What is Cohousing?
Cohousing living arrangements are known by many different names and forms, but generally offer individuals who are unrelated a private living space as well as access to communal areas like kitchen, bathrooms, and living spaces.
The cohousing umbrella encompasses terms such as rooming and boarding houses; single room occupancy; and some types of group living arrangements. Cohousing can provide greater housing choice for people of all ages, abilities and incomes; increase the potential stock of market rate affordable units; and preserve social and cultural diversity through mixed-income communities.
Community Engagement Opportunities
- Tuesday, March 20, 2021 - Virtual Community meeting on Housing for All – Cohousing/Co-living in Alexandria
- March 24 - April 11, 2021
Goals and Community Outreach
This initiative is intended to:
- Provide additional flexibility for the creation of
market rate affordable units
- Streamline the approval process for these living arrangements to provide the market with more predictability
- Expand housing choices by allowing this use where
The process will include citywide community outreach and engagement, and an analysis of regional and national best practices to include regulatory tools, potential special use permit criteria, and other considerations.
Draft recommendations are anticipated to be presented to Planning Commission and City Council for consideration in June 2021.
What are some benefits to cohousing?
- Rooms in cohousing are smaller and have shared facilities making
them cheaper to reconfigure existing space or build. As a result, they are
often rented below market rates.
- Due to lower average rent, these types of units can be more affordable
options for tenants with 30%-80% area median income (AMI) and are another tool to help Alexandria
close the workforce housing gap.
- Savings on rent can help individuals build wealth for their
future to buy a home, invest for retirement, or provide savings for a rainy day.
- Increase potential stock of market rate affordable units.
- Allowing non-traditional families/friends the opportunity to live together under the same roof.
- Intergenerational living arrangements that meet the needs of people with disabilities, seniors, students, and young professionals.
Resources and Information
- Virginia Tech Coliving Case Study Report
- What its like to live in Crystal Cities “Dorm” for Adults (The Washingtonian, 2017)
- Affordable housing is your spare bedroom (The New York Times, 2018)
- Union Market is
getting a huge new Co-living Building (The Washingtonian, 2019)
- Developers claim co-living suites earn more per square foot than regular apartments (National Real Estate Investor, 2019)
- Cohousing Association of America
Contact Alexa Powell, Urban Planner, 703.746.4666.