Nicole St-Amour first learned about co-operative housing in the early 1980s when a friend of hers moved into a co-op project in Montréal’s Ahuntsic neighbourhood. “I envied her quality of life, so when I heard there was a group wanting to build a new co-operative there, I joined them to help out,” she recalled. The single mother of two knew that she and her children would enjoy living in the peaceful neighbourhood close to public transportation and other services.
The project was developed thanks, in part, to funding through CMHC’s Section 95 Non Profit Housing Program. The Coopérative d’habitation Oasis Sauvé de Montréal is located on a former school lot that was transferred to the group by the City of Montréal through a 50-year lease. The 78-unit building provides safe and affordable housing to almost 150 people.
The Coopérative d’habitation Oasis Sauvé de Montréal addresses a range of housing needs. In addition to a main pavilion of 40 one- and two-bedroom apartments, there are five buildings with six units each, plus 8 four-bedroom row houses. A green space with a play structure and picnic tables offers an outdoor area for members of all ages. CMHC provides subsidies, which help the Coopérative d’habitation Oasis Sauvé to assist the members of some 20 units, such as seniors and persons with disabilities, to remain in their homes and community.
Staying true to the co-op model, members are involved in the management and maintenance of the buildings by participating in committees (finance, member selection, education, maintenance) and annual chores. “Every person, regardless of circumstances, can participate in these activities. People are happy to join in and have the opportunity for social interaction,” explained St-Amour.