Letter: Cohousing is a great idea, but…

Letter-writer says with most good ideas, it likely won’t happen

To the editor:

Re: UBCO civil engineer touts cohousing option, (Page A 20)

This is and would be a great addition to any community. What is the cost for someone to live like this considering seniors and the disabled who live extremely isolated lives live in low cost or subsidized housing?

I live in a B.C. housing unit where this would be a huge step up from the menial existence where over a hundred residents hardly know each other and rarely go past their front doors. Not everyone that lives here has the need for health care workers coming to their home every day and it will be many years before they will need them. This would be a huge step up in their quality of life overall for all of us.

This is common in the Netherlands with everyone from students to seniors living together in real community and interaction and has proven to work very well. I have seen some that have been built in the US as well but on a much smaller scale for those with much higher incomes. Making this type of community living would include everyone from subsidized housing to market rents creating an environment that breaks down these financial barriers and creates inclusion for everyone helping to erase stigma.

Since it is a great idea and proven to work in many cities and countries, I doubt it will ever be built here since great ideas that have been proven to work seem to get swept under the rug. Just like the multitude of tiny home designs where instead of using them to build community they double the price of building them so someone can make a killing off homeowners that build and make them carriage homes in their back yards to offset the cost of their mortgages with rents most people who live in isolation simply can’t afford.

Nice to dream of something like this concept actually becoming a reality but I wouldn’t count on it. Who knows, maybe someone will throw a few hundred thousand into another study where in the end nothing like this will ever be done but at least it will create another job for one or two people.

Ryan Allsbrook, Penticton

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