Envisioning / Actualizing Communal Housing


 

The three of us (Lindsay, Shanti, and Desiree) first connected over our love of Germantown, food, thrift stores and desire for intentional community. 


What started as dreams of building and growing within a “village,” has since blossomed into more detailed and specific plans to realize our vision for shared land and space.

As the external world reckons with our history of violence, colonialism, anti-blackness and environmental injustice, we hope to draw closer together, and imagine more equitable ways of living and thriving together. Sharing of resources in this way enables us to stabilize our families in direct opposition to the dominant culture. Additionally, as we continue to live with COVID, we want to create large enough pods to share in the responsibilities of child-rearing, costs of living and support for mental and physical health.



Shanti is an uptown girl raised in Germantown. She is a mother and local business owner of The Sable Collective, a retail brand curated for Black women and WOC to explore narratives of joy, beauty and wellness. 


  

Desiree is also a Philly native, mother of one son (Imri) and an energy worker who prioritizes sliding scale and barter-economy access to healing services and herbal medicine for black queer and trans folks.

 

Lindsay is a founder of Germantown Residents for Economic Alternatives Together (GREAT), a grassroots neighborhood group that creates spaces / tools / projects for folks to be self-determining and self-reliant, and to prevent displacement of the Germantown community. 


We value:

  • Equity across ALL intersections of identity
  • Explorations of resource and alternative economies 
  • Communal care
  • Living cooperatively as a solution to the strain that private ownership places on the natural environment
  • More responsible ways of being in relationship with the community in historically Black neighborhoods

We are asking you (our community!) to partner with us in obtaining or sharing a large house and adjacent land to raise our children, support each other, and grow food / herbs for the neighborhood.


Embodying this village will look like:


  • Being with folks that want to be deep in relationship. 
  • Sharing of ideas, meals, responsibilities. 
  • Being in care of one another physically + mentally. 
  • Being in awe of the possibility of no hierarchy, exploring power dynamics with one another always. 
  • Committing to unraveling and blossoming (self awareness and growth). 
  • Committing to honesty about our strengths, weaknesses, and challenges.
  • Centering open conversation around hurt feelings, offenses and disagreements. 
  • Holding deep investment in reconciliation, agreements, honesty and compassion. 
  • Learning and teaching. 
  • Supporting our children as they grow into their teenage years.
  • Growing food, and providing meals and herbal medicine for our neighbors.


Interested in supporting us? Here are several ways that you can help!


  • We need a house! 
    • With at least 4,000 square feet, preferably 6,000+
    • With land that can be tended
    • Anywhere in Germantown 
    • That needs repairs / improvements OR is move-in ready
    • That has or could have private spaces inside for each family (private bedrooms, bathroom, kitchen) in addition to common areas

       


    So you could: 

    Sell, rent, or gift your house/property to us

    OR you could invite us to move in


    Maybe you have extra space because your kids are grown, 

    maybe you don’t want to deal with the transactional nature of selling on the market, 

    maybe you are feeling lonely and want to be part of a community, 

    maybe you want extra income to pay for maintenance, 

    or maybe you just want to support the visions we propose so this can be a model?



    For people considering living with us, and expanding our village, here are some of our visions of home:


    • A balance of private space and common space-- we want to be able to gather, share meals together, enjoy each other’s company, AND we want to have privacy 
    • Rest, quiet, music
    • cleanliness, order, beauty. 
    • Sweet smells, warmth. 
    • Long, long tables of folks breaking bread. 
    • Plants, flowers, and herbs.
    • Ability to ebb and flow; to be social or not
    • Rituals 
    • Family 
    • Gatherings, especially special planned ones
    • Everyone doesn’t have to do everything, but we all find ways to pitch in and cover it all 
    • Support each other by helping meet needs, or helping meet our own needs

    Once we have a house, we will be looking for more people to live with us, but for now while the future is unknown, we’re keeping it simple with the three of us. But if this really resonates with you and you want to let us know that you might want to join in, let us know! We especially would welcome elders to bring their experience and wisdom to our community. 


  • Support and share our fundraiser!

  • Donate through PayPal: nanacsapothecary@gmail.com  

    One dream has been to live at the Waring House at 48-62 East Penn. It’s an 8,500 square foot house that has a big yard for growing. This hasn’t come together, but is still a possibility and has given us an image for what we want. That project would be at least $700,000 we estimate, between purchase and renovations. About $90,000 in donations has been committed so far if that project goes through. 


    We are continuing to raise money whether it be for that project or another. We are currently exploring what other opportunities there are that may just fall right into place. The market doesn’t offer much so that’s why we’re looking to our community. Whatever comes our way, we imagine there will be expenses to get the house the way that will fit with our visions. 


    If we purchase a house that is in need of serious work, we would likely need at least 25% of the total cost (including purchase and repair work) up front. 


  • Loan us the funds to do this work

  • Getting the support of a bank / lender has not been easy. We’re committed to having a plan that is financially sound, but given the cooperative nature of our effort, it comes across to a bank as unusual and “risky.” Loans from able community members could go a long way in bringing our vision to life. 


    Closing thoughts and contact info!


    Thank you for helping support and nourish us! We are stepping out on trust, leaning on our community, and working to build more sustainable futures. 


    For questions, offers, and partnership please feel free to reach out to any of us:

    Nanacsapothecary@gmail.com 

    Desiree

    Shanti

    Lindsay


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