People in vulnerable situations face a number of housing challenges. These range from discrimination against individuals leaving prison or treatment programs to isolation among seniors and people with disabilities. These individuals often rely on community organizations and service providers, but housing availability and cost leaves many without adequate support.
Subsidized community housing with support services can be a viable option to help many people. However, current practices and policies make it difficult to build the smaller-scale projects that are feasible in rural communities. The Community Studios Solutions Lab will help address this by offering a supportive housing solution that is feasible in smaller communities.
3 Key Goals
Reduce the costs of building supervised shared-living spaces by designing a studio apartment-style alternative.
Make better use of local labour and suppliers who are more familiar with wood-frame construction.
Find a way to simplify the management of social housing as an alternative to large-scale, complex projects.
Project scope and expected outcomes
Exploring better ways of providing community housing in rural areas
The Corporation de développement communautaire (CDC) Rivière-du-Nord is a community development corporation that works in the region north of Montreal. They are partnering with the local health agency, the local housing agency and a Solutions Lab consultant to solve 5 problems:
- The critical need for supportive and shared housing.
- The costs and duration of social housing construction projects.
- The costs of construction and access to materials and contractors outside of urban centres.
- The complexity of managing buildings when you are a housing co-operative or non-profit organization.
- The lack of flexibility in current authorized housing types.
Creating a common understanding
The Lab will take an interdisciplinary approach that is centred on people with lived experiences of the issues. Stakeholders will be engaged in both the approach and the resulting solution.
The Lab will explore using smaller building types to provide community housing in smaller centres. The intent is to create a common understanding of the Community Studios prototype among participants.
The Lab will be conducted over 5 phases:
- The Definition Phase will involve launching the project, framing the Lab’s approach and mobilizing the Lab partners. A social map of stakeholders and people with lived experience will be created. The concept of supportive studio apartments also will be explored, and the related challenges and issues will be discussed.
- The Discovery Phase will deepen the understanding of what is needed for the Community Studios proposal. A series of meetings (1-on-1 and group) will take place with potential clients and stakeholders. The results of those meetings and the feedback received will be analyzed to identify client needs with greater precision. A literature review will identify issues and existing models related to the Lab.
- The Development Phase will include a series of workshops on the essential parts of the building and related service structure. Challenges, opportunities and risks will be outlined, and a prototype will be chosen for development. Potential funding sources will also be identified.
- The Prototype Phase will design and verify the prototype. This includes producing drawings of the building, outlining its specifications and performing a cost evaluation. Stakeholders will validate the prototype at a participatory workshop.
- During the Validation Phase, the prototype will be ready for experimentation. A set of process documents will be created and the roadmap will be developed.
The final product of the Lab will be a prototype design for supportive housing with studio apartments and common spaces. A roadmap and a solution verification report will be created in the final phase of the Lab. A set of knowledge transfer tools will also be created. The entire project will be documented by 2 professors from the Université du Québec en Outaouais.
Learn more about the outcomes of that project. (Content only available in French)
Project Team : Corporation de développement communautaire Rivière-du-Nord
Location: Ste-Jérôme, QC
Project Collaborators / Partners:
- Office Municipal d’habitation de Saint-Jérome
- Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux des Laurentides
- University of Quebec in Outaouais
- Groupe de ressources techniques des Laurentides
- Table de Réflexion et d’actions de Retraités et d’Aînés
- Comité des acteurs en logement de la CDC
Solutions Lab Consultant: L’Îlot
Get More Information:
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website to learn more about the initiatives under the National Housing Strategy.