Senior Nursing Housing Cooperative (International)

Category: Public Health

Community Members: Institute for Political Ecology

Type of grant: Renew [ 20.000 € ]

Year: 2020

1. Who they are

Formally, Institute for Political Ecology is this proposal’s main applicant and Institutional interface.
However, overall effort and project idea are results of the organic interaction of many individuals and
groups in past years, many of them FA members both from the Balkans and other parts of Europe, that were on the margins of Green Academy summer school collectively envisioning novel living eco-systems focused on care, solidarity and ecological sustainability. These groups represented as ad-hoc collectives are linked to the practices of commoning, struggles for the commons, with work in the field of right to housing, public health, solidarity and care. Behind this proposal, there are many individuals from a variety of ecological and social justice movements and groups who have a common interest to support this proposal as a pragmatic hands-on approach that integrates many of the values but also offers a very unique project.

2. What they did

The whole initiative originated from the collective vision of a solid number of individuals that have been visiting Croatian island of Vis for the last two decades, for private or professional reasons (conferences, summer schools). This organically formed, fluid and heterogenous group converged around the idea to move to the island and at one point started to look for real estates, publicly owned or private, in which the community could reside, have activities and ultimately – live. 

With time this idea evolved into the idea of establishing a senior nursing house at Vis island that would be established to ensure happy and healthy aging for all members of this informal collective. Then it developed further into the idea of developing of whole community housing project based on creating an integral eco-system that would connect housing, care and aging issues with ecological sustainability, food self-provisioning, culture, arts and crafts.  

As a collective they developed 9 working groups that were working with different rhythms and intensity but were organized in order to support preparation for cooperative establishment.

As a part of the learning process, they organized 4 online webinars (3 webinars on a topic of research on type of cooperatives with 3 cooperatives from Austria, Belgium and the Netherlands, 1 webinar on the topic of financing community housing projects and one study visit in the Netherlands); they composed a survey and organized a series of interviews with 10 people from the local community where we learned from the first hand what are the needs of the local society, obstacles needed to be overcome and advantages and disadvantages of life on the island; the group for location searching has found a few interesting places, has visited them, informed the collective and was communicating with the owners about the possibilities. At the end of September 2021, a 4-day workshop was organized for the local community and members of the collective, useful to discuss the perspective towards the nursing house project and related topics and for building up the vision board and discussing the next steps in the timeline of future events and become ready to establish our cooperative.

3. Why is this relevant to the FundAction community?

During the implementation of our project FundAction community was particularly relevant as some of its members were involved in some working groups. Also, FundAction community members were engaged as resource persons in the learning part of our project. The development of our cooperative and the project as a whole can be surely a solid case study for any future efforts to build new ecosystems based on ecological sustainability, care and affordable housing principles.