Thunder Bay Co-Housing Initiative

Date: January 28, 2020

The Thunder Bay Cohousing Initiative, based at LUF, invites all interested to attend our first public Cohousing Potluck and Information Session on Tuesday, January 28th at 5.30 pm. at Unitarian House. We will give an overview of our progress to date, and begin the first of our study sessions “Aging in Place/in Community”. Margaret Wanlin will be our facilitator. Please register by calling our cell 632-2389 or speak with Rosemary Burris.

BACKGROUND: Contact has been established with J.P. Melville, Executive Director of Abbeyfield, in the Ottawa area. Abbeyfield is a small scale, not-for-profit home, for independent seniors, who choose to live in shared accommodation, and have low to modest income.
A meeting with Mr. Melville is scheduled for Thursday, February 20, 2020. Time and place are yet to be determined. Most of us want to maintain control and choice within our lives as we age. Few, if any, wish to spend their last years, months or even days in a long term care facility. Still, that is where many elderly reside.
Ample advice is available throughout the employment years to build a financial portfolio, just so that after age 65, a comfortable retirement can be enjoyed – but building a social portfolio should be equally important. It is a proven fact that being in community in the later part of one’s life keeps people healthier and less lonely. Sharing living space with a number of individuals is one way to address the need for social connection.
The Thunder Bay Co-Housing Initiative, established in 2018 under the banner of the Lakehead Unitarian Fellowship, is researching all aspects of this “living together phenomena”.
It is expected that people living in a co-housing community will have their independence by living in their private suites while sharing a communal space that acts as a focal point for gatherings, usually a large kitchen and dining room. By way of a survey it has become clear that “co-renting”, rather than “co-owning”, is the preferred choice for the group.
We have had the good fortune to connect with local architect John Stephenson, with whom the practicalities of building new vs. renovating an existing structure has been discussed. The Thunder Bay Co Housing Initiative group is well aware that many attempts to establish co- housing do not work. The cost associated with acquiring property is a frightening deterrent factor. With so much attention given to all forms of housing and healthy aging for seniors in the last little while, it is hoped that the stars will align and that a co-housing series of suites will become a reality in the not too distant future. Do come and attend the potluck dinner meeting on January 28. Pyteke Blaauw

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