Solidarity Housing is a new model that supports homeowners in transitioning their homes to become permanently affordable housing
Skyrocketing housing prices have fueled higher rents, gentrification, renovictions and demovictions.
The Solidarity Housing project is a response to the ongoing housing crisis.
Lower-income renters are displaced to make way for expensive condos and luxury single-family homes.
2,182 apartment units demolished
1,144 rentals lost
in Burnaby between 2010 and 2019.
~10,000 vacant homes
In addition to high rent, renters face low vacancy rates and housing instability: it’s difficult and stressful to find rental housing, and even if they’re able to find a decent place, it’s always precarious, because there’s always a chance the home will be sold out from under them. This makes it difficult to cultivate long-term connections to a place:
why put down roots if you’ll have to move again in a couple of years?
We’re convinced that regular people (including homeowners) don’t really benefit from all this, at least not in a holistic way.
Over the last decade, many homeowners have seen the value of their homes skyrocket, but they’ve also seen their neighbourhoods gutted. They might be able to sell their house for a hefty sum, but selling your home to the highest bidder doesn’t do anything to support the communities they love, and it doesn’t help those of us who are being pushed out.
We want to create more space for solidarity when it comes to homes and property.
We’ve talked to homeowners who are looking for a meaningful way to respond to this crisis, but there aren’t many options right now. Some become landlords and charge below-market rent, but this isn’t always a sustainable or practical option. Others give to charity, or they set up their will so that their home will be given to a foundation when they pass away, but what about homeowners who want to do something now, and offer something different than charity?
How can we be more creative about how we think about private property and housing?
How can we disentangle housing from speculation and profiteering?
How can we create more dignified, stable alternatives to the landlord-tenant relationship?
How can we connect overhoused homeowners to those that need stable housing?
How can homeowners leverage their homes to support others to live well?
A new path to affordable housing
With these questions in mind, we are creating a new model that supports homeowners in transitioning their homes to become permanently affordable housing.
How it works:
Interested homeowners work with Solidarity Housing to determine if the model meets their needs and whether the transition is financially viable.
If it’s workable, Solidarity Housing works with the homeowner to transition ownership of the home to a community land trust or housing cooperative. The homeowner might remain in a portion of the house, or move elsewhere.
New residents move in and support the project with affordable rent or lease payments.
The original homeowner receives a portion of these payments, enabling them to feel secure and plan for their future.