National Association for Community Mediation Reconciling Conflicts in Your Condominium

 Unless you live in the perfectly utopian condo or co-op (in which case please  disclose where), conflict is virtually inevitable. Whether is it a noise  complaint or larger issue of governance, disputes between neighbors and board  members will arise yet are fortunately resolvable. However, because many  communities have a difficult time conciliating conflict, many residents and  boards are looking to outside mediation to help negotiate problems more  effectively, with less dirty looks and cat fights involved. Organizations such  as the National Association for Community Mediation (NAFCM) focus on promoting  mediation along with specific resolution strategies to help solve and mitigate  conflicts in not only condo and co-op communities, but also between family  members, employees and significant others.  

 Let's Talk It Out

 NAFCM is a national organization based in Mesa, Arizona, that supports and  promotes a network of more than 400 local mediation centers. It focuses on  providing the latest mediation training, program administration resources, and  locating funding. NAFCM also promotes collaborative projects between mediation  centers, endorses mediation research, and educates on the benefits and  effectiveness of using mediation as opposed to other, more common yet less  effective tactics, such as banging on your neighbor's ceiling with a  broomstick.  

 NAFCM was founded in 1994 by a group of individuals who were the executive  directors of their local community mediation programs. The aim was to create an  overarching organization that would oversee and unite local programs. While  mediation was a fairly utilized method at the time, programs were sparse and  lacked cohesion and unity.  

 “It was a pretty isolated field,” says Justin Corbett, executive director at NAFCM. “At the time, [mediators] were looking at a specific tree standing on the street.  There wasn't really an organization that was looking at the forest as a whole,  how the field of mediation was developing, what sort of resources could be  shared with one another.”  

 Structurally, NAFCM is a member-based organization that does not administer  mediation services but instead provides support and resources for local  community programs, who are members of NAFCM. These centers offer a wide  variety of mediation services for over 100 different types of conflicts,  including disagreement in condos and co-ops. All centers are able to assist  with housing based conflict but 87% have specific programs tailored toward  landlord-tenant disputes and 63% have programming particularly designed for  condominiums and HOAs, Corbett says.  

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