In a nutshell:
We’re exploring a new concept in co-housing for active and creative aging. We plan to establish a shared residence in downtown Toronto, a home where we remain independent by becoming interdependent.
It will include both private living areas and common space where people 50+ can support each other as we move into later years.
It will be organized as an equity co-op and self-managed according to co-op principles. Initial members will be full participants in the design and development of the community.
We’re planning for an inclusive community of 8 to 12 persons.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Who are you guys?
We’re four, no, make that six, friends committed to advancing this concept (and a few others who are interested but not yet committed). We represent only ourselves, no other organization or group. More about us.
Why are you doing this?
The most important reason is our desire to form an intentional, supportive community as we age. We’re sociable people. We enjoy lively conversation about all manner of topics. We’re actively engaged in our communities through a wide variety of volunteer activities and leisure pursuits. We want to create a stimulating social environment that will grow with us as we age.
Second, we want to occupy a smaller environmental footprint. A shared home means fewer appliances, for example, and more efficient use of resources. Our home, whether it’s a new build or, more likely, an extensive renovation, will be constructed to the highest feasible environmental standards.
Finally, it’s less of a motivator for us, but we expect our co-housing to be more economical than many alternatives.
What will it cost?
Our planning assumption is that we may be able to accomplish our goals for a total capital cost of $3 million. Assuming the participation of six units (six shares), this represents a per-unit cost of about $500,000. A unit gives occupancy rights to one or two persons. Toronto home prices are still escalating and we have much research still to do: You might assume a range of $500,000 to $600,000 to be safe.
What’s an equity co-op, and what do you mean by “co-op principles?”
Co-operatives are a form of incorporation governed in Ontario by the Cooperative Corporations Act. Members of a co-op are joint owners.We’re using the term equity co-op to indicate that the value of member shares in our co-op will appreciate with the real estate market. Co-op principles include: welcoming and open to all; democratic control (one member, one vote); equitable participation in costs and benefits, and contributing to sustainable community. The Ontario Cooperative Association (of which we are “friend” members while we are in development) has produced a “plain language” version of the seven international principles of co-ops (PDF); and we’ve collected some other resources about co-ops in a Word document if you’re interested.
Do you have a location?
Not yet, but we are clear that we want it to be in Toronto, in a highly walkable neighbourhood, with ready access to frequent transit. When we reach a critical mass of participants (five or six shares) we’ll come to consensus on the neighbourhood or neighbourhoods where we want to focus our search.
Sorry, nope. (But we may know some people you’d like.)
When will this happen?
We have three shares (or units) committed at this time and we are meeting regularly with a number of individuals who are considering whether they wish to join us. (We say it’s kinda like dating.) We expect it will take us about two years from a “go” decision until we are ready to occupy our home.
I’m interested, but not ready to commit.
Perfect! Cuz we’re not actually looking for additional members right now. But we’ve always wanted to encourage others along this path, so we’re happy to have you look on from a distance and share in what we’re learning. Follow us here it you’d like to be notified of new posts.
Is this some kind of cult?
Other than the wine thing, no. Over time we do expect to form some shared values around things like participating in the community, showing hospitality, supporting each other and generally being good neighbours. It’s a community, not a boarding house. That said, we also respect each other’s privacy and individuality. Diverse experiences and views lead to lively conversation.
Okay, since you mention it, why “Wine on the Porch?”
We want our home to have a porch and we definitely enjoy a glass of wine, but don’t take the name too seriously. Mostly it’s just a light-hearted expression– and it was available! (It’s not easy to find a unique name for a free WordPress site these days.)