Partnerships For Affordable Cohousing, Inc. (PFAC) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization working with local cohousing groups and affordable housing organizations around the country to provide and develop affordable cohousing. PFAC serves as a bridge between the traditional affordable housing infrastructure and the cohousing communities of today and tomorrow.
Wendy is an economist specializing in cooperative economics. She grew up in a family business, Nutri-Books Corporation, a distributor of information and products serving the natural foods and alternative medicine industries. While working inventory in the warehouse when she was 12 years old, she had a major epiphany: if artificial separations between “labor” and “management”—between people—were eliminated, work would be more productive, creative, rewarding, and fun. After graduating from the University of Denver with a BSBA, Wendy left the family business for a fourteen-year career in technology, establishing an early foundation in the Financial Systems Division of NCR Corporation. The capstone professional achievement occurred at Troy Group, where she was instrumental in the early sales and development of eCheck Secure, a decisioning and payment system that provided a key building block for the newly emerging online brokerage industry. In realizing that technology would produce radical, structural and permanent changes in labor markets, Wendy went back to school to get a Masters in Economics in the heterodox program at the University of Denver, where she pursued her long-term interest in employee ownership. Today, she thinks about how the principles and structure of the ESOP can be combined with Open Book Management, and how these fundamental tools could have an even greater impact within communities, where development, health care, utilities and education could be citizen-driven. To this end, she blogs at investoruprising.org and has started Ethical Capital, a means of formally pursuing what she has been doing all along.
Board of Directors
Rick Keller, President
Richart Keller is a professional community/environmental planner and facilitator with over 40 years of experience in a wide variety of areas, including housing consulting, housing counseling, construction, and financial education and has served as Executive Director of a Community Development Corporation. He has worked in the private, non-profit, and government sectors. He has co-founded a number of nonprofit organizations and coalitions serving low income individuals and communities. He has had extensive experience as an active board member of non-profit organizations, including assisting in Board and organizational development and serving on a wide range of committees.Areas of expertise include project and program management, strategic planning, organizational development, non-profit financial oversight, facilitation, mediation, coalition-building, advocacy, writing and editing, giving presentations, research and policy development, providing training and technical assistance, and grant-writing and administration. A resident of a cohousing community in Amherst, MA, he has recently become a Board Member of the Cohousing Association of the US where he also serves as the leader of its Research Committee. He has also recently co-founded and serves on the Executive Committee of the independent Cohousing Research Network. He graduated from Earlham College, did his graduate work in community planning and coastal management at the University of Rhode Island, and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners.
Barbara Bailey, Treasurer
Barbara Bailey has worked for The Housing Fellowship as the Finance Manager for four years and as an independent contractor for the previous nine years. She has worked in the field of non-profit business management for more than thirty five years and in non-profit financial management for more than twenty years. She was educated at The University of Iowa in business and science and is certified by the National Development Council as a Housing Development Finance Professional. Her most recent work in affordable housing follows work in financial management of mental health providers and women’s health providers. She got her start in business management through early work with natural food cooperatives. She is a member of ICCH, LLC a cohousing group in Iowa City, Iowa, which is searching for land.
Yoomie Ahn, Secretary
Yoomie is one of the founders of Richmond Cohousing (http://richmondcohousing.org), a group seeking to live in a multi-generational, eco-friendly cohousing community in Richmond, Virginia. She is a graduate of Cornell University and UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law and has worked as a real estate lawyer and an affordable housing project manager, technical advisor, consultant, and dedicated mother. Yoomie is currently on staff at Arlington County's Housing Division.
Jerome is an attorney with a concentration on state and federal tax financing incentives affecting the built environment. His experience includes provided legal support for developers, syndicators, investors, non-profit sponsors, and government agencies in renewable energy and real estate developments using the historic, new markets, renewable energy and low-income housing tax credits. Jerome has been involved in several non-profit sponsored real estate transactions financed with new markets tax credit financing, including educational, health and community services facilities. As a LEED, AP, he has also served clients utilizing energy efficiency and renewable energy tax incentives. An attorney at a major Boston law firm, he has also served as a finance project manager at The Community Builders, Inc., a national non-profit developer of affordable housing. Prior to that, Mr. Garciano was a financial analyst with Recapitalization Advisors, a nationally recognized real estate finance consulting firm, specializing in repositioning affordable multifamily housing assets. He is a CPA and has a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Cornell University and a Master of Public Policy from Harvard University.
Clifford is co-founder of Cohousing Creation, LLC and four other companies and has executive responsibility for land assets and land planning. Clifford is creating multi-family residential communities and commercial land development in Austin and central Texas through partnerships with experienced project managers, real estate developers, and affordable housing organizations. Clifford is a scientist with a focus on sustainable economic and ecological design. Previously with Mobil (now ExxonMobil) Research and Development in Dallas, Texas, Clifford, as Staff Geophysicist, participated in global oil, gas, and mineral exploration, research, and data analysis. Clifford received a Master of Science degree in Geophysics from Texas A&M University in 1984. Clifford's thesis involved first measuring, to parts per billion, real-time spatio-temporal changes in the gravitational field of the earth/moon/sun system. Then, secondly, combining the data with additional astronomical, geological and topological data to predict details of a floodplain aquifer system in east Texas. Prior to that, Clifford graduated cum laude from Texas A&M with a Bachelor of Science in Geophysics and graduated as salutatorian and history award recipient from Round Rock High School, Round Rock, Texas.
Craig has led a small professional housing and community development consulting firm in Northern California, Craig S. Meltzner & Associates (CSM&A). Since 1989, CSM&A has worked with community-oriented developers and local governments to plan, permit, and finance affordable homeownership, rental housing, emergency housing, and related community services. His firm’s services include planning, development, and management of affordable housing programs and projects; client representation to public agencies; project feasibility analyses and finance packaging; labor standards compliance monitoring; and organizational training. Over the past 23 years, Craig’s firm has consulted on over 140 different affordable housing developments, supporting the successful development or financing of 2,500+ units. Craig previously worked as New Housing Director for Peoples Self-Help Housing Corporation and Executive Director of Burbank Housing Development Corporation, both California-based non-profit housing development corporations. Craig also worked for the Rural Development Program of the California Department of Housing and Community Development. Craig holds a Bachelors of Arts degree with honors in political science from the University of California, Riverside, with post-graduate education in real estate law, appraisal, and finance; land use planning; construction management; computer technology; and organizational development and training. For recreation, Craig and his wife are avid contra dancers, the cohousing version of American community dance.
Greg is the Business Development Manager for the Jones Payne Group, a national architecture and planning firm headquartered in Boston, MA. In this role, Greg serves as liaison across the practice groups to assist with developing, evaluating and implementing marketing and business development strategies. He is also the principal of Rosenberg and Associates, with a consulting practice focusing on organizational assessment, curriculum and website development, urban agriculture, sustainable development practices, and all things relating to community land trusts. After helping found the National Community Land Trust Network (U.S.) and the Community Land Trust Academy, Greg served as the first Director of the CLT Academy through 2011. Prior to coming to the CLT Network, he was Executive Director of the Madison Area Community Land Trust in Madison, Wisconsin, where he was the lead developer for Troy Gardens, an award-winning urban ecovillage project featuring a working farm, community gardens, a restored prairie, and a mixed-income 30-unit cohousing project. Greg has also developed curriculum and taught workshops across the U.S. (and in the UK) on community land trusts, sustainable development, fair housing, property taxation, universal design, and urban agriculture. He is a faculty member of the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and NeighborWorks America and a blogger for Shelterforce Magazine. In addition, Greg is a LEED Accredited Professional and licensed to practice law in the State of Wisconsin.
Board of Advisors
Lisa Poley, PhD
Lisa is a resident of Shadowlake Village Cohousing in Blacksburg, Virginia,and served as the Shadowlake Village project coordinator during the community’s planning, design, financing and rezoning process. She has been interested in cohousing since the age of 19 when she first read about the idea and has lived in cohousing in Virginia for over 15 years. She holds degrees in economics and environmental design & planning. Her doctoral research focused on cohousing, social capital and civic engagement. She has taught in the planning department at Virginia Tech, is a partner in Village Resources LLC, served on the board of the Cohousing Association of the United States (CohoUS) for three years.
Janet has served on the boards of several community organizations dealing with housing issues, including Friends Community Housing (low-income housing in the Allied Drive neighborhood) and RFDF (residential housing for developmentally disabled adults). She is honored to be serving as the Chair of the Board of Arboretum Cohousing, and actually enjoys (well, most of the time) all of the meetings needed to make a cohousing community come into being. Janet has been practicing law for 25 years. Before law school she wandered around in various academic fields including French, political science, philosophy and experimental psychology. She likes both language and technical and scientific problems, and her law practice, which focuses on utility regulation, combines both of these interests. Outside of work she enjoys singing, swimming, reading about foreign policy, and making textile designs on the computer.
Laura Benedict has lived at Eno Commons Cohousing since 1999 where she serves on the Finance and Kids Life Committees. Professionally, she has 25 years’ experience in community development banking at the Self-Help, a national non-profit Community Development Financial Institution with over $1.6 billion in assets and operations in North Carolina, California, Chicago and Washington, DC. Laura leads Self-Help’s Development, Policy and Impact team. In 2010, she took a leave of absence from Self-Help to accept an Ian Axford Fellowship in Public Policy that took her and her family to New Zealand where she promoted community development finance “down under” and published Social Lending: A Tool for Grant Makers, an Opportunity for Communities. Before joining Self-Help, Laura worked at Catalyst, a New York-based, national non-profit women’s organization and taught English in China. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago and her Master’s in Business Administration from the University of North Carolina.
Barbara is Vice President for Federal Policy with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) in Washington, DC focusing on urban and rural federal housing and community development policy. Her experience in affordable housing includes lending, city and state affordable housing and community development program management, and executive leadership of place-based community development organizations. She was formerly the Senior Program Director for the Greater Miami LISC program and Senior Program Director of Rural LISC. Presently Barbara serves as a member on the boards of The National Housing Conference, Citizens Housing and Planning Association in Massachusetts, and the National Rural Housing Coalition. She is also a Steering Committee member of the Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding. She is a former board member the Massachusetts Association of CDCs, the Women's Institute of Housing and Economic Development and the Florida Housing Coalition among many other organizations. Barbara has a Bachelor and a Masters degree from Boston University and is an alumna of the JFK School of Government's Executive Program for Local and State Government. Barbara currently lives in Eastern Village Cohousing in Silver Spring, MD.
Charles DurrettArchitect and author Charles Durrett introduced the concept of cohousing to the U.S. in 1988 along with his wife Kathryn McCamant in their groundbreaking book Cohousing: A Contemporary Approach to Housing Ourselves. Cohousing is an innovative approach to housing in which private homes are clustered around extensive common facilities in a pedestrian environment (with parking kept to the periphery). Since authoring the cohousing book and founding McCamant and Durrett Architects, the firm has designed over fifty cohousing communities throughout the United States and Canada, and consulted on many more around the world. In 2009, Charles authored Senior Cohousing: A Community Approach to Independent Living—The Handbook, which introduces the cohousing concept in the design of communities for seniors. He and Kathryn McCamant recently released their third and newest book on cohousing, Creating Cohousing: Building Sustainable Communities.Laura Benedict has lived at Eno Commons Cohousing since 1998 where she serves on the Finance committee. Professionally, she has 17 years experience in community development banking at the Self-Help Credit Union, where she leads its 35-member commercial lending team.
Eli Spevak has been creating affordable, community-oriented housing developments in Portland since he arrived in 1994 to volunteer as a construction site supervisor with Portland Habitat for Humanity. During his first decade in Portland, he managed the finance and construction of over 250 units of affordable housing while working for community based non-profit organizations. After taking a year off to work as a backcountry ranger, Eli launched a development and general contractor company, Orange Splot LLC, with a mission to pioneer new models of community-oriented, affordable, green housing developments in Portland - ideally within an easy bike ride of his house. So far, Orange Splot has completed two small new cohousing communities in N/NE Portland, and a single family community with two detached bedroom 'garden cottages.' Most recently, he completed Woolsey Corner, an 8-unit community in partnership with Proud Ground, a local community land trust. With assistance from the City of Portland, these homes will be affordable to low income first time buyers and will remain affordable in perpetuity. On the side, Eli continued his work with non-profits by coordinating the finance side of a new, 34-unit cohousing community in Corvallis, Oregon that includes 8 homes affordable to first time buyers. He is looking forward to breaking ground on his newest project, Cully Grove, which will be a 16-unit community with a 'farm in the city' theme that will include a shared common building, community garden, preservation of existing trees, and planting of a new orchard to accompany the pear, cherry and grapes already growing on site. Orange Splot projects have been featured in the New York Times, Sunset Magazine, NBC Today Show, Portland Spaces, the Oregonian, and Portland's annual Build It Green! tours. Eli is also involved in a local advocacy project to spur the development of more space-efficient homes.
Bob Van Meter
Bob has served as executive director of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation's Greater Boston program since 2008. He served as executive director of the Allston Brighton Community Development Corporation for more than fourteen years from 1993 to 2008 and was a project manager and real estate development director at the Fenway Community Development Corporation from 1987 to 1993. He was an active member of New View Cohousing during the development phase and has been a resident of New View Cohousing from its first occupancy in 1995.
Norma Wassel is a cofounder and 13 year resident of Cambridge Cohousing in Cambridge Mass., the first urban cohousing project in the northeast, notable for its integration of adults with special needs and public housing authority units. As a professional social worker, she has been involved in community and housing development, human services administration, trauma intervention, and human rights work, both in the U.S. and abroad, particularly in Eastern Europe after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. In addition, she has developed and taught courses in administration and planning, social development, and human rights on a graduate level. Norma currently oversees a division for Massachusetts’s state-wide public defender agency and has a consultant practice in mitigation advocacy.