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Finding community through cohousing

Cohousing is an intentional, community form of living where residents share resources and support one another.

DENVER — More than ever, people are searching for community after a year where the pandemic left so many feeling isolated – some have turned to cohousing as an opportunity to form new connections, find support and pool resources with one another. 

Aria Cohousing near 52nd Avenue and Federal Boulevard is a 28-unit development. People of all ages live communally with one another, however each resident owns their own condo. They co-op resources like compost or co-op bills to make costs more affordable. 

"We just intentionally keep each other in mind as we live our lives, and we help support each other when we are in times of need," said Alyssa Wooten,  who has lived in the building for the past four years. "If we need something, we can always reach out to the community and everyone reaches out to help, if something ever comes up." 

The community prioritizes communal decision making about the direction of the community, so they are intentional about the process of hearing everyone out. 

"Though it takes a little bit longer during that decision making process, it really embraces everyone’s opinion and makes sure that our voice is all heard – that we are able to be represented in our community," said Wooten. 

Residents typically meet up once a week for community meals or happy hours. For many residents, this can be their family. 

"Cohousing is really good for someone like me. I am single, and I was an only child, so I have no siblings, no nieces or nephews, no children of my own. This is my family," said Vicki Rottman, who moved in when the community was started in 2017. 

The community kept residents from feeling isolated during the pandemic. 

"This past year with COVID, it was a godsend," said Rottman. "I just can’t imagine living in a single family home by myself during that period. It was very worthwhile." 

Others are looking for a similar relief and change of lifestyle. Five units recently sold in the building, leading some to believe there may be a growing interest in the lifestyle. 

"There is a lot more interest now or there seems to be, but I think with COVID, a lot of people are making life changes," said Rottman. 

There are still units available at the cohousing development. Of the 28 units in the building, nine are considered affordable housing to attract people of different income levels. The rest are sold at market-rate.