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International Housing “Hacks” Toronto Can Learn From

International Housing “Hacks” Toronto Can Learn From

Metro has complied a few “housing hacks” from around the world to give you a glimmer of hope — or inspiration — for 2017.

Students Share with Seniors

While it might put a damper on partying, the logic at NYU is student budgets are strained and retired people have space. The University has launched a pilot program that’s matching students with seniors who have spare rooms in a bid to find budget friendly housing. The idea has lots of people talking about affordable solutions to red-hot real estate markets, like Toronto’s.

Students will pay about $5,000 a year, far less than they would for on-campus housing or pricey Manhattan apartments, according the Associated Press. Better yet, most of the money going to their senior hosts.

The initiative will launch next fall with about 10 to 15 students.

Laneway Houses

Vancouver developed a policy on laneway housing back in 2009, allowing for secondary suites to be built behind most detached homes.

The city — and many others since — recognized the untapped potential: Small units that don’t need a ton of room and come at an affordable price.

The suites aren’t currently allowed under Toronto’s zoning laws, but councillors Ana Bailao and Mary-Margaret McMahon are pushing for that to change.

Communal Co-Housing

Some people bristle at the term “commune” (too hippyish) but co-housing is a thing.

Berlin is one city where its booming with about 1,000 co-housing buildings in the city, according to Co-housing Berlin’s website.

There are also 700 co-housing communities in Denmark, according to the New York Times.

Typically residents have their own private space but share common areas like kitchens, gardens and laundry rooms. The arrangements also come with a set of principles about purposeful interdependent living.

Tiny Homes for the Homeless

As Toronto struggles with packed shelters and sub-zero temperatures, one community in Washington has found what might be a model solution for the homeless.

Quixote Village, located in an industrial park outside of Olympia, opened in 2013. People who used to be homeless are now living in “micro-houses” measuring about 144 square feet each.

The village is self-governed, with help from a non-profit board and was built with money from the local government, according to the New York Times.

Community Land Trusts

In the Bay Area around San Francisco, communities have responded to skyrocketing housing prices and rents through land trusts, according to the New York Times.

It works like this: local non-profits buy land and keep it in trust on behalf of the community. Individual models vary but the goal is to provide permanent affordable housing for family after family.

Under some variations, the non-profit enters into a long-term renewable lease with tenants and the family gets only a portion of the increased property value when the home is sold.

There were about 250 such arrangements in the U.S. as of 2015, according to the National Community Land Trust Network.

Source: May Warren With Metro News

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