Difference between revisions of "Masala Membership Manual"

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cast, under the stairs; Remind Masalans that we have a Lost-And-Found, and that Under The Stairs
cast, under the stairs; Remind Masalans that we have a Lost-And-Found, and that Under The Stairs
serves a different purpose.
serves a different purpose.
== Meetings ==
Mandatory meetings are held after dinner on Wednesdays! They last 2 hours.
Meeting: All co-opers must attend house meetings, which are held once a week. We ask you not
to be significantly late or leave too early. As we always say, consensus is a present process, so if
you’re not there, we can’t involve you in choices & decisions.
Meetings are a time to check in with your fellow housemates, share information and make
decisions about the house. The Masala Co-op is a fully democratic system and everyone’s vote
has equal weight. All house rules, policies and commitments are agreed on by consensus –
this means majority does NOT rule. Instead, we strive to find creative solutions that work for
Facilitation, note-taking & vibes watching rotate voluntarily each week.
Order of Meeting: Co-ops and Communities (Anything cool goin’ on around town?)
Reports (On stewardships & chores)
Agenda Items (What’s happenin’ with the house? What do we need to discuss & reach
agreement upon?)
Heart Song (How ya feelin’?) (See page 17!)
Facilitator Feedback (How’d s/he do tonight?)
Quorum: Equal to half the members residing in the house (round up if unequal number) is
required for any decisions to be made at a meeting. All proposals must be agreed upon by
Note the 2 important parts of meeting: house business, and Heart Song which offers a focus on emotional connection and support. This is a safe space for personal growth and also a great way to get to know your housemates better. It can be a lot of fun, too. (See page 35 if you need a full description of Heart Song.)
=== Meeting Agendas ===
Agenda Items must be titled and listed on the agenda clip board, located in the phone nook, with
length of time the discussion should take, level of priority & name of cooper.
Facilitator, at the beginning of meeting, review the agenda before starting with the 1st item.
At the end of meeting, make sure your note-taker notes which items we didn’t get to.
Masalans, questions to ask yourselves before you put something on the agenda:
Is this something I could bring up informally outside of meeting, to get a feel for what
others think of it?
Is this a discussion that deserves a handout or visual aid? If so, am I prepared with those
Could this be delegated to a committee, or do we all need to hash out the details together?
How to Determine Priority Level:
5 – This is time-sensitive and must be discussed tonight, or else we’ll have to get consensus
outside of meeting.
4 – We really need to talk about this as a group. If we don’t talk about it soon, there will be
3 – I’d like to talk about this tonight. It’s very important to me. I have already spoken with
people about it outside of meeting.
2 – I want to talk about this if there’s time. I don’t know how important others will think it is.
1 –This is something fun or silly we should squeeze in if we’re getting restless or irritable.
=== Voting ===
How to Vote
Thumb up = I approve
Thumb sideways = I would like more discussion
Hand flat/palm down = I abstain because I don’t care or I’m uninformed
Thumb down = I block
Blocks must be vocalized!!!
Things that must be approved by consensus:
Any guest staying more than three nights
House parties or potlucks
Any document that claims to represent the house as a whole
Changes to house stewardships, rules, policies or budget
Any house purchase over $25
=== Consensus ===
All house decisions must be approved at a house meeting by consensus of the house members. If a member blocks the proposal is revised. The decision will be tabled until the next meeting, or for 24 hours if it is an emergency decision. Upon this time's expiration, the house will reconvene and attempt again to reach consensus. On the third try, if consensus is still not achieved, a 2/3 majority can approve the proposal. This is rare and only happens with issues of dire importance. Ex: if the house had termites and we couldn’t get consensus on a removal procedure.
Why do we use consensus? Consensus is intended to be an equal, fair, non-hierarchical decision making process. By using it instead of yay-versus-nay, we activate our abilities & skills to build a better, more just world!
How does it work? Consensus works by hearing all participants’ voices & by all participants coming to an agreement collectively about what is best for the group. All decisions made must be ones that everyone in the group can live with; as nice as it would be, it would be impossible for all individuals in communities/groups to be ecstatically happy with all decisions at all times. So this means . . .
1) the minority voice(s) is (are) never silenced.
2) if a minority member of a community/group finds s/he cannot live with the proposal everyone else likes, s/he may block it. If someone blocks a proposal, then the group must choose a different course of action, come to some sort of compromise proposal OR, in the worst case scenario, the blocking individual leaves the group if the community is no longer the place for her or him. This is why we must use our blocks very carefully and with lots of thought!
Consensus can be a time-consuming process, so here are some hand signals & things that help make the process at Masala meetings smoother & quicker:
Twinkling—really this is applause in sign language, used to indicate consensus as well as to show agreement when someone else is talking—this way the group can avoid saying the same things over & over. (Ask someone to demonstrate.)
“T”—for a technical point that needs to be said to clarify what a speaker just said.
Triangle with your hands—Process Point: anyone in the meeting can support the facilitator by suggesting a process to help the group move forward or stay on track.
Direct Responses—After someone has spoken, if someone else wants to respond directly to that speaker but they are not on stack, they can ask, “Can I direct respond?” The speaker can say yes or no. But you can’t respond to a direct response! This prevents dialogue between two people from occurring and keeps the group on stack so everyone will have their opportunity to speak.
=== Tips for Meeting Facilitation ===
* Keep a [[Stack]] -- when discussing an issue, jot down an ordered list of people waiting to speak so no one dominates or gets ignored or loses circulation in their arm.
* Draw conversation back to the subject at hand and note repeating ideas.
* Don’t abuse your ability to self-acknowledge as speaker.
* Stay neutral. If you are involved in the debate, hand facilitation off to someone uninvolved.
* Please also read the [[Masala facilitation manual]]! Consensus and facilitation are civic skills; they need to be learned.  With practice, we all get better and better so don’t be worried if this is new to you — you’ll catch on!
* Many things can be resolved outside of meetings by just asking/talking to housemates
[[Consensus Flow Chart]]
==== Structure for Talking about Proposals ====
* Report/Assessment of Situation/Definition of Problem
* Proposal to alleviate the problem at hand
* Clarifying Questions (which are addressed to the person making the proposal)
* Discussion of Proposal
* Facilitator Asks for Any Reservations
NO = test for consensus
YES = continue process
Facilitator asks for clarifying questions about reservations
Discussion of reservations
-Possible friendly amendments (proposer must accept or reject)
-OR withdrawal of proposal
Test for Consensus
If no consensus, then the proposal does not pass
=== Heart Song ===
Masala got the Heart Song idea from Chrysalis folks. Other co-opers do it too: “Heart Club” at Lama Foundation in Northern New Mexico is like our Heart Song. Scott Thomas, writing in Communities Magazine, says "It's an opportunity to truly investigate who we are and allow others to see sides of us they don't see at work, play or mealtime."
This process -- which we try to incorporate into the beginning or end (usually end) of every house meeting -- allows folks in the circle to get into the heart space, and get to know each other better as family. Scott says co-op living is a little like a group marriage in which all are committed to the emotional needs of the circle. Heart Song helps to fortify this commitment to the commons.
Please no laundry lists of “I did this, I’m about to do that, this happened yesterday,” unless these events in your life are significant and they relate to who you are & how you’re feeling. It is up to each co-oper how deeply or how much to share, but the goal is to share in a way that allows people to connect to you intimately, whether you have positive or troubling things going on in your heart. Hopefully this will come to feel like a safe place to tell us what you’re working on, what you’re proud of, after all, this is your home.
== Food ==
Here at Masala we’ve found that a well-fed co-oper is a happy co-oper! If there’s something
you like to eat that we don’t currently buy, you can request that we buy it in bulk if the majority
of co-opers will also eat it. Or, put it on the food shop list by writing your request on the
communication board, though budget restrictions may apply. House food can be used for daily
breakfast, lunch & snacks; Mon-Thurs dinner and Sunday brunch are communal. If dietary
restrictions or time conflicts prevent you from eating a house meal, please try not to cook your
own food while the house meal is being prepared. Cook & clean up after yourself BEFORE the
cooks begin, or after they finish. IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO CLEAN UP AFTER
YOU COOK FOR YOURSELF! The dinner cleaning crew should only have to clean up the
dinner mess. If you find someone else’s mess in the kitchen, go ahead and clean it. Though we
may forget to say it, the whole house thanks you. This includes emptying the dishwasher/drying
You are encouraged to cook desserts, breads, staple food items like rice or beans, hummus, and
other treats for the house occasionally. Any expenditures for house treats can be reimbursed if
you submit the receipt in the food tray with your name on it, but please keep our limited budget
in mind.
If you have personal food, be sure to put it in the Left Fridge & put your name on it or risk it
disappearing into the tummy of some hungry Masalan. This may be impossible with frozen food.
Try putting it in a paper bag & name the paper bag.
Housemates have agreed on the following food commitments & premises:
=== Food Commitments ===
Full 100% commitment to organic produce, and mostly organic other foods. Food
purchasers have discretion over cost-effective, non-organic purchasing, but this should occur
very rarely.
We will not discriminate against anyone who wishes to eat cheap non-organic food that is not
communal food, that they buy on their own.
We honor dietary restrictions & food allergies — just tell us what your needs are!
House will provide, from the communal food budget, enough food for 3 reasonable meals,
every day, for every housemate.
House is committed to buying food at Vitamin Cottage or the farmers market, for weekly
food shop, and we buy bulk from UNFI & produce from our local farm in summer. We trust
the food buyers to focus on cost effectiveness.
No meat or fish with house $ or in house meals, though individuals can be as carnivorous as
they want! If you do prepare meat in the house, do not use cast iron pans or woks.
Other agreements regarding meat-eating at Masala: please remember to not use cast irons and woks for
preparation of meat. remember to thoroughly wash utensils and dishes that come into contact with meat. Consider
using a diluted clorox solution for sanitation. Please turn on the overhead fan when cooking meat to reduce the
smell. Avoid using wooden cutting boards and utensils (use plastic cutting board) and the kitchen tabletop.
House has made a commitment to keep purchasing CSA veggies, with a contingent
commitment to fully utilize those veggies & not let them rot in the kitchen. ( Poor Turnips! )
$155 is due each month for food!
=== Cooking for the House ===
There are typically 2 cooks for each meal, though you may have to go solo sometimes. Cooking
is voluntary, we sign up on the chore board every other meeting. You should be ready to begin
cooking an hour and a half before meal time, earlier if you’re cooking alone.
Check the Late Plate Board (which is the same as the chore board) to see who needs a plate
saved and if any guests are coming.
A good meal should include a protein dish and a grain dish, salads are great too. You don’t have
to be fancy; though fancy is nice sometimes, spaghetti or rice and beans are perfectly fine meals.
You can buy extras that are not normally purchased for your meal with the $5 per meal budget.
We Love Leftovers! Too much food is a good thing, too little is bad, if unsure how much to
cook, over do it.
fellow cook in a difficult situation and lets the whole house down, don’t do it!
Signing up to eat dinner, and Late Plates
IF you will be LATE to dinner and still want to enjoy the fab nosh, you can reserve a late plate!
The Late Plate Board where you write when you will/will not be here for meals is the same board
where we sign up for chores.
If you are bringing a guest or a few guests, mark +1, +2, etc . . .
IF you are COOKING: look at the late plate board and make plates for anyone who requested a
IF you are CLEANING: label and cover late plates and put them in the fridge … thanks!
Food Fivers
There is $5 per meal allotted for extra food ($25 per week) ... if no one else spent money, the
amount is cumulative. Check the food budget posted in the phone nook, people! Write amount
spent on Food Fiver list next to phone nook or you will not be reimbursed! Submit receipts to
food payment box for reimbursement (Don’t forget to put your name on ‘em!)
If every member signs up to cook two times per week the system will run vewy vewy smoothly!
=== How to Clean the Kitchen ===
Store leftovers in Tupperware, Labeled with DATE and description; write if they are vegan
or gluten free
Wash dishes: Have a sink full of hot, sudsy water ready. Two or three can help — use a
washer & a rinser, & a dryer
Take care with pans & woks – See special care for Cast Iron on next page
Empty compost buckets and RINSE OUT buckets to avoid funk
Wipe down counter, stove and tables
Sweep Floor
You could also tidy the car port, hallway, living room, dining room if there are extra volunteers
on hand to clean up after meals!
Dishwashing, Granny’s Method
The most water efficient way to do a load of dishes:
Fill left sink w/ soapy water (use right side with disposal for pre-rinse on gunk)
Try to wash from cleanest to dirtiest to make water last (glasses, utensil, plates then the pots)
Suds up a bunch, then rinse all at once.
Knives: Do Not leave knives in the sink or in the drying rack pointed up. DANGER!!! Wash and
immediately place on magnetic knife rack on wall above stove!
Leftovers for all
Personal Food (with NAME)
Produce in bins that did not fit in Right Fridge
Things in left freezer are probably NOT house food. They should be labeled or stored in
a bag that is labeled.
House Food
Condiments & salad dressing, cheese, eggs from bulk, yogurt & more
Sprouted Bread needs to be refrigerated!
No need to refrigerate chicken eggs
Butter Dish The butter dish should NEVER be in the fridge, this defeats the purpose of a butter
dish. If you use the last of the butter, clean the dish to prevent rancid butter remains & replace
butter stick. If you use the last stick in the fridge, take some out of the freezer & put in fridge.
Cast Iron Care
NEVER leave cast iron wet in sink
Do Not use soap on cast iron: EVER!!!
Do use plastic bristle brush or scrub pad and water to remove any crusty gunk or residue (salt is a
good abrasive too)
When frying eggs just wipe out any residue
Do dry pan over flame
Do coat pan with a little oil (if it drips it’s too much)
• If the skillet has lost its black protective coating, or food sticks badly to the surface, it needs to
be cured again.
How to Cure Cast Iron:
Put the pan in the oven to warm it.
Remove it and apply shortening.
Put it in the oven at 225 degrees for half an hour.
Remove it and wipe it almost dry. You don't want any pooling of the shortening.
Place it back in the oven for another half hour
PLEASE, Do not leave half eaten fruit in the fruit bowls!
=== Food Shopping ===
The Food Shop Budget is $120 a week: $80 on Saturday/$40 on Wednesday. (This varies
from summer, to not-summer. Check the house food budget, which is posted in the phone
We do two food shops a week: one on Wednesday and one on Saturday.
The Saturday shop is about twice the size of the Wednesday shop.
The amount we budget for these shops varies with the seasons.
In general, when we are getting produce from our CSA, the Flatirons Neighborhood Farm,
we budget less for food shops. See the annual food budget to see how it changes
throughout the year.
The food budget tells the food shoppers how much they are allowed to spend. Food shoppers must
put receipts in the proper place, so food accountant can balance our budget.
Everyone please bring things up from the basement that need to be brought up (i.e. if we are out of
paper towel rolls in the laundry room, but we have more in the basement) and bring things down
to the basement that need to be brought down (i.e. extra jars of lemon juice that we might not
have room for in the pantry). Re-fill bulk food containers in the kitchen from bulk bags in the
Always consult the basement & do a thorough search on all kitchen shelves before asking bulk food
steward to order more or something like grains, spices or teas.
Stay in contact with the bulk food steward — if we run out of something & you used the last of it,
note that on the clipboard so bulk steward will order it.
It’s OK to return food at check out if the purchase is going way over budget
Food Shop should be done on WED and on SATURDAY
We shop @ Vitamin Cottage b/c they take our checks
Sign up for Food Shop on the cook/clean dry erase board
If everyone does their part, we will have balance, happiness & a clean & lovely home!
=== Recycling ===
We do single stream recycling. That means we toss recyclable glass bottles & jars, plastic drinking bottles, aluminum cans, clean/washed-off sheets of aluminum foil, empty milk jugs, paper, junk mail, cardboard, etc etc etc — all together in the same bin. The city collects our recycling on Thursday mornings, so our Recycling Steward should keep an eye on the bin in the kitchen by the back door & take it out frequently, especially before Thursday morning.
Boulder also features a few facilities like [EcoCycle] and the [Center for Hard-to-Recycle Materials] (CHARM). We usually keep a bag of items we are collecting for a run to CHARM, either near the back door or in the rainbow closet in the first floor hallway by the stairs. This is where batteries and electronics can be stored until the next run to EcoCycle.
=== Compost ===
It might seem at first like it’s difficult or confusing to throw things away at Masala! Don’t worry -- you’ll get the hang of it! We have 3 potential places for compostable materials:
# If your food or vegetable skins or stems would appeal to our chickens, please give them treats. A full list of what chickens do & do not like is posted on the wall near the back door. This info can also be found in the Encyclopedia of Country Living, on our dining room book shelf.
#  If it’s a fruit or vegetable or non-meat or cheese food, but the chickens wouldn’t dig it, put it in our compost that goes in the bin in our back yard.
# If it’s a large quantity of bread (such as the leftover baguettes on a Tuesday night, from the bread donation the week before) or if it’s wet or used paper towels, or even if it’s compost from one of the bathrooms such as tissue or cotton balls, these are all things the city will collect. They go to the alley.
== Common Space and Common Courtesies ==
=== Quiet Hours ===
Designated house quiet hours are 11pm - 8am.  However, it's always courtesy hours.  If someone asks you to be quiet because they have to get up at 6am, be considerate.
=== Lights ===
All lights should be turned '''OFF''' when not in use.
=== Computers ===
The house computer in the living room is for everyone. You can print from it. It also holds Masala records & house documents.  We also have a wireless house network.  If you need the password, or have any other computer issues, you should talk to the [[#Computer Steward|Computer Steward]] for the password.
=== Conflicts ===
Sometimes, in a house of a dozen or more people, issues/disagreements/conflicts may need mediation. Please begin by trying to work out your differences on your own. Then, if you need support, there are a few Conflict Resolution Point People to help. These people have been selected by the house and have conflict resolution training. Currently the Point People are '''Lincoln''' and '''Sabrina''' and '''Zac'''.
Violence is never an acceptable response and will not be tolerated in our community.
=== Guests ===
Your guests are welcome to stay for up to three nights without house approval, but if they're going to be staying in public space it's good to at least announce it at meeting ahead of time, so that we don't accidentally end up with six guests fighting for the same spot on the couch.
Please write your guest’s name on the house message board so we know who’s sleeping on our couch or in whatever bed. Longer stays must be approved at the house meeting. If they eat here at all, it costs $5 a day. They can put cash in the food in-box in the phone nook, give it to the [[#Food Accountant|Food Accountant]] directly, or you can pay their way if you feel more comfortable with that.
=== Laundry ===
Laundry detergent is a house item, located in the laundry room.
If it’s sunny and warm out, use the clothes line, not the dryer. This conserves our energy that we get from the sun (and also, Xcel)!
Always check the lint trap & note that lint can be composted in the alley.
Laundry is first-come first-serve. Weekends are high traffic times. When doing laundry please leave your basket so the next person in line can deposit your clothes into a clean receptacle. Remove your clothes from the laundry room promptly. If you’re next in line and there is no basket we have a house basket you can use so the person’s clean clothes don’t get tossed onto the dirty floor. There are full directions posted in the laundry room.
=== Lost and Found ===
Any items left in common rooms are placed in Lost and Found when it’s cleaning time.  Try to take responsibility for your belongings and keep them out of common space so that the cleaners don’t have to.
=== Message Board ===
The white board in the kitchen by the door is for house messages. They are often important and sometimes interesting. Use it and check it often, however, do not use it to passive-aggressively make complaints about individuals or behaviors in the house. Instead, communicate your complaints directly to the perpetrator(s), either one-on-one or in a house meeting.
=== Parking ===
Please look for street parking. We reserve the driveway for unloading and loading. Tell your significant others & visitors & house guests this rule, please.
=== Phone ===
Long distance & local calls are free from the house phone located in the phone nook. Our phone number is 303-443-8178. No international calls!
=== Rent and Food Payments ===
Rent and  food payments are due by the 5th of each month. To pay: in the phone nook are two trays, one labeled rent, the other food.  There are also two stamps, one for food, one for rent. '''Stamp''' the back of your check with the appropriate stamp and place it in the correct tray.  Yes, you must write two separate checks — they go into two different bank accounts.  If you’re going to have trouble paying by the due date, consult the [[#Debt and Payment Plan Policies|Debt and Payment Plan Policies]] in the [[#House Bylaws|House Bylaws]], below.
=== Submitting Receipts ===
Receipts for food purchases for the house, including food shop and food fivers, should be placed in the food tray in the phone nook. Any household supply receipts are placed in the rent tray, so the [[#House Accountant|House Accountant]] can keep track of our expenses or reimburse you.  You must write your name or identifying initials on the receipt, as well as a unique receipt number.  There are two clip-boards in the phone nook, one for food and one for non-food items which you buy for the house.  When you submit a receipt for reimbursement, you must fill in a line on the appropriate clipboard with your name or identifying initials, and details about the purchase, including the unique number you wrote on the receipt before you put it in the box, so that the house accountants can tell which receipts go with what purchases for budgeting purposes.
=== Smoking ===
Cigarettes may '''NOT''' be smoked in the house. Smoking in the carport or on balconies is fine but please place butts in an appropriate receptacle, never on the ground. All other smoke should be kept in your own room or outside.
=== Storage ===
Anything you can’t fit in your closet can go in the basement, in your designated storage space marked with your name. The rainbow Hall Closet is for tools and house items like reusable grocery bags & tape measures & light bulbs. The Furnace Closet should have NOTHING in it — it’s a fire hazard. The living room closet by the front door is for the vacuum cleaner. Blankets and pillows to be shared by all belong under the purple futon in the living room.
=== Supplies ===
Cost of household supplies is included in your utilities fee of $90 per month! Here’s where to find ‘em:
* Toilet Paper, Paper Towels, and cleaning supplies live in the '''laundry room'''.
* Trash Bags can be found in the '''Rainbow Closet''' in the 1st floor hallway near the Kitchen.
* Garden Supplies are stored in the '''Shed'''. Check with the [[#Garden Steward|Garden Steward]] to get the combination to the door.
=== Toilets ===
Our sewer system is persnickety, big time, especially the first floor which gets the most traffic. If it’s yellow, don’t let it mellow, since too much accumulated paper will clog it. If you take a dump, wait for the final gurgle to be sure it all goes down, otherwise the next person is left cleaning up your shit, literally. Plungers don’t cut it, use the snake. The snake is a long metal pole with a coiled knob at one end and a handle at the other. This can be found outside the main 1st floor bathroom window, if it’s not there ask around. To use, insert curved end into toilet drain. Once inserted turn and push and crank the handle so the knob snakes down the drain as far as it can go. Pull handle back up and rinse off the knob. Toilet should now be flushable. Clean up any overflow. Feel free to ask for a demo. Don’t be embarrassed — everybody poops.
=== Vacuum Cleaner ===
It’s kept in the closet near the front door, and should be returned there after use. There are vacuum bags in the same closet, replace as necessary.
== House Bylaws ==
== House Bylaws ==
Line 949: Line 492:
== House Rules ==
== House Rules ==
The [[Masala House Rules]] have their own page...
Clean up after yourself.
==== Guidelines for Creating Safe Space ====
Courtesy hours 24 hours/day.
=== Pets ===
There are no mammalian pets allowed in the house except in case of special approval by consensus. Any non-mammalian pets must be kept in a cage or tank at all times and must be in the owner’s room. Fish may be in public areas upon house approval.
=== Guest Policy ===
Members may have guests stay in the house for up to three (3) days without house approval.
If a member plans on having a guest for more than three (3) days, or if there is even a possibility that the guest may stay in the house for more than three (3) days, the house must approve the stay by consensus in advance.
It is the policy of Masala to welcome any guests affiliated with co-ops from other regions into the house for a reasonable amount of time and by house approval. The guest should contact the house prior to his/her arrival in order to allow the house to discuss and approve the stay in advance. If the guest arrives at the house unannounced and there are less than three (3) days remaining until the next house meeting, the guest may stay until the meeting contingent upon informal house approval, and then may stay longer if the house approves the stay. If there are more than three (3) days until the next meeting, the guest may not stay in the house until his/her stay is approved.
There shall be two intermediary house guest liaisons to be decided upon by the house, that will facilitate communication between the house and house guests in the event that a person or people in the house feel uncomfortable undertaking the communication themselves. These intermediaries shall be used only when other, more personal communication is impractical or undesirable.
No guests may be un-hosted.
=== Payment of Deposit by Installment ===
Upon acceptance and moving into the house, a new member is required to make a deposit of one month’s rent due to the house accountant. This deposit can be paid in installments of one third a month’s rent for three months if the new member cannot afford to pay two months’ rent upon his/her arrival into the house. It is preferred that new members pay their deposit in one payment if possible.
=== Non-Food Reimbursements ===
Members may purchase non-food items for the house that cost less than $25.00 without house approval and will be guaranteed reimbursement. More expensive purchases must be approved in advance at a house meeting, or reimbursement is not guaranteed.
Receipts must be submitted in order to receive a reimbursement.
=== Fines ===
The following people have been authorization under the house bylaws to fine house members:
[[#House Accountant|House Accountant]], [[#Food Accountant|Food Accountant]]
These people have the authority to fine house members for late rent or food payments.
The fine is five dollars per day after the 5th of the month.
=== Room Choosing Procedure ===
Every room change shall be approved by consensus of the house at a house meeting wherein any issues of contention over the room change shall be addressed.
No one shall be displaced from his/her room without his/her consent.
All members interested in the room (contestants) should deliberate before the meeting as well as speak with the [[#Conflict|Conflict]] Resolution Point People.
The following needs may be considered by the house.
# Physical
# Financial
# Emotional
# Professional
# Practical
Compatibility and good of the house may also be considered.
If no one has needs that are greater than another’s, the contestants will draw straws and it will be over.
=== No Television ===
Masala hereby decrees itself to be free of the mind-deadening influence of corporate programming on television within public areas, except for house movie-viewing, which is creative, delightful and creates community!
=== No Firearms ===
No firearms or explosives are permitted within the house.
== Guidelines for Getting Along ==
Lessons learned from past co-opers include:
* We avoid talking behind people's backs.
* We create a safe space for processing/connecting/growing personally and emotionally.
* When we get to know each other better, that’s better.
* We can develop a level of comfort dealing with conflict: conflict is natural.
* Problems will not fester/we will create space to bring up issues & resolve conflict.
=== Guidelines for Creating Safe Space ===
* Confidentiality: what happens at Masala stays at Masala
* Confidentiality: what happens at Masala stays at Masala
* No personal attacks; Avoid assuming that everyone else agrees with your perspective; instead, use "I" statements, instead of, "We all think that that you should..."
* No personal attacks; Avoid assuming that everyone else agrees with your perspective; instead, use "I" statements, instead of, "We all think that that you should..."

Revision as of 14:39, 6 June 2012

This page constitutes the Masala Membership Manual. These are the agreements which govern the house. The membership manual is incorporated by reference into the Masala Lease. All members agree to abide by these rules and processes when they sign the lease.

Core Values

We, the crazy cats at Masala, hereby aspire...

  • To create community, an oasis of respect, responsibility, and cooperation in the destructively hyper-competitive camel-eat-camel desert of "America,"
  • To discriminate only based on species: we welcome all kinds of humans into our community,
  • To make decisions by consensus so as to hear, honor and accommodate the wishes and views of all of our members,
  • To offer housing that is an island refuge of sane affordability amidst the vast, scary, shark-infested ocean that is Boulder’s feudalistic rental market,
  • To provide a shiny, shiny example of cooperative living and offer support and resources for other budding co-ops, relentlessly, until we turn the White House into a Co-op & its occupants into cooperating tree-huggers,
  • To collectively and consciously purchase and consume nutritious food grown in ecological stewardship of the Earth that sustains us,
  • To share meals, stories, dilemmas, triumphs, tragedies, dish washing duty and utility bills,
  • To nurture each others talents, gifts, and individuality!
  • To declare by our very existence our independence from the socio-cultural climate that alienates us from our essential interdependence upon each other and the Earth we call home. We are a testament to the abilities of human beings to thrive in peaceful cooperation, mutual respect, and as responsible stewards. We are evidence of the great potential that lies in our enormous power to co-create and shape our world.
  • To do it all with gratitude, grace, love and wit, and in ecstatic revelry in the divine mysteries of the universe. -- Mo’s Legacy

Basic Agreements

  • All members will receive equal treatment; there will be no hierarchy
  • We will work towards being a safe haven for diverse lifestyles, cultures, spiritualities and ideologies
  • All decisions will be reached through consensus
  • The good of the house as a whole will come before any one individual’s personal desires
  • We will strive to interact with an open heart and mind, to be aware and respectful of others’ emotional states and provide a safe space for heart-felt, caring dialogue
  • We will support organic and local farms whenever possible
  • We will promote the growth of the cooperative movement
  • We will encourage member involvement in the greater community
  • We will endeavor to minimize our environmental impact
  • We will strive to maintain a gender balance in the house
  • This is low-income housing and both rent and food costs shall reflect this


Main Articles: History of the Boulder Housing Coalition, History of the Masala Cooperative

Formation of the Boulder Housing Coalition

In 1995 Will Toor, then the director of the University of Colorado Environmental Center, tasked the then Co-op Coordinator Lincoln Miller with a mission to, “Create co-ops on campus and create co-ops off campus”. In order to create co-ops off campus Will and Lincoln formed a non-profit organization called the Boulder Housing Coalition (BHC). In 1996 the Boulder Housing Coalition hosted the first annual Boulder Co-op Summit for about 20 people at the Brick House Co-op. One of them was Ben Lipman. Ben was the director of the Solstice Institute, a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to creating sustainable community in Boulder. They agreed to sponsor the BHC and give us free office space. At the next Co-op Summit Jim Harrington got involved. Ben found a way to hire Jim as an Americorps: VISTA Volunteer. Jim got federal tax exempt 501(c)3 and Community Housing Development Organization status for the BHC, and the BHC president Cedar Barstow kept the organization moving forward. The organization applied for two grants from the city of Boulder to create affordable cooperatives but we were turned down.

Meanwhile a CU student co-op project was also moving forward under the auspices of the CU Students for Cooperative Housing which formed a Working Group with campus administrators, students, housing staff and student government representatives. The group decided to run a student referendum that would ask each of the 25,000 students to give $2 per semester for 4 years. This would raise 100,000 a year for student co-ops. Around this time an old friend of Will Toor's named Tony Sanny came to the University of Colorado to study Business and Law. Tony and Will knew each other from their time in the Chicago co-op system. Tony Sanny moved in to a rental co-op called Limpopo, where Lincoln lived, and they began working on the CU student co-op referendum. In 1998 the referendum passed by a mere 200 votes and Tony took over as the new CU campus co-op coordinator. The Students for Cooperative Housing had a guarantee of $400,000 to create co-ops but still needed approval from the University of Colorado Board of Regents to actually collect the money. They also needed to find a property to purchase.

Birth of the Masala Cooperative

Around this time in 1999 the residents of the Slovo equity co-op (including Will Toor) were looking to sell their house at 744 Marine Street, but they wanted the house to remain a co-op. Tony Sanny worked with NASCO Properties, the development arm of the North American Students of Cooperation, to find short term financing which would allow them to acquire the house and hold it while the money from the student co-op referendum was collected, and to give the Students for Cooperative Housing time to build administrative support for the planned student co-op system. NASCO Properties use a combination of deferred interest loans, a line of credit from the National Cooperative Bank and a $70,000 equity gift from the Slovo residents to buy the house. With this arrangement they could only hold the property, which was re-named the Masala Cooperative, for two years.

The CU Students for Cooperative Housing developed a plan to create a non-profit that would use the referendum money in combination with university loans to buy the Masala Co-op from NASCO Properties and start the first student cooperative housing system in Colorado. The Student Government, The Treasurer of the University, the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, two members of the Board of Regents and all the top university financial brass supported the plan. However, without the support of the office of the President, the group could not go before the Board of Regents and ask for final approval. The attorney for the Office of the President refused to sign off on the plan for liability reasons. Instead, she favored a plan that would give complete control of the student co-op system to the University and take an additional 18 months to implement. At this point NASCO Properties had already obtained a one year extension on the deferred interest loans and the financing could not be extended any further. Within nine months they would be forced to sell the house to the highest bidder. Then the 2001 Colorado state debt crisis hit, meaning that only the highest priority University projects would be eligible to receive loans, and the student co-ops were not on the list of potential projects. At this point for all practical purposes the student co-op project was dead.

Later that year, with time running out, the participants in the Boulder Housing Coalition's 6th Annual Co-op Summit found themselves wondering what could be done to save Masala. Will Toor, who had since become the mayor of Boulder, rode up on his bicycle and said "Go for another city grant." Plan B became buying Masala from NASCO Properties with grant money as the down payment to establish the first house in a community-wide co-op federation. In May of 2002 the Boulder Housing Coalition purchased Masala with a $435,000 loan from Vectra Bank, using a $102,000 grant from the city of Boulder and the Slovo Co-op's $70,000 equity gift as the down payment, creating the first permanently affordable rental cooperative in the state of Colorado. The project also received $2,500 in private donations and $2,000 from the Community Foundation.

Over a seven year period it took the combined efforts of The Boulder Housing Coalition, The Solstice Institute, NASCO & NASCO Properties, AmeriCorps, The Fellowship for Intentional Communities, The Kagawa Fund, The National Cooperative Bank, The National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials, The University of Colorado Student Environmental Center, The members of Slovo and Masala Cooperatives, Thistle Community Housing, The Enterprise Foundation, The Institute for Community Economics and numerous volunteers working for hundreds of hours to get a first co-op for the system.

Labor System

Your co-op loves you and we hope you will love your co-op as well. Caring for the house, cooking for your fellow co-opers and working with them to maintain a happy and healthy co-op can be its own reward, however, life goes on outside the house and the co-op cannot always be your top priority. In order to guarantee an equal distribution of labor among co-opers and to prevent the house from deteriorating into a neglected pile of filth and despair, Masalans have constructed a labor system to structure each co-oper’s contribution to the house. It offers both stability & flexibility.

There are three kinds of regular labor within the house:

  1. Food chores rotate on a bi-weekly schedule. They include grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning up after house meals, picking up food donations and our CSA share, etc. Every two weeks each member is required to sign up for four food chores.
  2. Household chores rotate on a monthly schedule. At the first house meeting of the month the sign-up board is passed around and everyone signs up for one chore. These are tasks that require some ongoing attention, like keeping the refrigerators clean and organized, mopping the kitchen, cleaning the first floor bathroom, etc. They should be performed at least once a week.
  3. Stewardships are semi-permanent responsibilities that require some specialized knowledge, skills, or continuity. Everyone has at least one stewardship, and some people have more than one, because they require varying amounts of work. Who gets what stewardships is agreed upon by consensus at house meeting.

In addition to the regular labor describe above, the house will usually schedule one or two work days each year for deep cleaning, re-organization, garden preparation, etc. There are also occasional special projects like setup before and cleanup after parties, or larger home improvements.


We operate under an honor system. We cannot and don't want to hound everybody about everything. If you're going to be away from the house for any period of time and thus unable to satisfy the labor requirements, it’s your responsibility to communicate with the labor steward and get out of your responsibility for that time period, or find a replacement. Our trash still needs to go out, the chickens still need food and water, even when you go out of town or have an exam coming up that you have to study extra-hard for! If you'll be absent for less than five days, you do not get out of your labor responsibility. Failure to pull your weight will result in probation with the house, and after that we could discuss eviction. That's not nice — don't make the house face that yucky situation! If you are on probation for failing to do labor in the house, you must make amends within the next two-week period. If you do not provide good cause acceptable to the house at the house meeting at the end of your probationary period, then the house will evict you from the co-op for violating your lease by failing to meet your labor obligations. You would need consensus from the house in order to stay.

The primary labor accountability mechanism within the house is our weekly report. Every week at the beginning of house meeting, each member lets the community know about the labor they have done for the house. This is also the time to make any announcements or bring up any concerns related to your chores and stewardships. If you anticipate more back-and-forth discussion, it's worth making it an agenda item for the regular portion of the meeting.

In addition to our weekly reports, the Labor Steward keeps track of who is signing up for what, to make sure that labor is shared by all co-opers in an equitable way. The Labor Steward gives a monthly report in meeting, so we can see if we’re all on track, and will approach any house members who are doing too little or too much work.

Food Chores

Every two weeks at meeting we pass around a small dry-erase board, and co-opers sign up for four of the available 48 slots:

  • Cooking or Cleaning House Meals (40)
  • Saturday Food Shop (2)
  • Wednesday Food Shop (2)
  • Food Rescue/Staple Preparation (2)
  • Bread/CSA Pickup (1)
  • Bulk Food Pickup (1)

The board is passed around twice, in opposite directions, so that all members have roughly equal priority in choosing which slots they get. Each slot is equivalent to roughly 1.5 hours of work. Detailed descriptions of what these chores entail can be found below in the Food section. Immediately after meeting the Labor Steward copies these signups to the big chore board which hangs on the wall in the kitchen near the back door of the house.

Household Chores

Most of the household chores must be thoroughly completed each week before house meeting. Friday and Saturday Kitchen Clean must be completed on their respective days and Right Fridge Clean must be completed before Saturday Food Shop. Detailed descriptions of the chores are listed below, and are posted on the Left Fridge for easy reference. Members are responsible for household chores for one month at a time, with signups taking place at the first house meeting of each month.

Kitchen Organize
Remove items from food pantry, clean shelves, re-shelve, organize and label bulk items. Refill food items in the food pantry from bulk bags in basement. Find a problem area and work to fix it up! Think about the tops of the fridges, shelves, cabinets, under the sink, or the dining room area.
Living Room
Put anything that does not belong in the living room in its appropriate place, including the Lost and Found or Under the Stairs. Clean the windowsills and dust the bookshelves and fireplace. Clean and organize the computer and projector areas. Tidy the pillows and blankets, including the front closet for blankets. Sweep the floor, spray it with the special floor cleaner solution and then wipe it down with a towel or dry mop.
Friday and Saturday Kitchen Clean
Clean counter tops, stove, sink, table and any other surface that is messy or dirty. Wash any stray dishes. If the mess is horrendous, recruit the culprits to help clean. Clean and organize the bread and fruit corner and the windowsill. Put anything that does not belong in the kitchen/dining room in its appropriate place. Empty the dish rack -- avoid dish jenga!
Appliance, Spices and Laundry Room
Clean the inside and outside of the microwave. Clean and organize the coffee/tea area. Clean all appliances on the counter, especially the toaster oven. Neatly put away all appliances that do not belong on the counter. Refill silver spice jars on the hood of the stove. Organize the spice cabinet. Tell the Bulk Food Steward if we need to order any spices. Make sure the laundry room stays tidy with no major backups. Clean all surfaces. Wash kitchen towels if necessary. Follow special instructions posted in laundry rook. Restock the toilet paper and paper towels stored in the laundry room from the bulk storage area in the basement.
Kitchen Mop
Mop the kitchen floor at least once time per week. Properly care for the mop and bucket. Make sure both are clean and dry before you put them away in the hall closet. Empty the mop water into the utility sink in the laundry room, not the bathtub or kitchen sink.
Yard and Carport
Clear off furniture and shake out couch cushions. Put anything that does not belong in the carport in its appropriate place. Shake out the welcome mat. Sweep the entire patio area. Pick up the wind-blown litter that has collected in the back, side, and front yards. We can be ticketed by the city if we have trash in our yard. Generally ensure that the back of the house does not resemble a hippie tent city.
Left Fridge and Right Fridge Clean
Dispose of spoiled and outdated food from the fridge and freezer. Wash emptied containers. Clean fridge and freezer shelves. Organize and label fridge contents. Right fridge should leave a clean and spacious fridge for the food shopper, and so it has a Saturday morning deadline.
Hallways, Stairs and Phone Cubby
Clean and organize the phone cubby. Sweep the laminate floor and the stairs to the basement, then lightly spray them with the special floor cleaner and wipe it with a cloth or dry mop. Vacuum the stairs going up to the second floor and the second floor hallway.
Check at least once daily to ensure that the chickens have food and fresh water. Refill the food and water buckets as needed. Report to the Chicken Steward when we are down to one bag of feed or if the coop is in need of any repairs or if there are any concerns with the well-being of the chickens. Collect eggs once per day. Keep the roosting boxes filled with hay. Turn on the water heater when the temperature is below freezing. Turn on the coop heat lamp when the temperature is expected to drop below -10°C (10°F). Love the chickens!
Public Bathroom
Clean all surfaces including sink, tub, floor and toilet in the first floor bathroom. Restock toilet paper supply as needed throughout the week.


Stewardships are ongoing responsibilities to the house which each member takes on. They generally require some specialized knowledge, or benefit from continuity. Assignment of stewardships must be agreed to by consensus in house meeting. Some stewardships are a lot of work, others less so. Some, like the Gardener and Membership Coordinator are generally only a lot of work for part of the year.

House Accountant

  • Collect rent checks and deposit them by 5th of every month.
  • Collect deposits as people move in and return them as people move out
  • Prepare and present a house budget for the upcoming year in the fourth quarter.
  • Write checks to reimburse people for house purchases. Keep the house operating account register up to date in Quickbooks Online, as well as in the actual checkbook.

food shopping. Keep the check book register updated, both in the actual checkbook and in our account on . Make sure that for every check written there is: date , payee , for (usually food fiver, bulk food, wed food shop, or Sat food shop) , check amount


At the end of each quarter, do a budget-to-actual for the food account. A budget-to-actual is a comparison of what we planned to spend, to what we actually spent. We go through this process in order to see where our money is going. The budget-to-actual gives us the ability to make decisions such as whether the amount we pay each month for household items needs to be raised or lowered, what scale of renovation projects we have money to support, etc.

You can get the actuals by running a report in Quickbooks; then put these numbers next to the corresponding numbers in the budget. Determine the discrepancy between the budgeted amount and the actual amount; then calculate the percent discrepancy to determine the significance of the discrepancies. Look at past budget-to-actuals to see how this is done.


Make a deposit a couple of times a month: List the checks on the deposit slip, making sure to put the person’s name next to their check amount. Get the yellow part of the deposit slip back from the teller along with the receipt. Back at home, enter the deposit in Quickbooks. Print out a deposit detail. Staple the yellow deposit slip and the white receipt to the deposit detail and file the whole bunch in its proper place.

Reconcile Operating Account

The Quickbooks register needs to be reconciled with the bank statement each month. When you have the bank statement in hand, go into Quickbooks and choose reconcile from the banking menu. Follow the instructions. When you have successfully reconciled the information in Quickbooks with the statement, print out a reconciliation report and staple it to the bank statement. File this in its place.

Payment Plans

Work with residents to create and implement Payment Plans if necessary.


The house Baker keeps track of what baking items - pans and supplies - are available or needed, creates one baked item weekly, makes something all in the house can eat periodically, bakes for birthdays and very special events, attempts to utilize overstocked goods, takes into account what the house needs/wants and helps fill that need/want. Some kitchen organization and tracking of necessary supplies involved.

BHC Board Representative

Attend monthly BHC meetings. Represent Masala by sharing about issues and unfoldings happening over here. Support BHC staff and other board members in the proliferation of co-ops in Colorado and help ensure the health and well-being of our affordable housing system.

Share meeting notes with Masalans, and take their issues/concerns and ideas to the BHC meetings.

Boarder Steward

Teach new boarders how the boarder payment and labor systems work. Keep track of boarder payments. Post a monthly chart with records of recent payments and money owed by each boarder. If boarders have not paid at the beginning of the month, make sure they know how much they need to pay, that they need to pay as soon as possible, and check to ensure that their records agree with ours.

Call boarders to fill empty slots on the cooking/cleaning chalkboard.

Stay in contact with the bulk steward about how much food is needed for non-residents.

Recruit new boarders as a way to earn income for Masala.

There are boarder documents on the house computer at D:\Masala\Food Stuff\Boarder Stuff.

Bulk Food Steward

Learn from the out-going Bulk Food Steward how things go.

Survey new house members about their food preferences.

Conduct a food inventory by looking in pantry, cabinets, fridges, freezers and basement to see what we have already. Also look in laundry room and bathrooms to see how much paper towel, laundry and dish soap and toilet paper we have.

We order most of our bulk food from UNFI through the nursery school. This is a cooperative food warehouse.

To place an order for any item, UNFI needs certain information about the item. They need:

Name of the item; The UNFI catalog order number; Quantity; Description (This is similar to the name, but it is UFI’s official name for the item. It is often a nearly indecipherable string of characters, such as “AMH Unbl White OG”); Brand name; Size, in ounces or whatever; Case price; Unit price.

All of this information is in the UNFI Catalog. Make sure you're using the latest version of the catalog.

It is house policy that all bulk items will be organic; exceptions must be approved by consensus. The only exceptions to this policy would be items that are only available in their conventional (as opposed to organic) forms. Exceptions will not be made simply because the non-organic version is cheaper.

We use a shared Google Spreadsheet as our ordering template. Check with the outgoing Bulk Food Steward or the Food Accountant to get access.

Using the food inventory and taking into consideration the budget for bulk food, decide what to order. You can do an estimate of the cost of the order by summing the case price column.

Email this to the bulk manager at the school. S/he should send you a confirmation email within the next couple of hours. If s/he doesn’t, then you need to follow up & make sure they got our order.

Make sure people are using Google Docs to keep our inventory of people’s food preferences CURRENT.

Chicken Steward

  • Buy chicken food before we need it. Once we're down to one bag of food, go out to Niwot Feed and Supply and get six bags of food with house money. The Food Accountant can write you a check ahead of time[
  • Coordinate with the folks doing the daily chicken chore to make sure the chickens are clean, fed, happy and (in winter) warm.
  • Suggest and oversee any maintenance projects related to the chicken coop.
  • Make any necessary seasonal adjustments to the coop.
  • These are living beings! Make sure their coop is clean and happy!

Compost Steward

Transfer the kitchen waste to the two-bin compost system in the yard, or to the chicken coop, or to the alley compost bin. Keep these different compost bins separate & distinct.

Make sure people don’t put things that don’t belong in compost bins, in the compost bins.

Once it is there, periodically turn the waste and let it transform itself into soil.

Things that can go wrong: it can stink.

Helpful materials: pitchfork, a book about compost, Zac Smith.

Computer Steward

  • Take care of people’s internet needs, wireless access, etc.
  • Help folks set up printing on their personal computers.
  • Keep the house printer and computer up and running.
  • Keep tangle of wires in the living room under control.
  • Make sure that nobody is abusing our network resources.
  • Help people keep their computers secure.

Food Accountant

  • Collect food checks from each co-oper every month, and keep track of receipts for food bought by grocery shoppers, as well as vacation refunds.
  • Calculate how much people are owed for food fivers.
  • Write food reimbursement checks.
  • Write checks to people for food shopping -- bi-weekly, bulk, chicken feed, CSA, etc.
  • Keep check book register updated, both in the actual checkbook and in Quickbooks.

Every three months, do a budget-to-actual for the food account.

A budget-to-actual is a comparison of what we planned to spend, to what we actually spent. We go through this process in order to see where our money is going.

The budget-to-actual gives us the ability to make decisions such as whether the amount we pay each month for food should be raised or lowered, whether we can get more luxurious food, whether we can spend more on each food shop, etc.

You can get the actuals by running a report in Quickbooks; then put these numbers next to the corresponding numbers in the budget.

Determine the discrepancy between the budgeted amount and the actual amount; then calculate the percent discrepancy to determine the significance of the discrepancies. Look at past budget-to-actuals to see how this is done.

  • Make a deposit each month after residents submit their food payments.
  • List the checks on the deposit slip, making sure to put the person’s name next to their check amount.
  • Get the yellow part of the deposit slip back from the teller along with the receipt.
  • Back at home, enter the deposit in Quickbooks.
  • Print out a deposit detail.
  • Staple the yellow deposit slip and the white receipt to the deposit detail and file the whole bunch in

its proper place.

Reconcile Food Account
  • The Quickbooks register needs to be reconciled with the bank statement each month.
  • When you have the bank statement in hand, go into Quickbooks and choose reconcile from the banking menu.
  • When you have successfully reconciled the information in Quickbooks with the statement, save a reconciliation report and file it with the other reconciliation reports.


Plan and plant a garden for us in the spring and maintain it throughout the summer.

  • Water our garden regularly, or set up watering schedule and make sure it gets done.
  • Bring in the produce when it's ready.
  • Communicate with weekly shoppers so that they don’t buy what we've grown ourselves.

Houseplant Steward

  • Water houseplants as soon as soil is completely dry to the touch – usually about once a week, although the cactus plants can be watered less.
  • Soak all the way through with water.
  • It takes about 15 minutes a week to do all the watering.
  • Keep the plants looking decent, which often requires removing dead leaves, trimming back unhealthy-looking foliage, and re-potting plants as they outgrow their existing pots or as new and better pots become available.
  • If a plant is big, strong, and healthy, try to take a cutting of it.
  • The Better Homes and Gardens New Houseplants Book is a good reference if you aren’t familiar with taking cuttings; it is usually available at the public library.
  • Good future projects would be to cultivate more edible indoor herbs and plants and to find more attractive pots at thrift stores. Better yet would be to reuse objects that aren’t technically plant pots to put plants in. Just remember water needs to be able to drain out the bottom of whatever it is you put the plant in, i.e. must have holes in bottom.

Labor Steward

  • Use a spreadsheet to keep track of who has how many points.
  • Look at points earned, listed on the food chore board every two weeks, the day of or the day before meeting, and calculate each person’s totals.
  • Report in meeting, every month-ish, on how many points each person has. Point out (pardon the pun) those who have way too many and those who have way too few. Check in with those people to see if you can recommend a way that they could level off. Perhaps someone has too many stewardships? Perhaps someone else is not cooking or cleaning the kitchen frequently enough?

Mail Steward

  • Currently we are divided into four mail units. Mail may or may not be delivered more efficiently if people write "Unit 1, 2, 3 or 4" on their parcel. (This depends on the idiosyncrasies of our particular mail carrier at the time – they have a hard time understanding why so many of us live in one house.)
  • Please take people’s mail out of their unit box and sort it into the inside mailboxes, in the living room. Keep that area neat and tidy.
  • Sort through the mail sent to people who don’t live here: some of it can be distributed to boarders or people still living in the area.
  • If it’s mail that belongs to someone who lives far away and it looks important, decide whether it should be sent to them, if they should be notified about it, etc.
  • Often people who live far away will tell you it’s okay to open their junk mail, rip up their credit card offers and recycle anything that looks like junk.
  • You, in turn, should encourage them to fill out a change of address slip and change their credit card address/medical address/bank address as soon as possible.
  • Gather newspapers from the front yard if we happen to be receiving unwanted newspapers; also collect new phonebooks from the front porch.
  • When someone new comes to live at the house, make them a name label and put it on one of the mailbox slots in the living room.
  • Try to keep that area clean: it is important that people are able to get their mail.
  • When someone’s box becomes overloaded, notify them in a weekly meeting or deliver their mail to their bedroom.
  • Take out the unwanted mail recycling box as needed.

Maintenance Steward

  • Coordinate work days with volunteers who have talents & skills we can use – i.e. plumbing, construction/contracting, painting, wood-working.
  • Keep a running prioritized list of what in the house needs to be fixed. Communicate with Lincoln, who can arrange for community service workers, about the list.
  • Fix what you can fix on your own. Get help with things that you can’t manage. Notify the house in advance if supplies need to be purchased and they total more than $25. Get permission in a weekly meeting.

Membership Coordinator

The Membership Coordinator (MC) is responsible for candidates who may move in, and for all coopers at move-in and move-out. The MC takes charge of the new-member recruitment process and performs the following duties:

  • Verify that vacated rooms have been cleaned and checked for damage, re-painted as necessary, & that a person who has moved out has been thru all necessary steps and had each steward check her or him off.
  • Place ad on Craigslist advertising co-op room openings.
  • Work with community-oriented groups to get the word out about room openings, keeping in mind our affordability and our commitments to diversity and inclusiveness by advertising in places where people who need affordable housing are likely to see our ads.
  • Create flyers and post them.
  • Maintain list of potential co-opers’ names, e-mail addresses, phone numbers, first dates of contact, and desired move-in dates.
  • Return calls from potential co-opers on house phone voice mail; arrange dinner, interview, etc.
  • Keep the Masala application up-to-date – both in the phone nook & online.
  • Distribute blank membership application to co-op applicants and completed application to house members prior to interview.
  • Read fair housing statement and member selection process checklist to all applicants.
  • Carry out move-in procedures: lease signing, room walkthrough, manual distribution, income qualification, etc. Note that a person is not a member of Masala until a deposit & signed lease are in-hand, and note that everyone must income qualify with Lincoln, the BHC

Executive Director.

  • Have the new person read the membership manual, take a quiz, and then assign the new person a buddy who is charged with getting her or him settled in & up to speed on house do’s & don’t’s and processes.
  • Within the first month or so, make sure the new person gets a stewardship (or 2, or 3).

Membership Manual Steward

After notes are taken by various note-takers during weekly house meetings, post them in house bathrooms by Friday of same week. Help house remember to go back to action items we didn’t have time for at last week’s meeting if necessary. Keep a running list of approved proposals that require a change to house membership manual. See front of old minutes binder and also the E drive, file named “changes to the manual.” Make changes to the house manual as needed, and change the format.

Recycling and Trash Steward

  • The recycling steward is responsible for general, regular waste removal. Her/his duties include:
  • Emptying kitchen recycling bins into proper receptacles in alley every other day, or as needed.
  • Emptying kitchen trash into proper receptacle in alley as needed.
  • Emptying alley compost & making sure people remember which compost bins are for what types of compost.
  • Transporting non-curbside recyclable materials to proper drop-off site (Eco-Cycle or CHaRM) as needed.
  • Maintaining clean, orderly, and clearly-labeled recycling bins in kitchen.
  • Educating fellow co-opers about recycling guidelines and general environmental conservation awareness.

Special Projects Steward

Do special projects when the budget permits, when we have enough helpers on-hand and when you have sought approval in advance from Masalans whose space may be disrupted by the construction, maintenance or other project. Thanks for improving our home!

Supplies Steward

Buy non-food supplies that Masalans request, house budget permitting. Check with House Accountant to see how much money we have for these. Never buy things that cost more than $25 without first getting house approval. List of supply needs is kept on the mast chore board near the back door.

Under the Stairs Steward

Regularly clean out Under The Stairs; Give away items to ARC or take to the Naropa Free Bin; Encourage Masalans not to just dump things that are trash, or large & unmanageable piles of off- cast, under the stairs; Remind Masalans that we have a Lost-And-Found, and that Under The Stairs serves a different purpose.

House Bylaws

The members of Masala Cooperative House adopt the following principles in accordance with the spirit of providing cooperative room and board to the people of Boulder, Colorado.

Non-discriminatory membership
There shall be no restriction on membership for any reason other than available room and ability and willingness to discharge duties and uphold responsibilities as house members.
Each member has one and only one vote; each shares the house duties in as nearly an equitable manner as possible; and each shares equally in the benefits derived.
The house will be a working example of cooperative living and will educate its members and others in the principles of cooperatives.
The house will be a member of no organization other than cooperative societies.
By the house’s membership in other cooperative organizations, it will support the cooperative movement in general as much as possible without impairing the efficient functioning of Masala Cooperative House.


The name of the house that operates under this set of rules is Masala.


A full house member (hereafter referred to as, “house member”) shall be any person living in the house who has been approved by consensus of the house to live in the house and who has paid his or her member share, or is participating in the payment plan of his or her member share, and has signed a lease.

A boarding member shall be any person who has paid his or her boarding member share and who has been approved by consensus of the house to board at the house, and has signed the boarding contract with the house. Boarding members must abide by house bylaws and by the boarding system.

Per city policy, Masala Community Housing will give preference to non-student community members in house member selection. In response to the request of the Boulder Housing Coalition, we will fill vacancies by conducting a month-long search for non-students before opening the process to any and all applicants. This policy applies only to the ten permanently affordable house member slots.

Both types of members shall be approved by the house via the following steps:

  1. The prospective member shall attend at least one meal at the house and shall attempt to meet each member of the house.
  2. The prospective member shall attend at least one meeting of the house and shall answer questions from house members and have an opportunity to ask questions of the house.
  3. The house shall approve the prospective member by consensus. This approval shall not be in the presence of the prospective member.
  4. The prospective member shall sign a lease, or boarding contract, and pay or begin paying the member share.
  5. Upon completion of all these steps, the prospective member shall become a member of Masala Community Housing.

The full members of the house shall comprise the board of directors for the house.

Duties of House Members

House members are responsible for the amount of labor as described in the Masala Membership Manual.

House members are responsible for payment of bills as determined by the house.

House members must abide by the rules passed at house meetings.

House Meetings

Attendance at house meetings is mandatory for residents. Input can be provided in written form but proxies for decision making are not allowed.

Boarders are encouraged to attend meetings. They may vote on matters pertaining to boarding.

A quorum for a house meeting will be 1/2 the total number of residents. Round up in the case of an uneven number of members.

House meetings will be held weekly. A petition signed by 5 members and posted for one day may cancel meetings, or call emergency meetings.

House rules will be passed or deleted by a consensus of members present at house meetings. The house rules, as accepted, shall be duly recorded.

House Stewardships

Permanent House Stewards shall be agreed upon by consensus of house members. All house stewards serve until the steward or the house decides a new member should fill that stewardship position. A new steward must be determined for replacement of a resigning steward, within one week, or preferably within the same house meeting as the resignation.

All Stewards are responsible for regularly educating members at house meetings on matters pertaining to the stewards’ duties and are responsible for passing all materials to their successor, including computer files.

Stewards are subject to recall for dereliction of duty upon house review and consensus.


The house will consider all the recommendations for expulsion brought by house members. They shall gather evidence from all interested parties including the member in question, and form an opinion at an open house meeting with the member to be judged and her/his accuser present, if possible. This meeting is to take place within one week of the accusation.

The House shall hear evidence from interested persons and a defense by the accused. An outside, non-biased facilitator is recommended.

Whether the member is to keep her/his membership shall be voted on at a house meeting within one week of the hearing and will be determined by consensus.

Grounds for eviction shall include failure to perform house duties, failure to obey house rules, and failure to pay house fees or bills resulting in a debt to the house of one month’s bills, and uncooperative behavior.


Amendments to this constitution shall be made in accordance with the following rules:

A member shall propose an amendment in a house meeting.

The proposer shall write up the proposed amendment and post it; it is subject to change by a consensus of those voting.

The amendment will be passed by a consensus of all house members after being posted not less than 7 days in its final form.

A Historical Index of Amendments (meeting notes) shall be duly recorded and attached to all copies of the Masala House Rules for the purpose of explaining the reasons behind changes made in the rules.

Consensus, Quorum and Meetings

All house decisions must be approved at a house meeting by consensus of the house members. If consensus cannot be reached, the decision will be tabled until the next meeting, or for 24 hours if it is an emergency decision. Upon this time's expiration, the house will reconvene and attempt to reach consensus again. If consensus still cannot be reached, the decision will be decided by a two-thirds majority vote.

House meetings and decisions require a quorum of 50% or more present house members. A “present house member” in terms of quorum is defined as anyone who lives in the house and is not away for more than a week at the time that quorum needs to be reached.

There will be a rotating facilitator at meetings.

There will be a 24-hour notice in the form of a posting before emergency meetings.


These bylaws shall be in effect when they have been ratified by a consensus of all the members of the house voting in a regular meeting.

Security Deposit Return

Any member who breaks the lease agreement by moving out before the lease ends risks losing all or some of their security deposit. The security deposit will cover up to one month of rent loss.

The member moving out is responsible for any rent loss incurred by their leaving the house and this amount is not room-specific.

Debt and Payment Plan Policies

  1. A Resident is a person who has signed a lease with Masala and the Boulder Housing Coalition to legally occupy a room at 744 Marine Street.
  2. A Payment Plan is a written contract between a Resident and Masala Community Housing, a state of Colorado non-profit corporation, which will hereafter be referred to as "Masala". A payment plan details a modified payment schedule for money owed to Masala. This contract does not replace or nullify the Resident lease, but supersedes the regular payment schedule for the period of time specified in the payment plan. All Residents have the right to request a payment plan, however their request must be properly authorized in a house meeting and documented in meeting notes in order to be valid. ORAL AGREEMENTS SHALL NOT CONSTITUTE A PAYMENT PLAN.
  3. The Three-Day Demand for Compliance or Possession will hereafter be referred to as "Three-Day Notice". This is a legal document demanding payment of past-due rent/fees. A written, signed Three-Day Notice gives the Masala Resident the choice of either paying the past-due rent or moving out within three days. Masala can serve the tenant this demand by posting the Three-Day Notice on the Resident’s door at 774 Marine Street. A copy must also be mailed the next day. In computing the three days, the first day is excluded. If the Resident has not paid the rent or moved out within three days, Masala need not accept any further payments of the rent and may file an eviction suit at the Boulder County Justice Center, on 6th and Canyon in Boulder. The time begins running whether or not the tenant discovers the Three-Day Notice is posted. Also the time continues to run regardless of whether it is a Saturday, a Sunday, or a holiday.
  4. A Verified Payment is a payment in the form of a money order, cashier’s check or electronic check.
Procedure for requesting and approving a payment plan
  1. The Resident must request a payment plan from the Masala house accountant. The house accountant will then check to ensure that the proposed payment plan is in compliance with all the terms of this Payment Plan Policy. The payment plan will then be brought to a regular house meeting of Masala.
  2. Masala must vote whether or not to approve the proposed payment plan as per the house’s voting rules. Masala may reject a payment plan request FOR ANY REASON, including but not limited to the financial state of the House or BHC, the trustworthiness of the Resident, the Resident’s current financial or employment situation, or the Resident’s payment history.
  3. If approved by consensus, a written form of the payment plan will then be signed by the Resident and the Masala house accountant, affirming that it conforms to the terms of this policy, and has been approved by a house vote.
Modification of an existing payment plan
  1. A Resident may request a payment plan modification by submitting a new request. Once approved, the modified payment plan replaces the previous payment plan.
  2. The end date of the revised payment plan must be the same as the end date of the original payment plan. Thus only the distribution and schedule of payments may be modified.
Payment plan terms
  1. Once a resident is on a payment plan, s/he no longer accrues late fees.
  2. The payment plan shall begin on the original due date of the first payment to be delayed, and shall end no later than 3 months thereafter. (For example, if a Resident requests a payment plan for January rent and/or food payment, the payments must be scheduled such that rent and food payment for January, February, and March will all be paid in full by April 5.)
  3. The payment plan shall include all rent and food payments, and any other fees due during the period of the payment plan.
  4. If a new Resident cannot pay their first month’s rent, no payment plan will be issued.
  5. A payment plan shall have no payments scheduled later than the fifth of the last month of a Resident’s lease period.
  6. Once a Resident has been issued a Three-Day Notice, that person is not eligible for a payment plan.
  7. All payments made on a payment plan must be made by “Verified Payment” (see definition above).
  8. Masala may place additional restrictions on a particular Resident’s payment plan if it finds the Resident to be repeatedly non-compliant with payment policies.
Normal rent violation time-line

All of the following timelines may only be extended by Masala, by a consensus vote at a house meeting.

  1. On the fifth of the month, rent and food payments are due.
  2. On the 10th of the month, late rent and food payments are due. Residents shall be charged a $5 late fee per payment, per day after the fifth. Then, on the 10th of the month a ten-day warning will be issued to any Resident in debt, by the Masala accountant. On or after the 10th, the names of all Residents who owe rent and food payments or late fees, at this time, will be announced at the house meeting by the house or the food accountant. (For example, if a Resident still hasn’t paid for food or rent on the 7th of the month, they will have accrued a late fee of $20, which is $5 for the 6th for food & $5 for rent, plus $5 for the 7th for food & $5 for rent. This fee amount would need to be paid to the house on the 7th of that month, along with the food & rent payments.)
  3. On the 20th of the month, the Masala house accountant will serve a Three-Day Notice to any and all Residents who do not have an Approved Payment Plan and whose debts are equal to or exceeding the "total monthly rental payment" as stated in section 5B of the individual Resident lease. The Masala house accountant will notify all Residents of Masala by email that a Three-Day Notice has been served, stating the name of the Resident who has been given the notice. At this point the Resident may NOT request a payment plan to cover the amount past due.
  4. On the 24th of the month, rent demanded by Three-Day Notice is due.
  5. On the 25th of the month, the lease of any Resident who has not paid as demanded by their Three-Day Notice will be terminated. The Masala house accountant will notify the Boulder Housing Coalition board that the lease of the Resident has been terminated. The BHC staff will inform the former Resident of the termination and require the individual to vacate the premises. If necessary, BHC staff will file an eviction suit at the Boulder County Justice Center.
Payment plan violation timeline
  1. Payment is due on the days specified in the approved payment plan.
  2. If payment is not made on a specified due date, the Masala house accountant will report that a payment was missed, at the next possible Masala house meeting.
  3. At that meeting a consensus vote of Masala Residents is required to allow the Resident-in-debt to submit another acceptable payment plan.
  4. If there is no new consensus payment plan for the Resident by the end of that meeting and the debt of the Resident is equal to or exceeds the "total monthly rental payment" as stated in section 5B of the individual Resident lease, then the Masala house accountant will immediately serve the Three-Day Notice to the Resident demanding full payment of past-due rent.
  5. On the 4th day after payment is due, the lease of any Resident who has not paid as demanded by their Three-Day Notice is terminated. The Masala house accountant will notify the Boulder Housing Coalition board that the lease of the Resident has been terminated. The BHC staff will inform the former Resident of the termination and require the individual to vacate the premises. If necessary, BHC staff will file an eviction suit at the Boulder County Justice Center.
Returned (bounced) checks
  1. The house accountant will notify the Resident whose check was returned. The Resident will be charged a $5/day late fee for each day from the day of notification until a Verified Payment is received by the house accountant. In addition, any bad check fees charged to Masala will be paid by the Resident. (For example, US Bank currently charges a $19 bad check deposit fee).
  2. Repayment is due by Verified Payment, seven days after the House accountant notifies the Resident of a returned check. On or before this date the Resident may request a payment plan to cover the amount past due.
  3. If, on the eighth day after notifying the Resident of a returned check, a payment plan has not been approved or full repayment has not been received, and the debt of the Resident is equal to or exceeds the "total monthly rental payment" as stated in section 5B of the individual Resident lease, then the Masala house accountant will immediately serve the Three-Day Notice to the Resident.
  4. On the 4th day after payment is due, the lease of any Resident who has not paid as demanded by their Three-Day Notice is terminated. The Masala house accountant will notify the Boulder Housing Coalition board that the lease of the Resident has been terminated. The BHC staff will inform the former Resident of the termination and require the individual to vacate the premises. If necessary, BHC staff will file an eviction suit at the Boulder County Justice Center.

House Rules

The Masala House Rules have their own page...

Guidelines for Creating Safe Space

  • Confidentiality: what happens at Masala stays at Masala
  • No personal attacks; Avoid assuming that everyone else agrees with your perspective; instead, use "I" statements, instead of, "We all think that that you should..."
  • Guests are not allowed at conflict resolution meetings or weekly house meetings unless approved.
  • In house meetings, everyone has the right not to share and the right to pass.
  • It helps if people have respect for and openness to group process.
  • Listen to others; be honest.