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How to Start a Commune

Communes or communal housing is more commonly known today as “co-housing”. Co-housing, according to Wikipedia is “is an intentional community of private homes clustered around shared space. Each attached or single family home has traditional amenities, including a private kitchen. Shared spaces typically feature a common house, which may include a large kitchen and dining area, laundry, and recreational spaces”. Co-housing may also be in the form of apartments in a building or portion of a building, such as the “Commonspace Community” in Syracuse, New York. As with any housing community, there are both challenges and benefits to living in a co-housing. Members of co-housing communities site health benefits thanks to the decreased loneliness, while others find the increased socialization daunting.

(Scroll down to find out how to start your own commune...)

            While most people seem apprehensive about joining an existing co-housing community, a lot of people want to know if it’s possible to start their own “commune”. While it may sound ideal, it’s also quite complex! Once you have 3 or 4 households that want to create a co-housing community, there are a lot of steps involved – in addition to finding the land or space you want to buy. According to co-housing.org, these are just the first steps you’d need to take in order to start your own co-housing project:

  1. Create a vision/goal statement to define the intentions and directions of the community.
  2. Create a group decision and communications process.
  3. Create a financial structure.
  4. Form an LLC (limited liability company) or incorporate.
  5. Create bylaws for the community.
  6. Open a separate bank account for the community.
  7. Collect assessments from members.
  8. Do your research and learn from already-operating co-housing communities.

Additionally, there are steps to register your community, various tax laws for co-housing, and of course, developing and building on the land or space you have purchased. So, if you do plan on creating your own co-housing community, be sure you know what you’re getting into! For more information, you can visit cohousing.org.

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