Frequently Asked Questions

What is cohousing?
Cohousing communities balance the traditional advantages of home ownership with the benefits of shared common facilities and ongoing connections with your neighbors. It attempts to overcome the alienation of modern subdivisions in which no-one knows their neighbors, and there is no sense of community. Additional Information on Cohousing.

What is the Common House?
The Common House is the centerpiece of our community. It made out of energy efficient straw bale walls with solar panels to power the electricity and is designed around a central courtyard. The 3500 sq. ft facility includes:

Will I have my own kitchen?
Each home is an independent unit which includes kitchen, dining and living rooms, bedroom/s and bath/s.

How are homes financed?
Homes are generally financed through banks like any other home purchase.

How are decisions made?
We uses the consensus decision-making process. Consensus is a process in which decisions are made by the collaboration and consent of every member of the group. This does not necessarily mean unanimity. In fact, total agreement is rare. The decision must be acceptable enough, however, that everyone can live with it. Consensus empowers all members of the group and requires them to be active participants in the decision-making process.

Cohousing/commune; what's the difference?
Cohousing could be described as more of an "intentional neighborhood" than an "intentional community" or "commune". Intentional communities frequently share a religious, political, or social ideology. Some share income and living space. Cohousers simply share the desire to have much more of a sense of community with their neighbors. The shared common house and outdoor spaces serve as an area for neighbors to gather and visit and share a meal.

What about common meals?
A common meal may be one of the few opportunities in our busy week to sit down and have a real conversation with our neighbors. Many feel that these meals are the glue that holds cohousing communities together. Most common meals are prepared by a small team for however many diners sign up for the meal in advance. Currently, for every 4 meals a person eats, they are required to sign up for 1 work shift. Other kinds of common meals are potlucks and eating circles. We generally have about three common meals per week.

What responsibilities will I have in the community?
Our agreement on work contributions to the community require each adult join and participate on at least one work team (responsible for maintenance and community activities). Committees differentiate from teams in that they are generally involved with overall community governance and function. There are also temporary task forces which have a short term mandate to carry out some task. There is currently no requirement to participate on Committees and Task Forces, although as a self-governing and participatory community, involvement is encouraged. Many tasks are also completed simply by individuals working on their own, such as the nightly lock up of the common house. The Work Participation Team monitors and manages the functioning of teams, committees, and task forces (collectively referred to as "Groups").

How much work is required?
Sonora is a cooperative community that relies on its members to get things done from pulling weeds to facilitating meetings. This also saves us a lot of money. Every member contributes 3-5 hours per month in our organized work system which gets a number of important jobs done. Other work is not as organized and is usually accomplished via individual and collective labors of love by members. We strive to match work with talent and passions.

What are advantages to living in cohousing>
The advantages include rich relationships, a sense of extended family and the opportunity to share resources and live more lightly on the land.

What are drawbacks to living in cohousing?
Living in a cohousing community takes work, energy, and time to develop and maintain both the physical structure as well as the emotional bonds and relationships which develop between and among individuals.