Values

Solidarity, Decentralization, Autonomy, Flexibility

1. Solidarity

Image by Camille Brodard

Acting in solidarity means supporting others because we have a stake in their thriving.

We're using the word solidarity to emphasize the potential of mutually supportive relationships between those that own housing and those that don’t. Solidarity is neither self-interested profit nor benevolent charity.

This model won’t be right for everyone. From the perspective of their pocketbook, it will typically be more profitable for homeowners to sell, rent, or pursue other options on the private market.

 

That said, we know there are homeowners who don’t need or want a large financial gain from their home, but they can’t afford to simply give it away, either. For many, their home is their main asset and their nest egg.

Image by Eilis Garvey

The structure of monthly payments provides homeowners a way to share what they have, while receiving long-term income.

2. Decentralization

Ownership by land trusts, cooperatives, or other non-profit structures ensures that the home will be used for affordable housing in perpetuity.

Image by Landon Parenteau

Rather than one big

land trust, we envision a decentralized network of organizations controlled locally, by the communities in which housing is based.

We’re working and living on the West Coast of BC, so that’s where our focus is, but if you’re living elsewhere and you’re interested in this model, please reach out to us.

We want the tools we create to be open-source, and we’re open to sharing what we have.

Image by Matt Artz

If you use our materials, we ask that you commit to sharing what you come up with too, so that this model can be tried in as many places as possible.

3. Autonomy

This model arose, in part, from our frustration and disappointment in government policymaking to address the crisis of affordability, precarity, and gentrification.

We want something that doesn’t rely on new reforms, policies, funding, or sympathetic developers.

Because it’s a transaction mechanism between homeowners and non-profits, this model can work at arm’s length from governments, developers, and other funding bodies. This is important to us because it means these models are insulated from cutbacks, deregulation, and housing booms and busts. That said, additional funding could help deepen affordability by reducing monthly payments, or making more transitions financially viable.

4. Flexibility

Image by Steve Harvey

Rather than a one-size-fits all model, we’re after a toolkit that can be adapted to different needs and circumstances

Some examples:

A homeowner wants to move out and downsize, but they don’t want their sturdy, well-built home to be torn down by a developer or future owner. The land trust renovates and retrofits the house for new residents, and the homeowner moves on, receiving monthly payments to support them in retirement, with assurance that their home will be well taken care of in the years to come.

A homeowner wants to keep living in their house, but it’s way more space than they need. A cooperative creates multiple suites and the homeowner becomes a member of the housing coop. The homeowner can remain in their home, and other members can move into other suites.

A landlord can no longer take care of repairs and rent collection, but they need some income. The tenants want to keep living in their house and take care of it. The tenants form a cooperative, which takes responsibility for caring for the home and makes monthly payments to the former landlord.

 

New residents can make repairs and improvements, and sell their member share if they want to move out. The coop regulates the resale value of coop memberships, so that the home remains affordable to the future residents.