Since early 2020, under the auspices of Hamilton Aging in Community (hamiltonagingtogether.ca), a dedicated group of cohousing enthusiasts has been working with Cohousing Options Canada, consultants, to learn about and develop the foundations for a cohousing community in Hamilton.
We have established several teams, including Membership (Ellen Ryan) Outreach & Communications (Carol Gottlob), Finance & Legal (Ken Tigchelaar) and Steering (Judy Shepalo). Teams meet virtually on a regular basis. Now and again we meet through socially-distanced social gatherings to get to know each other better. As the COVID crisis abates, we expect to do more of these.
We are mostly from the Hamilton area, over 55, and have lots of interesting experience to bring to the endeavour. We have established a Mission, Vision and Values statement (see below) and have decided to become “Grandgenerational”, meaning predominantly seniors-led and oriented, but including younger families and couples.
All this is the groundwork for the next phase, which involves incorporating, site selection and design before we go on to build.
Our homes will exist within an inclusive intentional community living in a healthy, sustainable, and fun environment. We are caring neighbours who build upon each other’s strengths and are respectful of each other’s privacy. We collaborate through effective communication and acceptance of individual differences. Our common spaces will facilitate the sharing of meals, resources and social connections as well as welcoming others into our neighbourhood.
We will build and live in a welcoming and vibrant grandgenerational, caring, cooperative, sustainable intentional community in the Hamilton area by 2024. Our architectural design will include different sized units, making some more economical. Operating costs are expected to be well below that for separate houses. We will foster autonomy and privacy while cultivating neighbourly support and a deep sense of community. We will work collaboratively, each contributing to the extent of our abilities, talents and resources. Through sharing and mutual support we will foster creativity, personal growth, and quality of life for our members.
- Community connectedness (Inside & outside)
- Financially accessible
- Interdependent and independent
- Individual autonomy
- Collaborative through Open Communication (see below)
- Mutual Support
- Positive Attitude
- Stewardship of the environment, community and ourselves
- Sustainable & environmentally responsible
- Aging in Place
Values for Collaborating through Open Communication
(adapted from the Kawartha Commons Cohousing Way of Community)
- To Cooperate with Others – I agree to maintain a sense of cooperation and caring in my interactions with others.
- To Honour Our Differences – I agree to value differences and celebrate diversity.
- To Express Appreciation – I agree to express appreciation of others and to support the community and the individuals in it.
- To Communicate With Integrity – I agree to honour my truth, with compassion for others and myself and to trust that others are doing the same.
- To Listen With My Heart – I agree to listen respectfully and with empathy to the communications of others and to do so without judgment, giving others the benefit of the doubt.
- To Own My Feelings – I agree to take responsibility for my feelings and how I react to the words and actions of others.
- To Honour Each Person’s Process – I agree to presume the best of intentions when interacting with members of the community, to reserve judgment, and allow for vulnerability.
- To Be Aware of Conflict – I agree to take responsibility for my own actions and to acknowledge my mistakes.
- To Resolve Conflicts Constructively – I agree to deal with problems in a timely manner. I will not criticize another person, or say anything in their absence that I would not say to their face. Whenever I have a conflict with another person, I will first attempt to deal with it face to face with that person. When I feel unable to do this, or cannot solve the conflict on my own, I will refrain from complaining to someone who is powerless to resolve the conflict. Instead I will ask for support, empathy, and/or the opportunity to vent in a constructive manner from someone who is not involved in the conflict, or by requesting mediation.
- To Maintain Harmony – I agree to make the effort to establish rapport with others and to reconnect with anyone with whom I feel out of harmony as soon as it is appropriate, to honour my own and other’s boundaries, and give space to others when they need it.
- To Freely Participate – I agree that I freely choose to participate in the Cohousing Hamilton Community. It is my choice.
- To Lighten Up! – I agree to allow fun and joy in my relationships, my work, and my life.