Frequently asked questions about Sasona Cooperative

“A cooperative is a business controlled by the people who use it. It is a democratic organization whose earnings and assets belong to its members. By patronizing and becoming an active member of a co-op, you invest yourself with the power to shape that business. You control the politics and economics of what is truly your organization" (NASCO). This localized member control allows co-ops to be as varied as the people they serve. Thus, there are different types of co-ops including: food co-ops, housing co-ops, arts and crafts co-ops, book co-ops, bakery co-ops, bike co-ops, farm co-ops, rural electric co-ops, financial co-ops (credit unions), and insurance co-ops. And each of these has a flavor of its own, reflective of the desires of its individual memberships. Despite the diversity in type and tradition of co-ops, most have several things in common, particularly the ideals and principles from which they emerge.”For more info about why coops are such a good idea, check out: NASCO

Sasona, like many co-ops, follows the Rochdale Principles of cooperation:

  1. Voluntary and open membership
  2. Democratic member control
  3. Member economic participation
  4. Autonomy and independence
  5. Education, training, and information
  6. Cooperation among cooperatives
  7. Concern for community

For more information on the Rochdale Principles, check out Rochdale's Principles

Being a member at Sasona will give you the amazing opportunity to take part in an ever-evolving experiment in democracy, self-management, cooperation, and community. You will have the opportunity to learn many skills, such as cooking, gardening, landscaping, maintenance, bookkeeping, accounting, conflict resolution, meeting facilitation, public speaking, etc. You will be a part of the worldwide cooperative movement, and you will be able to attend the annual co-op conference in Ann Arbor, Michigan (See: NASCO Conference ). You will meet interesting people that you might have never had the opportunity to meet if you were not living in community.

Before you move in, you must pay a refundable $500 deposit. The first month’s rent is also due when you move in.The deposit for associate members is $80

Rent varies from $559 to $874, depending on the size of the room. Visit our house layout page for an idea of room costs: House Plan An associate membership, which inlcudes meals and use of all utilities,is $80 per month

Rent covers all utilities and bills, internet connection in every room, wireless connection throughout most of the house, a printer with scanner and copier functions, TV/DVD/VCR, three living rooms, a big backyard, vegetarian dinner seven nights a week (although meat eaters are welcome and in fact the majority of the house eats meat), a stocked kitchen, and free laundry facility.

Contracts must be for at least 6 months.

We have a list of people who have been accepted as potential members. When a room opens up, we contact everyone who has been accepted, in order of acceptance. If several people are interested in a room, and they are able to move in when the room is available and pay the deposit right away, then who gets the room will be determined based on several factors, such as who attended their second meeting first (i.e. who is higher on the “waiting list”). So we can’t really say for sure how many people want the room until we offer it to everyone and get responses.

Who is higher on the waiting list is important, but the most important factors determining whether you get a room are the flexibility of your living situation (whether you can move in as soon as a room is open), whether you can pay the deposit right away, and whether you check your email regularly to receive the updates about room openings.

It’s hard to say. The only thing we can tell you for sure is that you have no chance of getting a room if you don’t attend two meetings and become accepted as a potential member. We can also tell you that attending two meetings as soon as possible will improve your chances, because you’ll be higher on the waiting list. Typically there are only a few people interested in an opening at a certain time, so if you are interested, and you are available to move in when the room opens, you have a good shot of getting the room.

We have house meetings every Sunday night. Every member is welcome to write items on the agenda for discussion or voting. More than a 75% majority is required to pass a motion. It’s exciting to take part in a truly member-owned, member-run organization!

We do! This means that all 17 members of the household have vital roles to play in the daily functioning of the house. We divide all necessary tasks up into an organized labor system to ensure that the house runs as smoothly as possible.

As a member of our cooperative, you will perform 5 “lumps” of labor a week. A “lump” is a unit of labor that is roughly equivalent to one hour of work. When you move in, the Labor Czar will assign you labor based on what you would like to do. The Labor Czar will work with your schedule and try their best to give you labor that you’ll enjoy.

Labor positions include: washing dishes, cleaning the kitchen, cooking dinner, cleaning living rooms and bathrooms, performing house maintenance, cleaning the yard, etc. There are also elected positions, which include: Board Members, Membership Coordinator, Treasurer, Bookkeeper, Labor Coordinator, Kitchen Manager,Food Shopper, Grounds Coordinator, Maintenance Coordinator, Meeting Chair, Minutes Taker, and Social Cooridnator. Everyone is welcome to run for these positions, and they are a great opportunity to learn various skill sets. All labor roles are vital and we encourage everyone to participate by proposing and managing improvement projects for our organization.

When someone doesn’t show up for their labor, that’s known as a “no-show.” There is a public sheet posted in the house for people to write no-shows on. If I notice that Fred didn’t do the dishes last night, I can no-show him by writing it on the sheet. If he doesn’t have a good excuse for missing his labor, then he will be given a make-up labor. He has to communicate with the Labor Coordinator, Kitchen Manager, Grounds Coordinator, or Maintenance Coordinator to find a project that needs doing so he can work off the labor he owes. If he does not finish all of his make-up labor by a certain cut-off date, he will be fined $10 per lump of unfinished labor. If Fred continues to neglect his labor, he might eventually be evicted from the house. No-shows provide an incentive to everyone to get their labor done on time, which ensures that the house runs smoothly.

No. Unfortunately, due to numerous unavoidable problems, dogs are no longer allowed to live at Sasona (with the exception of service dogs).

Yes. However, you wouldn’t just split the cost of the room. $150 of rent goes toward non-rent-related items: utilities, internet, food, etc. So your roommate would also have to pay $150, on top of the price of the room. For example, if the room is $600/month, you would add $150 to that price, then divide it by two—each of you would pay $400/month.

The charge for each extra person in a room per month is as follows: for ages 0-6: $100; for ages 7-12: $150; for ages 13+: $200.

Yes, cats are allowed. However, in order to limit the flea problem and the effect on those with allergies, no more than five cats are allowed to live at Sasona at one time, and each member is not allowed to own more than 2 cats. Please inquire about whether we have reached our five-cat limit.

If you have allergies, please ask the membership coordinator if there are any rooms available in the pet-free side of the house.

All pets must be approved by the house. If you have a pet, you need to tell us at both of your meetings. It is not just you that will need to be accepted at the meeting—your pet will also need to be accepted, so you need to tell us about your pet so that it can be approved by the house. If your pet has any issues that might affect other people or pets in the house, or if you think your pet might have some difficulty in a house with 17 people, please let us know.

You must pay a $100 deposit for each pet you are bringing into the house. $50 is non-refundable. The pet owner is also responsible for any damage done to carpet, rugs, walls, furniture, smell, etc., above and beyond what is normally expected to put the room back into its pre-pet condition. This means a pet owner can be charged additional costs if needed. No tigers allowed.

There is one side of the house, consisting of the kitchen, dining room, TV room, and the 8 adjacent rooms to the right of the front entrance door, where cats are not allowed.

No. No guns are allowed on the property.

No smoking is allowed in the house, not even in your room. You can smoke at the art shed though. Don't litter with your butts, there is an ash tray available.

No. We do not supply anything. But we might have some various mattresses and pieces of furniture floating around that you might be able to help yourself to. The living rooms are furnished with couches etc.

Yes!

Sasona only buys and serves vegetarian food. However, in the spirit of inclusion, the members are welcome to use the kitchen for their own personal food, including meat. The reason that the house is vegetarian is largely due to the economics of eating cheaper better foods, and the ease of keeping a vegetarian kitchen sanitary. Traditionally, the majority of the house has been omnivores, with vegetarians being in the minority.

When members cook meat in the kitchen, they should respect the vegetarian nature of the house. This should be done by completely sanitizing all used cooking and preparation surfaces, by not cooking meat at times that the house's vegetarian meals are being prepared, and by running the ventilation system in the kitchen at all times that meat is being privately prepared.

Email us at info@sasona.org and let us know a little bit about yourself and why you're interested in Sasona. Then stop by for dinner on a Sunday. To be accepted for membership, you must attend 2 meetings, which occur after dinner on Sunday.

The meeting will be your opportunity to learn more about the house in order to determine whether you will be happy living or being an associate at Sasona. You can stick around for the whole meeting, but you’re welcome to leave at any time. This may give you a better idea of how house governance works and how meetings are conducted, what kind of topics we discuss, etc.

Sasona follows the cooperative principle of Open Membership. We strive to create an open and diverse community in which all people and lifestyles are accepted and valued.

In order to be accepted as a potential member, prospective members must attend two meetings. Former members must also attend two meetings and go through the acceptance process again. If you are living out of state or if there is some reason that you cannot attend the meetings in person, you can attend via crackly speakerphone or Skype/Face Time. If you work every Sunday night, you can make arrangements with the Membership Coordinator to attend meetings on different nights – we just request that you give us 3 days advance notice.

At the first meeting, the meeting chair will ask:

At the second meeting, all non-members will be asked to leave the room, and the Meeting Chair will ask, “Does anyone have any firsthand knowledge of why this prospective member could be evicted from the house (including for non-payment of rent, abusive behavior, disrupting the right of quiet enjoyment, instilling fear in others, and any other evictable behavior)?” If no one does, then you will be accepted as a potential member.

If someone does have firsthand knowledge of why a prospective member could be evicted, then the meeting will discuss it and vote on whether the prospective should be accepted as a member. According to the House Rules, prospective members “must receive a 90% majority vote at a house meeting to be accepted.” So, if someone states that they have firsthand knowledge of why a prospective would be evicted, 90% of the people voting would have to accept the prospective in order for them to be accepted as a potential member. If they are not accepted, they cannot sign a contract, and they cannot become a member.

People who are accepted as members will be put on the Prospective Members Waiting List. When a room is available, all of the members of the house (who can switch rooms if they want) and all people on the waiting list will be alerted. If several people are interested in a room, and they are able to move in when the room is available and pay the deposit right away, then who gets the room will be determined based on several factors, such as who attended their second meeting first.

Who is higher on the waiting list is important, but the most important factors determining whether you get a room are the flexibility of your living situation (whether you can move in as soon as a room is open), whether you can pay the deposit right away, and whether you check your email regularly to receive the updates about room openings.

Meetings are generally held on Sunday nights around 7:30pm. Please show up at 7pm and have dinner with us. That will give you a chance to meet some people, take a tour of the house, and ask some questions about the house before the meeting starts. Dinner will be your chance to ask questions, then during the meeting you’ll have a chance to watch house governance in action. You’re welcome to stay for the whole meeting, but it’s not required.

It’s best to contact the Membership Coordinator beforehand to let them know you are planning on attending the meeting. But if you show up out of the blue, that’s works too. Just let yourself in the front door and let people know you’re here to check out the house—we’ll be expecting visitors. You can ask if the membership coordinator is around to give you a tour, or whoever you meet can give you a tour (unless they’re busy cooking dinner).

facebook page