Many older homeowners are interested in exploring housing options that could help them age at home, such as homesharing, or renting out secondary suites and coach houses. But uptake remains low for many reasons. This new lab will identify simple, scalable paths forward with advantages for seniors’ health, housing and the environment.
SFU Renewable Cities and Hollyburn Community Services Society launched the Housing Solutions Lab in January 2023. It runs until 2024 with workshops and interviews with seniors to identify barriers, solutions and a roadmap to scale solutions province-wide.
Please consider participating in this important lab by requesting a workshop invitation and/or filling in a 10-minute survey.
Our two-hour workshops begin in March 2023 and feature:
We’ll share our learnings from each project phase and give you opportunities to connect with future lab activities.
We will explore housing opportunities for homeowners (55+) living on the North Shore who are interested in options such as secondary suites, coach houses and homesharing.
We are inviting interested older adults on the North Shore to identify barriers and collaborate on solutions through surveys, workbooks and workshops.
The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation has contributed catalytic project financing to the Hollyburn Community Service Society. Additional funding partners include Vancity and the North Family Foundation.
Our goal is to co-create a roadmap for solutions that build social connection, address housing affordability, offer options for aging in place and positively benefit the climate.
Why does this matter?
Live on the North Shore and interested in contributing to this project? See the options below:
Our initial workshops, workbooks and surveys will run until early March 2023.
Stay tuned for:
Stay tuned for stories on Housing Solutions Lab: Northshore Homeowner Options
Questions? Contact Rebekah Parker, Events and Engagement Coordinator: email@example.com
Project goal: Bridge the chasm between climate action and affordability with solutions that cost effectively take advantage of immense under-utilized assets across our communities.
Renewable Cities and Hollyburn Community Services Society are working with older adult homeowners living in single detached homes to identify and address barriers that prevent them from considering options such as home sharing, secondary suites and accessory dwelling units (ADUs). Housing solutions for older adults support aging in place, foster social cohesion, advance climate action and support broader public health goals, such as increasing active transportation and preventing loneliness and isolation.
Housing risk is growing for many populations, notably older adults, due to an aging population, inadequate affordable housing supply and rising living costs. Limited public resources and high land values challenge affordable non-market and market rental solutions.
Older adult homelessness in B.C. has quadrupled in the past decade, and thousands of seniors living on the North Shore are at risk of homelessness. B.C.’s seniors’ population is growing. There is an urgent need to explore new, integrated approaches to affordable housing for seniors.
More than half of single detached homes across Canada are occupied by one and two-person households. Older adults occupy a disproportionately large share of these single detached homes due to housing and demographic conditions such as: kids leaving home or a partner dying or moving to care home.
Older adult homeowners create secondary suites or accessory dwelling units (ADUs) at much lower rates than younger Canadians due to a range of barriers such as socio-cultural norms around living in a single detached home capacity to be a landlord at age 70+, real and perceived legal risks and relationship management with potential tenants.
This project’s primary goal is generating housing for those in greatest need by unlocking options for new housing units in single detached homes owned by low-income older adults. This project aims to better characterize barriers and develop a roadmap that contributes to integrated, systemic solutions. We will learn from collective knowledge on home sharing, secondary suites and accessory dwelling units (ADUs) in older adults’ single detached homes.
This project supports the following National Housing Strategy priority areas:
This project will foster relationships among older adults to reduce social isolation and support economic inclusion and wellbeing. In the short term, the project will empower older adults to maintain independence while developing new relationships that benefit well-being and mental health. For example, homesharing facilitates shared expenses, affordable housing, companionship, safety and security, self-determination and independence for older adults. Service delivery will be incorporated into the program structure. In addition, homesharing solutions will help address social isolation and loneliness for solo older adults, which is particularly important given the disproportionate health impact the 2021 B.C. heat dome had on isolated people.
Our sustainability goals are:
Single detached homes are the most greenhouse gas intensive dwelling type; doubling occupancy of a one-person household would result in the reduction of building greenhouse gases per capita by almost half. Using underutilized existing homes eases demand for new home construction and reduces urban sprawl – two major sources of GHG emissions.
Adding secondary suites or accessory dwelling units in mature single-family neighbourhoods has potential to cut transportation costs and carbon emissions, increasing walkability through proximity to key destinations and infrastructure. Many of these neighbourhoods face reducing population as residents age and move to other areas.
Thirty-nine percent of senior homeowners with mortgages are in core housing need in B.C. Twenty percent of B.C. seniors spend 30% of income or more on housing.
The 2011 North Shore Seniors at Risk of Homelessness Assessment found that “fixed income seniors who have been long-time residents of the North Shore are increasingly at risk of losing their housing as they face rising real estate costs, increases in rent, property taxes and changes to the Residential Tenancy Act. The number of seniors experiencing core housing needs has been steadily increasing.”
This project is exploring solutions such as how local non-profits that could manage and support secondary suites or home sharing arrangements for older adults while also generating revenue for homeowners.
This project can immediately generate new affordable housing alternatives for older adults. In the medium term, there is high potential for creating affordable housing units in Canada through good policy and program design. More than half of B.C.’s 830,000 single detached homes—and 7.5 million across Canada—have only one or two occupants, many of those older adults and empty nesters. Adding a secondary suite or a home share to just 10 percent of homes could create 85,000 new housing units in B.C. and 750,000 in Canada, increasing housing stock and revenue streams for homeowners.
Older adult homelessness is rising due to lack of available and affordable housing. Innovative solutions to increasing inventory of affordable housing can reduce homelessness. For example, innovative new units on single detached land parcels, wrap around services , and mitigating home sharing issues.
Affordable housing supply is a major constraint on regional prosperity, with provincial and national implications. This project would contribute to regional housing supply, increasing discretionary income and supporting economic growth. Two older adults in a home sharing environment will reduce day to day living expenses, providing more money to spend in the community.
This project aims to build, strengthen and mobilize rich partnerships across the North Shore, Metro Vancouver and B.C. Scaling is a priority: the housing and demographic conditions that create this immense, untapped opportunity exist in many communities across B.C. and Canada, in cities, towns and rural areas.
This social innovation project will help advance a creative and emergent process, bringing together diverse institutional players and meaningfully engage with end users.
Social innovation labs are an innovative approach to tackling complex societal challenges that require systems change. They provide a safe space for diverse perspectives to come together, for assumptions to be questioned and to experiment with housing solutions. – CMHC
The lab will focus their efforts on the following:
The result will be better understanding of barriers as well as best practices to inform successful policy and programs for replication across B.C. and Canada.
Key aspects of our methodology include:
For more information, please contact Rebekah Parker (firstname.lastname@example.org) at Renewable Cities.