The term chosen family was originally used by anthropologists to refer to the intense, intimate relationships some LGBTQ+ people formed apart from their biological relatives. The resources below can help you find your people and learn from others how to create a shared residence. Read below to learn about how to start intentional communities including gay, lesbian, and queer shared housing.
Steps to renting together
- Find recruits thru personal networks or social media platforms. Invite those interested to complete a profile at ICmatch.org to identify whether potential members have a similar lifestyle and values. In your profile responses, the category Community Type, you can indicate the interest in finding housing with similar other by checkmarking LGBTQ+ commune.
- Post a group in the Team Up page. You may end up sorting into two or more groups. If you plan housing specifically for non-binary, males, or females only, word your ads in a way that does not make you vulnerable to accusations of discrimination. Getting your groups together first and getting the housing second can help you. No one can bring a complaint against you for advertising about getting a group of like-minded people together to create a housing-search strategy. Then once you agree on who’s a good fit, you find and fill up the place without advertising a rental.
- Decide what residential areas you all find appealing and what type of place would work for you all.
- It may be most simple for one or two people to sublet to others. For guidance on searching for and qualifying for your ideal place as a rental group, see the instructions on “rent with friends,” on how to find an affordable house, submit a joint rental application, and create an extra bedroom. Find more rental tips here.
- Discuss who will manage bills and other responsibilities that maintain the residence long term. If it’s one person, rather than a rotating responsibility or ongoing group decision, discuss what benefit might be given for taking on that role. For example, they might get first choice of bedroom or a rent discount.
- Agree on and print house rules, including how group decisions are made, timing of regular meetings, and how chores are assigned. Set the initial culture and governance style carefully, because it will likely be perpetuated even if there is eventually complete turnover of residents.
- Invite friends to your biggest housewarming party ever!
Charlie Lake LGBTQ House in BC posted as a forming community at ic.org.
The Supernuclear blog has tips and stories about living with a group of friends in over-priced big city apartments. If you’re hankering for the open road instead, here’s an idea: LGBTQ+ Van life meetup.
LGBTQ+ Community Consultants
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This practical description of how to find and modify a rented or purchased house can help you create and invite renters into a shared-residence IC.
NAMI states that “there is strong evidence from recent research that members of this community are at a higher risk for experiencing mental health conditions — especially depression and anxiety disorders….LGB[TQ+] youth also experience greater risk for mental health conditions and suicidality.”
Recent mental health care reforms in the U.S. promise to provide funding for treatment facilities. By using the clubhouse model, small facilities targeting select groups could successfully begin treating vulnerable populations with daytime and/or residential care.