Community Living

We intentionally designed our cohousing community to encourage day-t0-day interactions among neighbors. Our homes and front porches open to a curving pedestrian-only pathway. Our common house (community building), grassy circle, and children's play areas greet us as we walk through the front gate. Our swimming pool is nestled behind the common house. Our common house is the hub of our community with a kitchen, large room and library for meetings and events (e.g., shared meals, celebrations, birthday parties, guest speakers, etc.) and a playroom for our children.

We are a self-managed cohousing community and make our decisions by consensus. We volunteer for the committees, task forces, and necessary tasks that keep our community running. And we hold monthly community meetings to share what we've accomplished, discuss new ideas and proposals, and socialize.

 

Social Activities

In a cohousing community, social activities are central to fostering positive interactions among members.  These positive relationships allow consensus decision making to work, and create an environment in which members can enjoy community living and share in the joys, fun and responsibilities.

 
 
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Common Meals

Every Saturday evening, or sometimes Sunday evening, community members come together to share a meal in the Common House. 

Members take turns cooking in teams for others who sign up.

Current charges for meals are $6 per adult, $3 per child.  Vegetarian or vegan options are usually available. 


Holiday Celebrations & Aloha Events

In addition to common meals, members come together to celebrate holidays.

Every Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, Halloween and Mothers Day, the Common House is decorated, a potluck is organized and fun activities are often set up for the kids.

The emphasis is not on personal religious or spiritual beliefs, but on celebration and fun.  All members, regardless of their beliefs, join in.

New members are welcomed to the community and departing members are acknowledged with an Aloha party at the Common House. 

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Happy Hour, Movies & Games

On Sunday evenings, "happy" members get together, depending on the weather, in front of the fireplace or outside to enjoy each other's company with a beverage and some snacks. Sometimes a movie is shown in the library afterwards.

Community movies are enjoyed in the library, the grassy circle, and even in the pool! 

Games are organized in the Common House.  

A jigsaw puzzle is ongoing for members to work on. 

There are many toys and games in the children's room as well.

 

Work Activities

In cohousing communities generally, as in our own community, members are expected to participate in the maintenance, physical and social, of their community. Working together can be difficult, rewarding, and fun; it also gives us a sense of pride and ownership in the place we have created together.

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Community Workdays and Community Meetings

On the third Sunday of each month, community members gather to make a difference and to work on seasonal and regular maintenance tasks such as weeding, raking the parking-lot, sweeping, etc.  Other members make a brunch for the "workers".

Community meetings take place on the first Sunday of each month.  At these meetings, committee representatives update the community on their activities, questions are posed and answered, and proposals are considered and consensed on.  

Committees and Taskforces

Every member is expected to join and actively participate in at least one committee.  The following is a brief description of each of our committees: 

Structure and Maintenance organizes and oversees the safety and physical maintenance of our community

Landscape organizes and oversees the design and maintenance of the plants in our common areas and community garden

Finance and Business develops our annual budget, manages our finances, and reviews our documents, such as CC&R's

Community Relations organizes social events, works to resolve conflicts in the community, and develops agreements on how we interact with one another in business and social settings

Eco Ed focuses on the green aspects of the community and on educating members and others about good conservation practices

Architectural Review develops guidelines and reviews required applications by homeowners for any desired changes to exterior architecture.

Common House takes care of the maintenance and function of the Common House, pool, and laundry area. 

Members volunteer to participate on task forces set up by committees or sometimes individuals that focus on a particular project or problem.

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VOlunteer Positions

Individual members volunteer to manage ongoing, specific, essential community jobs that are necessary for the Milagro community to function safely and smoothly.  

Examples of these tasks are: 

  • Goret Road clean-up
  • mosquito control
  • sweeping the Common House
  • watering plants
  • taking minutes
  • facilitating community meetings
  • organizing work brunches
  • maintaining the electric car, etc.  

As a cohousing community, we share many resources that need to be maintained. We meet together often and require volunteer work from members to keep our community smoothly functioning and a pleasant place to live.

 

Community Governance

Decision Making

Milagro makes its decisions by consensus.  Consensus is a group decision-making process that seeks the consent of all participants.  Consensus is not the same as voting. Consensus builds connection by replacing competition (voting) with cooperation (consensus).   With consensus, only proposals intended to accomplish a common purpose are considered.  With consensus, we look for solutions that are supported by all participants and are consistent with Milagro’s vision, mission, and values.

High quality decisions are based on the collective wisdom of the community.  Consensus starts during the development phase of a proposal where input and feedback are sought.  It continues at a community meeting when a formal proposal is made and consensus is reached (or withheld).  And, it “ends” with the community owning the decision and supporting its implementation and maintenance. 


Proposals

Milagro plans for painting.

Milagro plans for painting.

When a proposal is introduced at a community meeting, it becomes the property of the community and everyone is responsible for working to improve it and making it the best decision for the group. 

The facts of a proposal, the community values it represents, its positive potential, and concerns are all discussed. 

Concerns are resolved one-by-one while always keeping in mind the best interests of the community. 

When Milagro reaches consensus, it does so because the community supports the decision.


Resolving Conflicts

Our Community Relations Committee (CRC)  assists in coordinating solutions to unresolved conflicts.

When a community members wants to:

  • resolve a problem they feel has been going on for awhile
  • work out an issue that's bothering them
  • find out a good way to express a concern or opinion about what's happening at Milagro.

the CRC is prepared to work with Milagro residents to develop a plan or strategy to meet individual needs.  

The CRC can help find the way that seems best for each community member.

  • meeting one on one with a community member
  • meeting with a facilitator to mediate issues between residents
  • using an independent facilitator from outside the community to mediate issues.
  • designating neutral parties to talk separately with people having difficulty communicating directly
  • bringing the issue to a committee with or without an ally of your choice
  • bringing the issue to the community meeting in a manner that works for you.