Family-focused Community Types

Community life offers many practical benefits to families. Children and adults can benefit from having others around to fill the roles that extended family or a village used to provide. Many households struggle to meet the demands of child raising. At the same time they face challenging financial situations that can include the rising cost of housing. We’re not pretending there are pre-existing welcoming communities waiting to receive and support you. A lucky few will find a good fit in an existing community. Most often, you will need to help create the type of community you seek. This can be fulfilling as well as take a substantial amount of time and effort.

For young parents, inviting others into your life or your home can help meet the needs that an older sibling, nanny, or grandparent might meet. For seniors, inviting a young adult or young couple into your home can help you maintain independence, filling the role that adult children might have traditionally done. In a reciprocal relationship, you would help meet others’ needs as well, which can bring a sense of meaning and purpose, even though the added relationships will bring their own challenges. See the community type called join a household as a trial run.

If you have a home that is a workable size and in a location you prefer, and you don’t have extra space to share, a neighborhood mutual aid group may be a way to develop reciprocal helping relationships. Some families may want to join with others who have unique challenges, to form community to share the burden of meeting the needs of a vulnerable population their loved one is part of. The following are types of housing that appeal to some families. See other housing types at the Community Types page, including unconventional options such as tiny homes, van life, spiritual coliving community, or an off-grid settlement.

Many young parents are interested in exploring intentional community as an alternative environment for child raising. Many challenges that children in westernized nations are increasingly experiencing seem related to both the urban environment and isolation of the nuclear family. While many urbanites are disinterested in living in small towns where their cultural and commercial options are limited, there is often a nostalgia for what people think of as the village, where communal values were practiced within extended families and thru close longstanding social ties with neighbors. Jean Liedloff’s work, based on years of study of the native Yequana people of South America, describes many benefits of communal settings for child raising.

Grants for “youth development”: This list is ordered by state. These grants or scholarships can be applied for by individuals. You do not need to have non-profit status or be under the umbrella of a government agency.

Many families seek intentional community as part of a quest to create a unique experience for their children that includes a different type of education environment. Acton Academy is a novel self-directed schooling model that has created remarkable success and enjoyment for children. The Acton founders welcome and support the duplication of their model. This model builds on the principles of Montessori and Walden, other popular alternative education styles.