Older Women in Cohousing [WINC] is creating a new model – the Middle Women Housing Fund – to enable women with insufficient assets to take part in the WINC cohousing community. These ‘middle women’ have some assets – but too much to qualify for social housing and too little to buy into the WINC community. Without assistance, they will whittle away these assets in the private rental market and in a few years be eligible for social housing – only to face a ten year wait, where they may well become homeless. We want women of all means to have the opportunity to live together in cohousing.
With assistance from a financial strategist, we are creating a unit trust where we can combine philanthropic contributions with social impact investment funds to make a pool for shared equity. The Middle Women Housing Fund will buy shares in middle women’s homes, via a tenants-in-common mechanism, to enable them to live in WINC as an equal member of the community. When a house is sold, the proportionate value of the sale will come back to the unit holders. Social investors may choose to reinvest or to receive their investment and its gains. The philanthropic component of the fund, managed by WINC, will be reinvested in the Middle Women Housing Fund in perpetuity. The structure will enable future middle women to be a part of the WINC cohousing community. The model and legal documents created for the Middle Women Housing Fund will be shared without charge to other developing communities.