid? What are the tradeoffs between time and cost now and later? Pete has background in this area, having completed a studs out home renovation, managing contractors as well as leading hands on construction. We have currently secured 60% funding for the project and are looking for one or two more partners who share our vision. If you think this might work for you, are already actively looking for partners and property, or just curious, here's a chance to meet other EBCOHO members who are willing to roll up their sleeves to co-create safe affordable homes with you. We're asking $10 per adult (free for kids and current supporting members of EBCOHO).

Future rental cohousing/ecovillage/urban farm land tour/brunch (El Sobrante)

El Sobrante Elementary School former site

[Note:placeholder location which is near, NOT at the actual site. RSVP required for directions. Not a current residential opportunity. Read below for details. RSVPs open to all, but EBCOHO Supporting Members get first notice.] Some folks we know who are leading the local food justice movement have initiated the development of the first sustainable, urban farm cohousing community using Slow Money investment in the East Bay. We have helped folks get connected and become supporters of the project, including tapping self-directed IRA accounts for both social and financial return. They have completed the purchase and have invited potential development-phase investors/collaborators to participate in a Sunday brunch, followed by a land tour. Note: the community does not have any buildings yet and they are not accepting applications to live there at this time. They write: We have some exciting updates to share, including two upcoming construction projects: the renovation of a 3-bedroom house, and a new 1,000 square foot straw-bale house, both of which will be setting precedent on natural building techniques to serve as a model for non-toxic, sustainable, and fire-proof building, all to code! We'd love to show you in person the potential of this project, and we are seeking new lenders to join us in continuing to bring this vision into fruition. Original Wild & Radish vision: This 10 acre community in El Sobrante, California (in the hills East of Richmond) will serve as a local foodshed by providing organic fruits and vegetables to the region, raise healthy families, and help others replicate this work through educational programs and strategic support. In their original long-term plans (which have evolved over the past several years): One acre will serve as the site for four rental homes and corresponding "granny units". This housing will accommodate approximately 30 people as tenants (rentals) as well as a community education center. These beautiful "green homes" will demonstrate the most energy efficient, non-toxic, natural building practices, while generating the revenue needed to pay off construction and development loans. Two acres will be restored with native species and preserved as a wilderness refuge to honor and nourish the freshwater spring and creek that runs through this special piece of land. Seven acres will support an extraordinarily diverse permaculture farm, with over 2,500 fruit trees and an abundant understory of edible plants, berries, flowers, and herbs. If you are interested in supporting or investing in this innovative and ambitious model for true sustainability, join for this site visit. Notes: This is not an EBCOHO-sponsored event. We do share opportunities like this and give first notice and first dibs to our supporting members. The founders are not seeking new residential members at this point, as best we understand. Consider it a Slow Money investment. Oh yeah, this is not a solicitation, and EBCOHO is not an investment consultant or broker or anything like that; our purpose is solely educational. Wear good shoes and be prepared for walking on hilly, muddy terrain through brush. The site is raw, without any bathroom facilities or structures. Enter at your own risk. RSVP required; we'll pass on your info to the organizers. Some of the founders include: May Nguyen began her food justice work during her years as a student activist at UC Berkeley, working with a pro-agrarian, community-oriented campus organization and practicing sustainable food production while WWOOF'ing in Thailand and France. She completed a B.A. in Architecture, and has since been interested in building sustainable communities by transforming the asphalt deserts of urban & suburban landscapes into greener, healthier, more vibrant, multi-generational and multi-colored neighborhoods. Haleh Zandi is a co-founder and the Educational Director of an Oakland-based non-profit organization called Planting Justice. She believes the modern colonial food system is in a paradigm of war, and she is dedicated to the ways in which diverse communities may build alliances and practice strategies that collectively resist the violence of the industrial food system and structurally shift the United States towards more ecologically sustainable and socially just methods for growing and sharing our food. Andrew Chahrour grew up in Ohio and got his BA in Environmental Studies from Bucknell University in Pennsylvania. In Ohio and Pennsylvania, he was exposed to a variety of Midwestern agricultural systems, both conventional and organic. Andrew's degree in Environmental Studies led him to a job with the Bureau of Land Management in Wyoming where he worked to produce digital maps of aspen stands, whose recession across the Western US has been poorly understood. EBCOHO member Gavin Raders is a co-founder and executive director of Planting Justice, a social justice activist, and a permacuture demonstrator/teacher. He dedicates his time to practicing permaculture wherever he can, having gone through extensive training with some of the most inspiring and effective permaculture teachers in the world: Geoff Lawton, Penny Livingston-Stark, Brock Dolman, Darren Dougherty, and Nik Bertulis. He comes to permaculture and ecological design through a social justice framework which recognizes the right of all people to peace, security, housing, healthy food, clean water, jobs and healthcare, and the rights of future generations to a just and livable world. Leah Atwood grew up on a ranch in the redwoods of Arcata, CA and moved to the Bay Area to pursue degrees in Environmental Policy and Spanish at UC Berkeley. She has lived in South and Central America as well as in Bangladesh working on behalf of social, environmental and food justice initiatives. Thanks to her work experience abroad she gained further insight into international agriculture systems and the value of socio-ecologically mindful practices and unconventional multi-stakeholder collaboration. Leah currently serves as Program Director for the Multinational Exchange for Sustainable Agriculture (MESA). She deeply enjoys: teaching and practicing yoga; being outside on rocks, waves and trails; growing food and befriending bees. Wild and Radish LLC (http://wildandradish.com/) is honored to be working with four amazing green architects: Cate Leger, Karl Wanaselja, Darrel DeBoer, and Bob Thyce.

Fair Oaks EcoHousing Site Tour (Sacramento area)

Fair Oaks Coffee House and Deli

Learn about greater Sacramento's second cohousing project, now under construction in Fair Oaks (18 miles east of downtown Sacramento) on a lovely piece of land close to the American River Parkway and Fair Oaks Village. The project will include 30 homes, a large common house, and many other shared amenities. The design is similar to Nevada City Cohousing. Visit http://www.FairOaksEcoHousing.org to learn more. There will be discussion about cohousing and our cohousing project in particular followed by a tour of the site where we will be building our cohousing community. There will be an optional lunch afterwards at the Smokey Oaks Tavern or the Siam Patio Restaurant. We can carpool to the site. The tour will be led by future residents of Fair Oaks EcoHousing. Fair Oaks EcoHousing is a Cohousing California ( http://www.CalCoho.org/ ) supporting member group (part of the same umbrella network that includes East Bay Cohousing). Look for cohousing buttons, banners, or signs, or a bunch of enthusiastic people looking for new neighbors to join them in co-creating their future homes. Use your RSVP comments here for carpool coordination/invitation.

Past events (1,799)

East Bay Permaculture Guild monthly meeting (at PLACE near E'Ville)

a PLACE for sustainable living

Photos (2,454)