Press coverage: “Our HAUS” in the Houston Press

Shrapnel from the city of Houston makes up the kitchen of a weird old house in the Third Ward. Wall tiles come from a torn-down property, and the countertops are thick oak doors that once swung at the Houston Ballet. Jay Blazek Crossley is dicing a small mountain of onions on the doors, helping prepare the nightly vegetarian dinner that feeds him and his ten housemates.

Not that any of them are vegetarians. It’s just that it’s part of their lease agreement that any food bought with pooled money be vegetarian.

That same lease agreement also is the impetus for the worms out back that feed on the chest-high heap of compost, and the rainwater tank that powers the house’s four toilets. The landlord requires each tenant to sign a pledge promising to reduce his or her carbon footprint while living in this house.

This is Houston’s first housing co-op: a community under one roof where members share resources and labor for the good of the environment, their social lives and their bank accounts. They cook and clean for each other. They fight with each other. At the end of the day, they come home to each other — and try not to sleep together.

Full Story: Our HAUS
Source: Houston Press, July 6, 2011

 

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Local Man Encourages Ladies to “Go Local”

Local resident Vince Straw made an impassioned plea to “go local” this Friday evening at Quencher’s Saloon and Grill. Channeling a growing national awareness about the importance of local consumption, Vince encouraged bar-goers to “consider the big picture” in their life choices.

“You gotta think about your carbon footprint, see?” Vince said, maneuvering his arm into position around local food-service employee Shelley Thompson’s waist. “Your boyfriend lives clear across town, almost outside the loop. In a city that had any kind of rational commitment to public transportation, that might not be a serious issue, but you’re gonna go the whole way out there just to drive back downtown again for work tomorrow. And what are you driving, a Subaru Baja? That can’t get more than 20 miles a gallon, max!”

While some might argue that Straw is simply another creep who hangs around the bar below his apartment looking for an easy score, Vince sees himself as part of a burgeoning national movement refocusing consumption at the local level.
Leaning back on his bar stool one recent night, Straw spoke earnestly about the goals of the movement. “People need to find a way to reconnect with their local communities. Together we can find a way to live more sustainably. There’s no reason we need to be driving all over the city, polluting the environment, when often you can find anything you need within walking distance. Yaknowhattimean?”

“What has two thumbs and believes in the power of communitas?” he asks loudly enough to turn the heads of two women sitting at the other end of the bar. “This guy!”

While Straw admits that he was initially frustrated by the recent loss of his automobile to the bank, he’s since come to see it as simply another opportunity to live more sustainably.

“I don’t drive a car – shoot, I don’t even have an elevator! This here’s a five-story walk-up,” he exclaimed, gesturing proudly towards his apartment above him. “Zero carbon emissions, baby.” Straw went on to emphasize to a nearby patron that the opportunities for healthy exercise would not end once they reached his fifth-floor apartment.
Typically discussed in the context of produce and household goods, the “Go Local” movement has expanded in recent years to including building supplies, energy production, and even banking and other services. Straw sees himself as pushing the cutting edge of local advocacy.

“Vince made a compelling case, ” said Dina Struthers, a resident of the building next to Straw’s. I forget his exact argument, but I think it was something like “Why buy a head of lettuce that’s been shipped on a refrigerated rail car all the way from California, when you could choose a perfectly good local lettuce from the building next door.” Struthers then conceded that sure, the “local lettuce” might not have the cleanest apartment, and it might kick you out at three in the morning with some lame excuse about having to rest up for a hard day of work.

“But hey, ” she shrugged, “at least I didn’t have to contribute to climate change by taking a long cab ride home. Thanks to Vince, that’s something I can feel good about.”

– Jake Reimer

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Future co-op planning meeting

We’re having another Future Co-op Planning Meeting this Wednesday, August 17th at Rosalie Haus.

All Houstonians interested in living in coops, helping start coops, and exploring ideas for coop related things, like co-housing, please join us for what will now be monthly future coop planning meetings.

We are working now to develop the 2nd and 3rd coops in HAUS’ vision for 5 Green Coops in 5 Years. One of these houses will be a family – friendly coop and the other will be student – friendly.

We are looking for leaders who think they want to live in these houses to have a huge influence on the character, location, and future of these houses. And we are looking for regular coopers to come and be involved and share what you are looking for in a coop.

Please feel free to come early at 7pm for dinner with the Rosalie Haus, but make sure you email membership@hausproject.org​ so that we know how many people are coming. All meals are vegetarian usually with vegan options.

Please rsvp and spread the word on Facebook

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New Coop Meeting – July 20

We will be meeting again with the broad public interested in advancing the cooperative movement in Houston on Wednesday, July 20, at 6:30pm at Rosalie Haus.  We’ll have dinner at some point during the meeting depending on how quick the cooks are that night.  Please rsvp – especially if you plan to eat dinner – by emailing membership.

On the agenda:

  • Potential properties / envisioning the physical house
  • Voting on some basic principles of the family-friendly house
  • How to get involved with making the new house
  • Student house visioning & reaching out to students / groups / schools
  • HAUS is seeking two new board members
    • One who thinks they want to move into family-friendly haus
    • One who thinks they want to move into student-friendly haus

Also, we’re meeting every two weeks through the end of August, meaning these dates:

  • August 3
  • August 17
  • August 31
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New coop meeting – July 6th

We will be meeting again with the broad public interested in advancing the cooperative movement in Houston on Wednesday, July 6, at 6:30pm at Rosalie Haus.  We’ll have dinner at some point during the meeting depending on how quick the cooks are that night.  Please rsvp – especially if you plan to eat dinner – by emailing membership.

On the agenda:

  • Potential properties / envisioning the physical house
  • Basic principles of the family-friendly house
  • How to get involved with making the new house
  • Begin discussion of the third house (hopefully student housing)
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HAUS Party this Friday, June 17th

We’re having a party this Friday, June 17, 2011, starting with a speaker in cooperation with the Houston area Mensa group, moving on to talent show, and then just plain ole’ dancing and talking to people and whatnot.

1505 Rosalie.  We’ll have some beer and local food going on, but BYOB.

Here’s the info from the facebook page where you can RSVP and invite friends:

Find out what ‘Smarter Living’ is all about. Houston’s first Sustainability Co-operative is hosting a group from Gulf Coast Mensa for a special presentation from The Climate Project. The presentation starts at 8pm. Afterwards, check out co-operative living at Rosalie HAUS and join us for best HAUS party yet!

The Climate Project:
Our guest speaker from The Climate Project (TCP), Aaron Tuley wants you to know about important developments in environmental news and climate science. He is part of the global force consisting of specially trained climate activists. TCP is dedicated to educating people about the urgency and solvability of the climate crisis at a grassroots level worldwide. Aaron will be presenting some of the latest info on energy and water resources.

Open Talent Show & HAUS Party:

Come enjoy local food, drink (beer, wine & local libations), stimulating education and conversation with friendly folks from the HAUS community and Gulf Coast Mensa. There is no charge for the event but consider a HAUS love donation.

Sing a song, tell a joke, juggle or hang a spoon from your nose; everyone has a talent to share.

Please sign up for the talent show and participate in a fun loving evening of friends Or just show up with something. The night will be filled with greatness and exceptional fun.

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Strange Dinner Conversation of the Week: Peanut Butter Protein

In this week’s edition of the strangest dinner conversation at Rosalie Haus, a discussion on the amount of protein in peanut butter.

The central question being: Would two identically sized and sourced jars of peanut butter – one creamy, one crunchy – have the same amount of protein?  Or would the creamy have more protein as it would actually be a denser concentration of smushed peanut than in the crunchy jar?

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Special outdoor Freegan Dinner at Rosalie Haus

Rosalie Haus member Jay went on a fishing trip with his brother and came home with a small cooler full of fresh caught Gulf of Mexico Yellow Fin Tuna, so we decided to have it for dinner.  The Haus budget is strictly vegetarian as part of our sustainability efforts, but members are allowed to eat meat, and in this case, no Haus funds went to getting the tuna.

It turned out to be a lovely late spring evening, so we set up dinner in our driveway.  Good times.

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New member / New House Planning Meeting

All interested future coopers and supporters of cooperative, affordable, sustainable housing in the urban core of the Houston region are invited to join us for a planning meeting to talk about the possibilities for our next house.

Wednesday, May 25, at 6pm
The Rosalie Haus, 1505 Rosalie

You are welcome to stay for dinner with the Rosalie Haus members at 7:30 and movie night at 8:30.  Not sure what the movie is gonna be yet, but its gonna be awesome.

Please RSVP on Facebook for the meeting

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