Housing options like home sharing, secondary suites and coach houses have the potential to offer scalable solutions to 3 urgent and critical challenges: housing supply and affordability, carbon emissions and seniors’ health. Hollyburn Community Services Society and Renewable Cities are partnering to design and deliver a Solutions Lab that focuses on increasing the adoption of different housing options by solo and couple seniors living in single-detached homes on Vancouver’s North Shore. This Lab will design and prototype scalable solutions, unlock implementation pathways, address barriers and encourage replication across B.C. and Canada.
3 Key Findings
Co-develop a housing model that keeps seniors in their homes longer, reducing the risk of housing insecurity and homelessness.
Create moderate occupancy intensification to accommodate households in need of core housing while contributing to the social and economic inclusion of seniors.
Create a road map to systematic affordable housing solutions that build holistic partnerships.
Project scope and expected outcomes
Creating partnerships with seniors for affordable housing solutions
Single detached dwellings are the largest share of housing stock on Vancouver’s North Shore. Almost 60% are occupied by 1 or 2 people, who are mostly seniors. This project aims to better understand opportunities, barriers and design solutions for seniors living in detached homes. They would be interested in home sharing and building secondary suites or coach houses. We know many seniors are willing to explore options, but uptake remains low.
The project seeks to design programs, foster partnerships and create action roadmaps. These empower seniors to move forward on home sharing and building secondary suites or coach houses. The Lab addresses multiple opportunities including:
- Affordability: Creating new, more affordable housing units and creating income for senior homeowners.
- Climate action: Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by creating housing units in existing homes and reducing senior vulnerability to extreme heat events.
- Health for seniors: reducing social isolation, connecting solo seniors with tenants through social exchange arrangements and building the capacity for seniors to age in place.
To bridge the gap in housing security for both seniors who own their homes and those in need of affordable housing, the Hollyburn Family Services Society has proposed a roadmap. It’ll strengthen and build examples of housing solutions. This Lab’s process will include:
- meaningful engagement with institutions required to facilitate home sharing and support
- collaboration with end-users, partners and stakeholders to help them understand the project outcomes
- multi-layered communications outreach including graphic designs, written works and visual storytelling
- a collaborative approach to design thinking that will improve end-user participation
If 1 in 10 single detached homes occupied by solos or couples provided additional housing through home sharing, secondary suites or coach houses, it could create about:
- 1,500 new affordable units across Vancouver’s North Shore
- 15,000 across Metro Vancouver
- 50,000 across B.C.
This project aims to help the scaling and replication of similar programs. These feature well-developed designs and constitute the most cost-effective, untapped opportunity for addressing affordability, climate action and senior health.
The Lab occurs in 5 phases:
- The Definition Phase will include project initiation and collaboration with CMHC, the development of a project charter, an engagement strategy, communications plan and will mobilize participants.
- A Discovery Phase will focus on creating a baseline analysis of essential conditions such as demography, housing, socioeconomics and health. This phase will also see the creation of case studies with comparative living situations and participant interviews.
- In the Development Phase, the project team will update profiles based on the workshops completed in previous phases, create a high-level list of housing-sharing options and support tools. This phase will communicate and host key stakeholder workshops to co-design end-user tools and review the project’s findings.
- The Prototype and Testing Phase will draft a mind map of homeowner profiles and housing solutions, coupled with a cost and benefits study. This phase will also include a workshop to test the roadmap of solutions against homeowner and renter profiles as well as communicate pivotal actions needed to validate the housing solutions proposed.
- The Road Map Phase of the Lab will produce a comprehensive road map with housing options and illustrations to demonstrate the recommended wrap-around services required for implementation. This phase will also share the key findings and visual aids created throughout the Lab among key stakeholder audiences and close with a case student, project evaluation and wrap up with the next steps.
- Leya Eguchi – Hollyburn Community Services Society
- Joy Hayden – Hollyburn Community Services Society
- Alex Boston – Renewable Cities, SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue
- Leanne Swatzky – Renewable Cities, SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue
Get More Information:
Visit the National Housing Strategy’s Innovation page.
Search our Housing Knowledge Centre for important updates on the progress of this lab.