In March 2016 the four of us took a weekend away to see if we could put something sensible down on paper about what we wanted to do. We had a boardroom! We used flip charts! This was the result.
March 09, 2016
To create an interdependent community of people in mid- to later stages of life, aging in place in a shared home.
THINGS WE VALUE
- Lots of laughter
- Companionship and accompaniment
- Sharing meals together
- Commitment to community practices and values
- Diversity and inclusiveness
- Shared learning and experiences
- Growing old together
- Physical space for personal needs as well as communal
- Open to accepting each other’s gifts and caring for each other’s needs
- Hospitality toward one another’s families
- Being good neighbours in the larger community
- We are intentionally choosing a new living arrangement
- Growing old together takes time
We will establish the community within Toronto.
We imagine an existing home (or former commercial or industrial space) of perhaps 5000-6000 square feet, extensively renovated (probably gutted and redone) or purpose built.
The space would provide private living suites of one or two bedrooms, each with private bath and sitting areas (self-contained but for kitchen); and spacious common areas, including kitchen, pantry, dining and sitting areas.
The renovation will include installation of an elevator and other features to assist with aging in place.
There will be a guest room with ensuite bath.
Location criteria include:
- High walkability score, ready access to transit
- Local food shopping and restaurants
- Trees, park
- Access to culture
- Conducive to active lifestyle
Our planning to date has been based on the assumption of a co-op housing model (to be confirmed). Participating in the community requires purchase of a share in the co-op. Each shareholder (individual or couple) has the right to occupy one of the private units and to vote on business matters. Based on a cursory review of currently listed properties, we assume that accomplishing our goals may be possible within a total capital cost (purchase and renovation) of $2.5 million. For purposes of illustration, we propose six common shares with a par value of $425,000. This would raise a total of $2.55 million.
Update, September 22, 2017
Our financial model has gone through several updates as we consult with experts and monitor the interesting progress of the Toronto real estate market. Our best estimate to date of all-in captal cost is just under $700,000. We believe this represents a ‘no surprises’ budget.
Monthly operating costs (TBD) will include:
- occupancy costs such as utilities, taxes and maintenance, based on a combination of factors such as the square footage of the individual unit and a pro-rated share of the common space;
- contributions to capital reserve and share redemption funds
- usage costs such as food.
Those of us coming from condo ownership believe we will see a reduction in fixed monthly costs.
Two shares committed
GROWING THE COMMUNITY
We are now inviting a broader conversation among people who may find this concept attractive, although we also recognize there are many reasons why this may not feel like a fit. We hope to identify a small number of people who may wish to join the conversation and explore further. As noted above, the initial partners have identified some of the characteristics that we believe to be of significant importance; we are also open to ways in which additional partners may wish to refine and extend our plans. Ultimately, we expect to have a total of six to ten persons ready to make a commitment and begin executing a plan.
Further update, April 2018
We are not actively recruiting at this time. We (the four original partners, representing two units) are proceeding with a more staged approach. We will acquire the property and live in it while making renovation plans and securing approvals. This process is likely to take two years. When we have detailed plans, including floorplans, and detailed cost information, we will open up participation again.
We bought the house and have been living there since February. We are beginning to flesh out plans for the longer term development. We are working with other co-housing practitioners to offer a workshop, October 20 and 21 (details to follow) that will help people consider co-housing generally, and our plans specifically. Follow the blog if you want to be kept up to date on our progress.