Lighthouse, image credit Joe BrockThe Homeport Collective was a group of people living intentionally - the examined life.

We started in Newton in 1995, then Natick in 1996, then in Bolton, MA from 1997-2005.  In 2005 we sold our house, going our separate ways. Homeport continues as a broader community, without a physical home.

Our charter, which describes some of why and how we did things, remains here for your perusal


Guiding Principles

Homeport is our home.

We live deliberately, examining ourselves and our world.

We choose to be a family that values shared examination, caring, and mutual support.  We strive to create an environment in which we and our children can grow that is intellectually and creatively stimulating.  We seek to sustain our family and our environment through communication and respect.

We hope to provide an example of living communally.

Each of us contributes to the collective according to our particular abilities.

This charter is not static; Homeport changes and grows with the lives of its members and the life of the group.

The Homeport Collective began in 1995.  We look forward to many more years together.

Operational Guidelines

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Joining the collective

By consensus of the members, a person may be invited to become a  Prospective Member, with a standard term of six months.  Prospective Members are full members for the term that is set, but do not participate in capital expenditures.  

Prospective Membership status is be reviewed every two months at a house meeting to discuss the progress of the term and provide feedback. At the end of the prospective membership term, by consensus the Prospective Member will either become a member, leave or board short term, or have the prospective membership term extended.

Children of the collective

Children are not members until and unless the members agree that they are capable of participating in consensus.

Leaving the collective

Members who are leaving are expected to give reasonable notice.

If all other members agree that one member should leave the collective, that member will be notified s/he has one month to leave.

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Other Residents


A boarder is a resident non-member who contributes to the collective.  By consensus of the members, persons may be invited to become boarders for up to a twelve month renewable term.  Boarders who are leaving are expected to give one month notice, and are required to leave given one month notice from the members.


Members are responsible for their guests.  Whenever possible, members should notify the group if guests will be staying for up to two nights.

Guests may stay for up to two weeks with consensus of the members.


Pets are the primary responsibility of the owner.  Adding a new pet requires consensus of the members.

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When a member has an issue with the collective, another member, or another member's behaviour, it is that member's responsibility to bring it up to that person or in a collective meeting.  

It is also the responsibility of every member to be receptive when an issue is raised.

Collective Meetings

Collective meetings are held every two weeks and must be attended by all members if at all possible.  At meetings, we discuss process, business, and other house issues.  All decisions in collective meetings are achieved by consensus.

Collective meetings are private.  Non-members may be invited to attend by consensus.

Finances & Purchases

There is a designated bookkeeper for collective finances.  We keep a separate document describing our accounting methods.

All capital purchases by the collective under $500 are owned by the collective and remain with the collective when a member leaves.  Capital purchases over $500 are dealt with on a case by case basis.

Items under $20 may be purchased for the collective on the judgment of any member.

House meals

House meals are held twice a week; all members are expected to attend and all residents are invited.  All house meals are vegetarian plus fish.

Responsibility for cooking rotates through the members as does responsibility for cleaning up after the meals.

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Public & Private

Private Space

Bedrooms are private space and should be entered only with permission. Desks may be considered public space, but should be left in the condition they are found.

Private conversations, including phone conversations, should be kept in private spaces.

Public Space

All space other than bedrooms is public space.  Substantial alteration of public spaces requires consensus.

Books, CD's, and other Media

CD's and other media that are in public space may be used in public spaces.  Removal from public space should occur only with permission of the owner.

Books in public spaces should not be removed from the house or lent out without permission from the owner.


All food is considered public unless marked private stock.  All common foods are MSG-free and are vegetarian plus fish.

Personal Property

Personal property kept in public space (e.g., A/V equipment, furniture, kitchen utensils and appliances, hand and power tools) should be treated properly as defined by the owner.

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House Work


All residents are expected to contribute to house chores, including  laundry, trash, shopping, yard work, care and feeding of the hot tub, and care and feeding of the network and servers.  We contract out for snow removal and weekly house cleaning.


Any house resident may call a general clutter cleanup.


Residents are responsible for cleaning their dishes and keeping the kitchen clean.

Hot Tub

All residents and regular visitors are responsible for testing the tub water and recording the results before use.

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House Arrangement


There will be no use of illegal drugs and no smoking of anything in the house.

Environment & Recycling

We recycle in accordance with local guidelines and maintain a compost pile for food scraps and yard waste.

When appropriate, we buy recycled and other environmentally responsible products.

Energy Efficiency

Thermostats are kept at 65 degrees. [note: no AC., so this is about heat]

Lights are shut off when not in use, as is other equipment (e.g., computer monitors, stereos).


Televisions are not the dominant feature of social spaces.

Phone calls

Except in case of emergencies, residents discourage inbound phone calls after 11:00 pm and before 8:00 am.


We maintain the domain, including our website and e-mail.

The website contains this charter, public information about the collective, members' home pages, and a private section including calendar, projects & action items, and an archive of minutes from our meetings.

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This page was last changed 31 May 1998.