The Charles River Episcopal Co-housing Endeavor
CRECHE (the Charles River Episcopal Co-Housing Endeavor) is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that creates and supports a network of mixed-income, inter-generational co-housing communities in partnership with The Episcopal Church
is to create a community-focused alternative to the for-profit housing market that is rooted in relationship and mutuality: co-housing communities in which people live like families, sharing meals, common spaces, and the rhythms of home care.
Now in our third year of operation, we operate three such community homes—a five-bedroom house in Newton Centre, a six-bedroom house in a former church building in Allston, and a four-bedroom house in North Cambridge. Rooms in all of our communities are rented significantly below market rate, yet are still income-producing, allowing us to build toward opening future community houses.
Why? Because soaring rents and plummeting owner-occupancy rates have made Boston an increasingly hostile market for low and middle-income households; rent is increasing at nearly twice the rate of wages. Further, the increasing cost of purchasing a home has resulted in a 11.7% decline in home sales over the last decade.
Together, these trends make it difficult for Bostonians to live in the communities they love. The prevalence of short-term leases (particularly for students) have priced working families out of many areas, encouraged resident turnover and neighborhood instability, and accelerated gentrification. Today’s Boston housing market alienates people from their communities and stunts the development of long-lasting relationships vital to our well-being.
CRECHE was founded in cooperation with four Episcopal churches with a desire to use the resources of The Episcopal Church to confront these housing needs head on. We do this not only by acquiring and renovating property but also by supporting the household communities directly and equipping them with the tools they need to live healthily with one another, including trainings in communication and conflict resolution. We have a long-term commitment to each household, partnering with them as they develop their own identity, grow in their capacity for self-governance, and cultivate a positive presence in their local neighborhoods.