Intentional community offers many benefits to families, especially for single parents. Are you looking to share a living room and kitchen with another family within what would typically be a single-family unit? This could be two parents sharing a rental, or one parent renting from a homeowner. Explore the options here.
Steps to collaborating on a multi-family home
- ICmatch can help you identify other single parents that have an overlap in the type of housing and lifestyle you’re looking for. Subscribing to post your profile on this page could make it even easier for others to find you. You could also scan other roommate search platforms then invite to check out your ICmatch profile so they can get a full picture of how well your preferences line up. Housing classifieds and Facebook community housing networks could also help you advertise.
- You might go on a road trip or vacation together. If the big issues are going to split you up, it’s better to know that before you start.
- You might write up an agreement with a trial period, after which both families can assess whether or not a continued partnership is workable.
- Once you have in mind who you plan to create the multi-family partnership with, it’s a good idea to find a couples therapist who is willing to provide group counseling on a preventive basis. If that’s not feasible, at least establish a weekly meeting, possibly with a set format, for talking over how it’s going. Don’t wait for the small issues to become big divisions.
- Find a home with a self-contained mother-in-law unit, a house with a guest cottage in back, or a large house or apartment with at least two full bathrooms that could be configured to give each family its own private space.
- Investigate the possibilities for a mortgage in which all adults are co-signers, sometimes called a mixer mortgage. Alternatively, one family could take on the loan and the other(s) could draw up a lease or rent-to-own contract with the owning family.
CoAbode.org has many examples of single moms splitting rent while supporting each other in household chores and childcare.
The most direct path to experiencing life in an IC full of families with similar-aged children is to find an existing intentional community in an area that works for you. Go to IC.org/directory then put into the search function that you are looking for ICs accepting new members.
CoAbode.org helps single moms find each other and figure out how to make a workable household together, often by sharing a 2-bedroom apartment, dubbing this advantageous arrangement “the mommune.” This often allows moms and kids more stability and safety than sharing a residence with a boyfriend. This site has many useful resources and helps match you. You could invite your potential matches to look at your ICmatch profile to assess compatibility.
The pages for related group types may have additional resources useful for your group, especially Multi-family Kid-focused and Suburban Co-housing. Also take a look at the Income-sharing Commune page. Most often income is partially shared, and there is more flexibility and privacy than many imagine there would be. While the majority of intentional communities are not income-sharing, this New York Magazine article reports many benefits, stating that “Many of these parents had lived here for years; they had lost touch with the fact that on the outside—or ‘the mainstream,’ as they call it—parents often have no one and nothing to rely on but themselves.”