River City Housing Collective

Iowa City, Iowa, United States

  • Last updated: January 3, 2019 (2 seconds ago)
  • Listing created on: December 31, 1999

Mission Statement

Vision Statement:

There are three things we as RCHC value and hope to continuously develop: our physical environment, our social environment, and our relationship with the outside community.
We hope to develop our physical space by maintaining our facilities and by instilling a sense of ownership among our residents.
We would like RCHC to be “home-like” with a social environment that encourages involvement; where members interact with mutual respect, goodwill, acceptance, trust, and support.
We hope to be an asset to the community through concern for the environment, education, and the support of community endeavors.

RCHC Goals:

Within our physical sphere, we commit ourselves to:
Save rent through owning and managing our own homes
Keeping our houses clean and functional
Taking responsibility for the financial well-being of the collective
Continue to make improvements on all our houses

Within our social atmosphere we commit ourselves to:
Questioning our definitions of “diversity” and seeking to be diverse and non-discriminatory with regards to race, sex, age, sexual orientation, physical ability, perspective, religion, politics, and creed
Incorporating individual voices within the whole
Offering a community in which to share individual talents and gain practical skills
Taking initiative in solving interpersonal conflicts with mutual respect
Provide social and educational events
Cooking from scratch while meeting the dietary needs of all members
Sharing household chores with an equal division of labor

Within the greater community, we commit ourselves to:
Participating in the intentional community network
Low impact living through recycling, composting, conservation, and the reduction of waste
Participating in community outreach and service
Facilitate community-wide social and educational events
Expanding the collective to include more people and homes
Purchase local and organic food

Community Description

River City Housing Cooperative has 35 rooms across three large historic homes within walking distance of downtown Iowa City and the University of Iowa campus.

Our members rent at affordable area rates that vary by room size and features. Your private room is your personal sanctuary, but community is built and sustained through everyday interactions, so you’ll share a kitchen, dining room, living room and other facilities with your housemates.

We are our own landlords, so our houses are managed and operated through the collective efforts of our members. Besides keeping our rents affordable, shared responsibility for cooking, cleaning, maintenance, and administrative tasks allows RCHC to continue to grow in its mission of sustaining a healthy physical and social environment for all of its members. Members complete a minimum of 16 hours of work credit a month; 8 for their House and 8 for the Collective. They also complete a yearly maintenance requirement, where they can learn skills or share knowledge and skills with the community. This is true of all of our committees.

All members participate in decision-making at RCHC through biweekly House and Board meetings.

All members participate in a food plan, where they purchase food collectively and cook dinner for their House twice a month. Basic household staples are also purchased collectively, so you can always count on toilet paper, laundry detergent, and cleaning supplies.

We keep our social ties strong through We strive to maintain a safe and inclusive space for all members through a commitment to mutual values and a comprehensive safe space policy.

To apply to live at RCHC, please visit our website and fill out the Prospective Member Request Form. A membership committee representative will contact you as soon as possible to begin the process.

  • Status: Established (At least 4+ adults, 2+ years)
  • Started Planning: 1977
  • Start Living Together: 1977
  • Visitors accepted: Yes
  • Open to new Members: Yes
  • Please read the details in Membership below before contacting this community. Send Message
  • Website address: http://www.rchc.coop
  • Contact Name: River City Housing Collective
  • Community Address:
    200 S Summit St
    Iowa City, Iowa, 52240-5551
    United States
  • FIC Membership

    Since 2018
    This Community is an FIC Member
  • Location


  • Type(s): Shared Housing, Cohouseholding, or Coliving (multiple individuals sharing a dwelling), Student Housing or Student Co-Op
  • Programs & Activities: Neighborhood, Community Housing, or Homeowner’s Association
  • Location: Urban


  • Status: We have land we have developed on
  • Area: 0.5 acres
  • Current Residence Types: Room(s) in a house or building
  • Current Number of Residences: 35
  • Housing Provided: Rental, Included in Membership
  • Land owned by: The entire community membership
  • Additional Comments:

    RCHC is incorporated as a 501c3 non-profit organization which owns three large historic houses near downtown Iowa City. We rent out individual rooms to members.


  • Adult Members: 32
  • Child Members: 0
  • Non-member Residents: 0
  • Percent Women: 41-49%
  • Percent Men: 21-30%
  • Percent Transgender: 11-20%
  • Visitors accepted: Yes
  • Visitor Process:

    Reach out at our e-mail address, and someone will get back to you as soon as possible.

  • Open to new Members: Yes
  • Membership Process:

    RCHC is an intentional community, and our prospecting process is the best way that we’ve found to meet and select new members. Prospective members apply through the online form on our website. The prospecting process begins with an information session; at this time, a membership representative explains the fundamentals of collective process and living at RCHC as well as the requirements and expectations that we have for our members.

    If you’re still interested after this initial meeting, then you’ll schedule a prospect dinner at the house of your choice. The dinner is conducted in a casual question-and-answer format, in which all of your potential housemates will get a chance to ask you questions that speak directly to coop life and values, and what you could contribute to the community as an active member–they in turn will answer any question that they ask. Then, it’s just a matter of voting; the house will vote on your prospect at the house meeting following your final dinner [based on all contact, answers to dinner questions, and your references], and you will be contacted with a decision shortly thereafter.

  • Additional Comments:

    Specific demographic makeup of our community varies from year-to-year. We are committed to maintaining a welcoming and safe space for individuals of all identities.


  • Decision Making: Modified Consensus (everyone agrees, with some exceptions or fallbacks.)
  • Identified Leader: No
  • Leadership Core Group: Yes
  • Additional Comments:

    We elect a board comprised of a President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer.


  • Dues, Fees, or Shared Expenses: Yes
  • Shared Income: None
  • Required Labor Contribution per Week: 0
  • Open to members with existing debt: Yes

Sustainability Practices

  • Energy Infrastructure: We are connected to the grid.
  • Current renewable energy generation: 0%, or close to 0%
  • Current food produced: Up to 25%
  • Planned food produced: Up to 25%
  • Food produced locally: Between 26-49%


  • Common Facilities: Common House, Garden(s), Workshop, Internet
  • Internet Available: Yes, community provides it
  • Internet Fast?: Yes, it’s fine.
  • Cell Phone Service: Good for most people.
  • Shared meals: Approximately all dinners
  • Dietary Practice: Local (food sourced within 150 miles), Organic (no pesticides or synthetic fertilizers), Mostly Vegan, Opportunivore (dumpster diving, nature harvesting, etc.), Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free
  • Dietary Choice or Restrictions: Somewhat – there are some dietary restrictions or customs.
  • Special Diets OK: Yes
  • Alcohol Use: Yes, used occasionally.
  • Tobacco Use: Yes, used occasionally.
  • Additional Diet Comments:

    Individual houses determine their food purchasing priorities at house meetings. Typically, we ask members who cook dinner to provide a grain, a vegetable, and a protein at each meal, and to provide an option accommodating of dietary restrictions.

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Community Network or Organization Affiliations

The Fellowship for Intentional Community (FIC), NASCO (North American Students of Cooperation)


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