1. Who owns Murundaka?
The titles for Murundaka's twenty properties are held by Common Equity Housing Limited. CEHL is a not-for-profit Housing Association owned by over one hundred member housing co-operatives. Murundaka Cohousing Community is a member of Earth Common Equity Housing Co-operative
2. How many people live at Murundaka?
We have twenty households at Murundaka with 35-40 people (kids to elders) living in our community.
3. What is a Housing Co-operative?
A co-operative is a group of people who come together with a common purpose, in our case to provide long-term, affordable housing to our members. Our housing co-op (Earth Common Equity Housing Co-operative Limited) was established in 1986. During that time Earth co-op has remained committed to it's purpose and principles. Earth co-op changed significantly in 2011 when Murundaka Cohousing Community was built and residents moved onsite, changing from a dispersed housing co-op model to a co-located model.
4. What's the governance structure?
We have two legal entities set-up to run our community. First we are a housing co-operative (see above for more info) and our governance model with the co-op is an all-directors model, i.e. all members of the co-op are also directors of the co-op. As well as several independent directors who are not members of the co-op but live at Murundaka. Our all-directors model is an inclusive, flat-structure model which utilises consensus decision-making.
The second entity is an Incorporated Association (Murundaka Cohousing Community Association Inc.) that we set-up in 2011 to assist with some of our non-co-op community activities. All households are members of the Association.
5. What is cohousing?
Cohousing is a form of community living. Residents have their own homes but share facilities (Common House, gardens, workshops, etc.) and resources (food, childminding, cars, power tools, etc.) with their fellow community members. Residents share regular meals together (called Common Meals) and self-manage their homes and community collaboratively.
6. How was Murundaka developed?
Sensing a need for change, regeneration, and evolution, members of the original Earth co-op (and Murundaka founders) Iain Walker, Giselle Wilkinson, and Matthew Walker were looking to evolve the housing co-op in the early 2000s. The cohousing project was originally envisaged as a joint public-private development, with a half to third or houses been sold to fund the project. When the Federal government's Economic Stimulus Package in 2009 allocated money to the social housing sector, funds became available to fund the whole cohousing development. The build was completed in 2011 and residents moved in early December.
7. How to you apply to live at Murundaka?
We have a whole page dedicated to this question here.
8. I'm starting my own cohousing community. How can I visit Murundaka to find out more and learn from your experiences?
We're really keen to support other cohousing groups and developments getting off the ground. We have regular public events with opportunities to connect with us and talk more. Our regular tours (4 times a year) are a great opportunity or there's also our architecture tours (3-4 times per year) are great for more building / design-specific info. Stay tuned to our Facebook and Events page for notice of this events. If those options don't work for you we're happy to try and work something else out. More info on our Visit page.
9. What is Common Equity Housing?
Common Equity Housing Limited is a Housing Association. CEHL are the largest Housing Association in Victoria. The program is co-operative housing and falls under the social housing banner in the affordable housing sector. There are over 100 housing co-ops around Victoria that are members of the CEHL program. A mix of co-op members and independent experts make up the Board of Directors of CEHL. There is approximately 60-70 staff at CEHL, with 111 co-ops and over 2,100 properties in Victoria.
10. What is Affordable Housing, Social Housing, and Community Housing?
Affordable Housing is government-supported housing for lower income Victorians. Social Housing makes up approximately 10% of the Affordable Housing portfolio (with Public Housing making up the remaining 90%). And one form of social housing is Community Housing, under which Co-operative Housing exists.
11. How old is Murundaka?
Whilst the idea of Murundaka started long ago, residents moved onsite in December 2011.
12. What are the pros and cons of living in cohousing?
The answer varies depending on who you ask. Common 'pro' responses include greater connectedness with neighbours, strong support network, sharing resources and living a lower impact lifestyle. Common 'con' responses include attending lots of meetings, the challenges around getting on with neighbours, and the high time commitments of living in community.
13. What skills do community members need to live in community successfully?
Again, the answer depends on who you ask. Common responses include good communication skills, willingness to adapt / compromise, time management, emotional maturity, and the ability to laugh at yourself!
14. What advice to you have to other cohousing groups starting out?
Lots of advice and learnings to share. A great resource for groups working together which we use a lot at Murundaka is Glen Ochre's book 'Getting Our Act Together'. Such a fantastic resource! Do your research. Visit other intentional communities and cohousing developments. Speak to people who have done it before. Be prepared for the LONG journey! Come to one of our public events and find out more!
15. What happens when there's a conflict amongst community members?
Conflict, differences of opinion, arguments. All are common living with people and living with community. It's also the greatest chance for learning that we have in living with one another in community. How do we get on, work together, and make it long-term? We have a number of conflict resolution processes at Murundaka. Starting with our community communication agreement (an agreement we made together about how we talk and interact with one another with respect and compassion. Next we have our Hard Held Yarn process, which is a facilitated session between two community members who are experiencing conflict with one another. These sessions are facilitated by other experienced community members. In some cases we can on third party mediators to help us work through issues and reach resolution.
16. How many hours do community members contribute per week?
On average, between 5-10 hours per week. This includes monthly community meetings, checking and responding to community emails regularly, attending working bees, helping cook common meals, being a part of a committee, promoting our co-op and community, etc.