Mission

A Home In Community's mission is to increase awareness among cohousing communities and people living with physical disabilities about the mutual benefits of living in community together, and to provide information and support to make that happen. In addition, we encourage new communities to consider accessibility and visitability issues in their early planning. Our vision is that:

  • All adults, whether physically disabled or not, will have the option of living in cohousing communities. This includes both physical and financial accessibility.
  • All communities will consider accessibility, visitability, and aging in place early in their design.
  • Communities-in-formation will have easy access to the information and support they need to achieve those goals.

Cohousing can provide the antidote for the isolation that often accompanies disabilities. As our current renter, Mike Volpe, says:

For the first time since I was diagnosed with MS thirty years ago, I’m living in a place where I know all of my neighbors care about me, and I care about them. I can be with people whenever I want, simply by going out my front door or down the path to the Common House, where I can enjoy community dinners, music and conversation. The interaction with the children of the community adds an unexpected joy.


Structure

A Home in Community is an Oregon nonprofit organization. Our Board of Directors is responsible for day-to-day operations, and our Stewardship Council oversees Board decisions and activities. All members of the Board and Stewardship Council are volunteers. Minutes from all Board and Stewardship Council meetings are available to the public upon request, along with our bylaws and all financial reports.

Board of Directors

Dennis Clark, ABD and MS

Dennis is a retired community college instructor and private business owner. He worked full time for Lane Community College, in Eugene, for 23 year and presently teaches computer classes to workers in job transition part-time. He owns and operates Job Seekers Edge, coaching job applicants and career shifters. Dennis has experience statewide in adult education and has presented at many conferences locally and nationally. In 2007 he was recognized as Adult Basic Skills leader of the year, for Oregon; an award presented to him by the governor at the state capitol. Dennis and his wife moved to Corvallis to become more active in creating communities that work better for individuals and like minded groups.

Jodi Coleman

Thus far in her life, Jodi has enjoyed a career in the field of education. After spending 10 years as an elementary teacher, she became a stay-at-home mom with her two daughters. Now that her girls are in elementary school, Jodi participates in a wide variety of volunteer activities and is dabbling in teaching at the community college level. Jodi and her husband moved to Coho just after it was built and have loved raising their girls in such a closeknit, supportive, and inspirational community.

Rob Dietz, MS

Rob is currently the director of the Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting a healthy and stable economy in the United States. Prior to that, he worked with federal agencies and private companies to conserve wildlife and solve environmental problems. Rob and his family are dedicated to building a sustainable way of life, an idea exemplified by cohousing and A Home in Community.

Colleen Dyrud

Colleen is a former primary teacher who has spent the last 20 years providing technical assistance and support to afterschool programs for elementary kids here in Oregon. During that time, she collaborated with the State Library to create a literacy curriculum for afterschool staff. She was also involved with the establishment of Opening Doors, an initiative to support the inclusion of children and youth with disabilities in their community afterschool and recreational programs and activities. Colleen has recently returned home to Corvallis after many years in Portland, and is looking forward to the next fun adventure life has to offer.

Jessica Groom, M.Ed.

Jessica Groom has been employed as a teacher, a reading specialist, and a home therapist for children with autism. While teaching at the Columbus Jewish Day School, she served as the Resource Specialist, as well as the Coordinator of Community Services. She served on the board of the International Dyslexia Association - San Diego Branch from 2004-2007.

Janelle Lohr

Janelle graduated from Claremont McKenna College with a BA in mathematics. She is currently pursuing a career as a novelist while raising her family. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and active in the Portland Chapter. She belongs to the Lincoln Elementary PTO where she volunteers regularly and was co-chair of the Love of Learning Annual Fundraiser for Philomath Montessori School in 2012 and 2013.

Debby Vajda, LCSW

Debby Vajda has been a practicing clinical social worker for 30 years. For half of that time, she worked in non-profit counseling agencies, with the remainder being spent in private practice. She is a previous board member of her local chapter of the American Society for Psychoprophylaxis in Obstetrics and is currently the President for the Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology. She is also the developer of the Energy Therapy Network of the Mid-Atlantic States. She and her husband moved from Maryland to Oregon to join the community of CoHo Ecovillage.


Stewardship Council

Juva DuBoise, MS LPC

Juva has had her own successful counseling practice for thirty years. She has also worked as a Medical Social Worker in hospitals and nursing homes, as well as supervising nursing home Social Workers. Juva was the lead Mental Health Worker in the Lane County Red Cross Chapter during the Thurston School shootings, providing leadership and expanding the mental health role during that difficult time. She has led trainings for other mental health workers up and down the west coast. She has introduced Compassionate Communication techniques to CoHo and helped members know and use these skills. Her leadership and facilitation skills have been honed over the last six years, during the creation and development of CoHo Ecovillage in Corvallis, Oregon

Peter Erskine

During the years 1989 through 1992, Peter Erskine created a new interactive Solar Spectrum Environmental Art medium called Secrets of the Sun: Millennial Meditations (SOS). Since 1992, Erskine has exhibited his Solar Environmental Art in international installations including the ancient Roman Forum, the Rome, Milan and Florence railway stations, Berlin's 2000 Olympic Festival, and Los Angeles' historic Union Station. SOS has received broad coverage in the world media including seven magazine cover stories in four languages, over 150 articles in magazines and newspapers, and six global satellite TV broadcasts. TV and radio stories featuring Erskine's Solar Spectrum Environmental Art have been broadcast in over 150 countries. Peter is currently creating permanent Solar Spectrum Environmental Art commissions for a new Los Angeles Police Department Headquarters, and the public libraries in the California cities of Lafayette and Fontana.

Peter moved to Coho Ecovillage to enjoy the intergenerational social connections and friendships created by living together in a small voluntary community. He enjoys living in a village with folks who share so many of his values and interests.

Bruce Hecht

After working for Hewlett Packard for nineteen years, I currently do volunteer work for the Corvallis Environmental Center, coordinate the Corvallis Chapter of The Oregon Natural Step Network (an organization promoting sustainability for businesses and organizations) and co-coordinate the work of the Corvallis Chapter of the Northwest Earth Institute. I helped to found CoHo because it is a more sustainable living solution for our planet and because I feel living in community is something that will make my life whole.

Judy Hecht

After a career in advertising, working at San Diego Magazine, the San Diego Union Tribune, and the Albany Democrat Herald, Judy decided to begin her new career as a parent. She began to pursue her interest in food security by working at the local soup kitchen and serving on their board. Judy began and now runs the South Corvallis Food Bank which distributes food to those in need.

After a spending a summer traveling with her family and visiting cohousing projects and ecovillages, she became excited about it and, with her husband Bruce, started CoHo EcoVillage.

Ron Karpf, Ph.D.

Ron Karpf has worked for almost 40 years as a statistician and researcher primarily designing and building medical information computer systems. Before moving to Corvallis he was a partner in ADDIS Incorporated, a small company that ran the data center for the National Cancer Institute’s drug discovery program, and also for the U.S. Army’s infectious disease drug discovery program. He recently moved to Corvallis, Oregon with his wife to live in CoHo Ecovillage.

Karen Schulz

Karen is very pleased to be on the “AHIC” Stewardship Committee. She has been in the banking industry for 28 years. For the past 15 years she has worked at the OSU Federal Credit Union, where she can be found in the Business Services department. Karen lives in the Wren area with her husband Marty and their cat, Ziggy. She has two grown children, and soon will be a grandmother. Getting to know several people involved with “A Home in Community” has been very rewarding.

Mike Volpe

I was born north of Chicago and left my hometown after high school to pursue a college degree in Minnesota. After earning a degree in forestry, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a day after receiving my degree. I attempted to follow a career path in urban forestry, however the progression of my MS encouraged me to try several different jobs in a fairly short amount of time. I eventually came to the conclusion that living in Minnesota with extremes in temperature was not a good place for me to live and participate in my community.

I moved to Oregon in 1985 and earned a degree in teaching English as a second language. I worked in the field for several years until the degree of my MS encouraged me to try a different area of interest. I chose to advocate for people with disabilities, first at the county level in a local disability advisory services council. After gaining experience, I joined several statewide advocacy groups.


History

In 2007, a small group of people in Corvallis, Oregon joined together to create A Home In Community, a nonprofit organization with the original goal of:

  • Educating communities and people with disabilities about the mutual benefits of living in community together.
  • Providing support and assistance to help make a truly inclusive community.
During our first few years, AHIC raised funds to purchase an ADA-accessible condominium unit at CoHo Ecovillage in Corvallis. AHIC continues to maintain this unit as an affordable rental for a person with both a physical disability and a limited income. More recently our mission has expanded to include educating communities about the importance of considering visitability and aging in place during their design phase. We have conducted public presentations, written articles, and provided information directly to cohousing communities and communities in formation. Please contact us if you or your community is interested in talking to one of our volunteers.

AHIC In the News

Read about AHIC in the Corvallis Gazette-Times and in Communities Magazine


Contact Us

Please contact us with questions or feedback. Volunteers typically respond to all inquiries within 48 hours. info@AHomeinCommunity.org.

(541) 602-6388
A Home In Community
PO Box 1733
Corvallis Oregon 97339



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