Collective living & covid-19

For those of us who live collectively or with many roommates, COVID-19 presents unique challenges. This is a living document of ideas, resources, and creative strategies. Please add resources & comment questions! .



NYC Cooperative Housing Exchange Newsletter + Doc

COVID-19 Mutual Aid: Communal Living

Collective Coronavirus Resource Kit


  • Suggestions and Recommended Conversations for folks with roommates
  • SOCIAL DISTANCING: What does “Social Distancing” look like for each of us? What agreements do we want to come to as a house about how to practice Social Distancing?
  • GUEST POLICIES: What policies do we want to have around guests? Partners?
    • Updating/creating an emergency contact & medical history sheets.
    • What preferences do people have if they’re in a medical emergency? Are there people in the house who are uninsured or have higher risks associated with seeking hospitalization? Do people need support to stock up on prescriptions? Create a plan.
    • Underlying health conditions make people more vulnerable to having severe cases. In particular, people with diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease have been overrepresented among the severe cases. How can we prioritize those in our community that have pre-existing medical conditions?


  • NASCO Co-op Kitchen & Common Area Recommendations

  • Public Health Best Practices to Fight Coronavirus in our Apartment Buildings


    • Be diligent about using the house sanitizer (hobart/jackson) or the “sanitize” options on the dishwasher.
      • No dishwasher or sanitizer? No problem. Some houses are using bleach solutions (1 gallon of cool water (not hot) + 1.5tbsp of bleach) to soak dishes for an additional 60 seconds after cleaning. After sitting in the bleach solution, dishes are rinsed with clean water. This is used for dishes that are directly eaten off of. This solution is refreshed every day. Note: bleach breaks down fairly quickly. Be sure to use a bottle that has been opened less than 9 months ago.
    • Change kitchen towels every day.

    • At QC, we created the “Cleaning Captain” labor position. This position disinfects surfaces, door knobs, light switches, fridge handles, stove knobs, stair banister, and faucets every day. It also makes sure hand soaps/sanitizers are refilled and changes out the bleach sanitizing solution in the kitchen.
      • Use a disinfecting product that is lab tested to kill influenza, and follow the directions. To be effective, most disinfectants need to be left on the surface for several minutes; some manufacturers recommend you allow it to air dry. Isopropyl alcohol (70% or more) or a dilute bleach solution (4 tsp bleach per quart of water) are effective. White vinegar is not proven to be effective. Some disinfectants may damage certain materials; test before applying widely.

    • Everyone has their own hand towel in the bathroom, including guests - write names on colored clothespins. Don’t use someone else’s towel.
    • If people are infected, do non-infected housemates want to continue to share a bathroom with them? CDC guidelines recommend having a sick person use a separate bathroom from other house members, if possible. If not possible, the bathroom should be cleaned and disinfected after each use by an ill person. If this is not possible, the caregiver should wait as long as practical after use by an ill person to clean and disinfect the high-touch surfaces.



  • Keeping a 2 week supply of basic nonperishable staples like beans, rice, bullion, pasta, oatmeal, maybe some frozen veggies in the event someone gets sick.
  • Here’s a Google Folder for us to share recipes!
  • Who and how many people will be going grocery shopping? Who will be cooking? If you’re sick, don’t cook house dinner.



  • What policies does your house want to implement if everyone is working from home? How does this impact quiet hours? Some houses have instituted “office hours” or coworking spaces?
  • COVID-19 Resources for Students

GROUP ACTIVITIES (Credited with the house that inspired)

  • Skills sharing with housemates!
  • Musician group jam
  • Language lessons/practice hours
    • QC is learning ASL together!
  • Amp + Projector = Karaoke night (QC in Brooklyn)
  • Movie Night / Series Binge
  • In house rave/dance night (Hart House in Brooklyn)
  • Collective Board Game Night
  • Group Exercise & Yoga

Caption: Picture of 4 QC cuties getting limber. Two housemates do bridges while another housemate helps another with a pose.