Co-housing / Co-living
Co-housing and Co-Living have different origins; however, many of the principal features are similar:
Individually owned or rented personal spaces and larger, shared common areas.
Residents have organized activities, shared meals and access to transportation on their own terms
There are six defining characteristics to cohousing:
- Co-developed, co-designed, and co-organized with the group. Genuine and authentic participating process.
- Extensive common facilities that supplement and facilitate the daily living. Common facilities are perceived as an extension of each household’s own private house.
- Designed to facilitate community interactions (not auto-oriented, but every electric wheelchair, Segway or other personal vehicle necessary to keep the site auto-free except in rare occasions.)
- Completely resident managed
- No hierarchy in decision making
- No shared economy
Tafadzwa Machipisa and Constance Jain
The two individuals involved in a Home sharing arrangement are the Home Sharer (owner) and the Home Seeker
For Home Sharers this is one of the ways to foster resilient aging. Many older people living alone find that family and friends are too far away to give the help, companionship and security they need.
The needs of older people vary, but some of the most common include:
help with household tasks such as cooking, shopping, cleaning, gardening, and caring for pets
companionship and friendship
personal care – for those who are more dependent
security – for example having someone in the house at night
an additional source of income
As HomeShare Canada says:
“Homeshare protects the autonomy of older people. It builds self-esteem by reminding older people how much they have to give. And, given that most homesharers are younger people, it develops respect, empathy, and understanding between the generations.
Because each Homeshare match is unique and personal to those involved, there are often hidden benefits where both parties gain much more than they expected.”
If I’m not happy can I ask them to leave?
YES. You as the home owner, are not a landlord. An agreement to share does not make the person you have allowed to share your home a tenant with tenant’s rights. You are entitled to ask the person sharing their home to move out at any time.
To find out more about McMaster Symbiosis you can visit their Facebook page,
email them at email@example.com or call 6476484421
To find other Home Share programs in Canada visit Home Share Canada
Housing Alternatives in Hamilton Area
Housing Programs in Hamilton Area
City of Hamilton
Housing Options for Older Adults in Hamilton
Prepared by The Senior’s Advisory Committee
This resource guide provides important information about housing and housing alternatives such as “Home Sharing”, for seniors in Hamilton, Ontario. It is meant to help you to stay in your own home as long you are able, then, as circumstances change, help you to gather as much information as possible to help you better understand your options and assist you with decisions about your housing.
Some of the contents:
- Co-operative housing
- Emergency housing
- Garden suites
- Home sharing
- Life lease housing
- Renovating – staying in your current home
- Tips to keep your home safe
To view the brochure, visit this link or click on the image of the Housing Options.
Halton HomeShare Program
The Halton HomeShare Program is a partnership between Halton Region, Halton Housing Help, and Burlington Age-Friendly Council. Currently being offered throughout Halton, this program works to match older adults with renters who can help with household responsibilities. Halton Housing Help screens applicants and provides follow-up monitoring services.
They also offer the HomeShare Toolkit which you can use either on your own or with the help of a family member or friend to negotiate homesharing.
Contact: Heather Thompson, Manager, Age-Friendly Initiatives
Office: Mon-Fri 8:30 am-4:30 pm
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org 1-855-395-8807
McMaster Symbiosis – McMaster University Intergenerational Home Matching
For many seniors with spare rooms in their homes, a common desire is to make better use of that empty space. With McMaster Symbiosis, a co-housing program that matches students and seniors for a mutually-beneficial living arrangement, seniors with the extra space can do just that.
McMaster Symbiosis aims to foster “symbiotic” intergenerational relationships between compatible seniors and students in a living arrangement that improves quality of life for both parties.
Candidates are matched based on compatible “profiles” based off personal preferences and hobbies; once a pair is created, the two parties spend time together to see if the partnership is suitable in real-life. Ensuring the highest quality matches is of utmost importance to McMaster Symbiosis; students are also thoroughly vetted to alleviate some qualms seniors may have about inviting a stranger to live in their homes. Once a compatible match is created, personalized contracts are drafted as volunteers with McMaster Symbiosis continue to check-in and offer their support throughout every stage of the partnership.
McMaster University School of Graduate Studies – Program Updates:
- New program helps local seniors and grad students make home a little sweeter
- Symbiosis: Grad Students and Seniors Co-Housing Program
Hamilton Spectator Article, June 2018
- Seniors and students find it’s all good, living together: Seniors, students living together through Symbiosis co-housing pilot project
Abbeyfield Canada Small Assisted Living Homes
Abbeyfield is an Aging in Community model that offers private bedsitting rooms communal spaces for dining and visiting. There is a “House Coordinator” who maintains the house and cooks two hot meals a day (breakfast is self-serve). Housing alternatives like Abbeyfield strengthen social connections and encourage mutual support between the residents. The costs are relatively low due to the volunteers who contribute their time to the running and upkeep of the homes.
Hamilton does not yet have an Abbeyfield house; however, there are homes in nearby Durham, Caledon and Toronto which can be visited. The homes list their vacancies on the website along with amenities and costs.
Abbeyfield Houses Society of Canada was established in 1984. The first House in Sidney, BC, was established in 1987. There are currently 40 Canadian Societies and 25 Houses operating or under construction.
The Abbeyfield concept is very simple. Typically, up to fourteen residents of retirement age live in their own private bed-sitting rooms furnished with their own things. The residents share lunch and dinner, plus a self-serve breakfast from a well-stocked breakfast bar. Snacks and drinks are also available throughout the day. A House Coordinator attends to the daily running of the house, the shopping and the preparation and serving of meals. Privacy and independence are preserved yet the gentle supportive domestic atmosphere provides companionship and freedom from worries and chores. Tel: 905.864.0100
Lakeside House was built in 1991 by Abbeyfield Houses Society of Toronto.
The House is located in the lovely Toronto Hunt Club residential neighbourhood, on a quiet tree-lined street, near the intersection of Warden Avenue and Kingston Road. It is a short walk from the frequent bus service along Kingston Road and steps to a spectacular view of Lake Ontario. The House accommodates ten residents. Each resident has a private, self-furnished bed-sitting room with a sink and shares a three piece bathroom with another resident. There is a full elevator that services all three floors and there is wheelchair accessibility throughout the house and to the garden. The House features a bright spacious living room and dining room, extensive gardens and a sunny patio.
Our House Coordinator, Mavienne Knowles, is responsible for the grocery shopping, preparing two delicious meals each day and also acts as the caretaker of the building. She provides a friendly and attentive sense of security. Residents have privacy and freedom to live an independent life in a caring and supportive environment with the companionship of others.
Lakeside House is a not-for-profit residence and receives a subsidy from the City of Toronto. As a result, our fee for rent and services is well below market value.
To arrange to visit Lakeside House or to obtain more information, please contact Bill Statten, President of Abbeyfield Houses of Toronto at 416 895 9877. Abbeyfield Houses of Toronto is managed by a volunteer Board of Directors that welcomes volunteers in a variety of roles, such as house maintenance, gardening, funding raising, marketing and Board Members.
If you are interested in volunteering, please contact us at 416 895 9877.
The Golden Horseshoe Co-operative Housing Federation
What is a housing co-op and is it for you?
Housing Co-ops have long been a favourite housing alternative for older Canadians. It offers social connection, security, interdependence and mutual support. Many are age-friendly; the management is often led by seniors.
Anyone can apply to live in a housing co-op. People of all backgrounds and cultures help to maintain the diversity often found in co-ops. Most co-ops have no maximum or minimum income levels to qualify. Co-ops can usually accommodate people with physical disabilities and special needs.
From the outside, a housing co-op looks like any other apartment building or townhouse development. However, a housing co-op is different.
Most co-ops have a waiting list of people who would like to move into the co-op. These lists are usually divided into two categories; people who can pay the full or “market” rent, and people who will need a subsidy.
Subsidy (or rent supplement) is money that the government pays to help lower the rents for people with low incomes. Each co-op has an agreement with the government that outlines the amount of money available and who can qualify.
Co-ops are controlled by their residents, who are members with a voice and a vote in decisions about their housing. There is no outside landlord. Co-op housing offers a home, not an investment. In a typical Canadian co-op, from one-quarter to three-quarters of households pay a reduced monthly charge, based on their income. The others pay the full monthly charge set when the members approve the co-op’s yearly operating budget. Housing co-ops operate as close to cost as possible. The full monthly housing charge rises only as the co-op’s costs increase.
The residents of a housing co-op are members of the co-operative corporation which owns the whole co-op. The co-op leases each unit to a member household. Members do not own their units.
To view a list of Housing Cooperatives in the Hamilton area, addresses and contact info, please click here.