The aging community typically faces many barriers that keep older individuals from pursuing new passions and remaining active within their community. Fixed incomes beyond retirement and a fragile social network are two of those barriers which The Alternative American Dream addresses. Typically, retired people invest their fixed income into their existing lifestyle, but, by joining a co-op, they can stretch their money in order to give themselves the freedom to continue pursuing their interests and exploring new hobbies. The focus of AAD is to provide low cost options for consistent, temporary housing with shared amenities. This allows community members to have the freedom accommodate secondary populations, further offsetting the cost of living and providing them with the means to travel, heal, and discover new hobbies. Additionally, the tight-knit community offered by the co-op provides a substantial and sustained social fabric.
The Alternative American Dream provides many shared features, including meals, educational instruction, art classes, cooking demonstrations, exercise classes, gardening tools, mechanical equipment, a garden, an outdoor stage, and a common house for large gatherings. The shared programs are led by members of the community and are based on their interests and expertise. Community members are encouraged to utilize any of these features for a small fee. Additionally, the community is served by the co-op through programs that vary by house. For example, homeless youth, at risk seniors, and traveling performing artists have can be accommodated for a limited amount of time.