Transitioning in Place: Designing a Co-operative Development for Homeless Families in Ottawa
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It is no secret that Canada is experiencing a housing crisis where people are becoming increasingly excluded from home ownership and rental housing due to the rapid escalation of real estate prices. The unaffordability of market-rate housing has pushed an increasing number of families into precarious housing situations while concurrently increasing barriers for the homeless population to access housing. Within urban city centres such as Toronto and Ottawa, the critical supply of affordable and market-rate rental housing is being eroded by the commodification of housing through processes such as “renovictions”, “demovictions” and online short-term rental platforms. This thesis explores a synthesis of non-profit cooperative housing and transitional housing to create a new affordable rental housing model for homeless families in Ottawa which operates outside of the private, profit-driven real estate market. While current models of transitional housing provide support services to help the homeless relocate to affordable housing elsewhere, the process of relocation uproots an individual from their established networks and severs personal relationships to their community that are vital in their recovery towards societal reintegration. An alternative method of “transitioning in place” creates a non-profit co-operative rental housing model that ensures housing stability for its residents who can remain indefinitely due to a shared-ownership governance structure and affordable at-cost rents, creating opportunities for long-lasting relationships that form a thriving community over time. Temporary support services such as at-home daycares, family services, counselling services, and employment services transition out of the building when they are no longer needed, allowing families to expand their personal living spaces as their spatial needs grow. Research conducted through case study documentation, site visits and interviews from co-operative and transitional housing projects strengthens the findings gathered from Ottawa’s homelessness reports to produce a design proposal for a site in Heatherington, a neighbourhood south-west of Ottawa’s downtown. The culminating final design is informed by community input, current market statistics, and proposed government action to produce a project that re-imagines community-centred rental housing that is affordable and transitional in nature, with analysis on how it can be financially realized and ultimately explores the potentials for quality housing solutions to directly challenge the deeper systemic issues of Ottawa’s housing crisis.
Cite this version of the work
Marco Chow (2021). Transitioning in Place: Designing a Co-operative Development for Homeless Families in Ottawa. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/17355