The first time I spoke to Lincoln Cummings, one of the founders of the Community Associations Institute, I asked him; “Why homeowner associations”? I was surprised when he said because young professionals often left family and friends behind to pursue careers out of state where they found themselves alone and without the support they had at home. He thought HOAs would provide a sense of community for an otherwise largely transient society. There is nothing sinister about what he wanted however the “instant community” that was intended to provide that safety net came loaded with unintended consequences.
Far from what we typically think of when we think of communities, over the years HOAs have morphed into what can best be described as war zones where pettiness, fear and adversity rule. You need go no further than Auburn, California for an example of what I mean. Not far from Lake of the Pines Homeowner Association is Beale Air Force Base where our young military families live. They are far from home, away from their families and in need of that safety net Lincoln talked about. One man found a way to support them, one man helped them furnish their homes and when the US government refused to do the job they were elected to do and closed the commissaries instead of passing a budget, these young families were left without food. Again, one man helped feed them.
On the Commons this week we are joined by Dennis Kocher. Dennis is a Vietnam era vet who understands the hardships often endured by young military families. Dennis found a need – and filled it. For over the last decade, he used his passion and skills for furniture building to furnish the homes of these young military families on base, making their lives just a little more comfortable and their immediate surroundings a little more beautiful. As Robert Baden-Powel said; “The most worth-while thing is to try to put happiness into the lives of others.” I think Dennis would agree with that. However, as we all know, no good deed goes unpunished and now Dennis finds himself in the cross hairs of some of the people in power in his HOA. Please join us, we’ll talk to Dennis, find out why trying to bring a little joy and happiness into the lives of the young folks in his community would cause such heart burn in his HOA.