Co:Here has drawn on the experience of its partner, Salsbury Community Society, which has extensive experience in operating community houses in the neighbourhood. Co:Here has also gathered input from a number of people on what is important for them in a home. Internal workshops have been held to clarify vision and to draft operational plans and budgets. Neighbourhood consultations resulted in design changes that incorporated suggestions.

Vision

To foster human flourishing through the creation of affordable housing communities by committing to the care for the whole person.

Mission

To respond to the crisis of homelessness through the construction of an affordable and holistic housing community of 26 units on the southwest corner of Victoria Drive and 1st Avenue East that will help foster human flourishing.

Residents

The residents will have roots in the Grandview-Woodlands neighbourhood and who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. They will desire to engage in affordable housing that provides not only a home, but the opportunity to belong to a community. The residents will be committed to participating and collective decision-making in community life.

Co-Residents

The co-residents will be individuals, couples and small families who are drawn by a vision of living in community where life is shared with people of diverse economic backgrounds and live in an open-handed and simplified lifestyle. Co-residents will be people of faith and the “co” affirms the non-heirarchal nature of the community with equality being mutually intrinsic in this vision.

Goals

  • To provide economically sustainable housing for the homeless and those at risk of homelessness in the Grandview-Woodland neighbourhood.
  • To create a community that fosters mutual support and the common good among a socio-economically diverse group of residents.
  • To provide housing committed to the reduction of negative environmental impact.
  • To offer a prototype of an alternative, refreshing model of sustainable and affordable housing.

Affordable Housing

Co:Here envisions addressing housing and transformation through community living.

Affordable housing is well-known as one of the biggest challenges facing the homeless and those at-risk-of-homelessness in Vancouver today. However, significant issues that are often overlooked are the feelings of loneliness and isolation that go hand-in-hand with homelessness and poverty. Isolation has been called the hallmark of North American urban poverty and is a problem that cannot be solved by simply putting a roof over someone’s head.

Homelessness, Loneliness & Isolation

BC Non-Profit Housing Association: The Preliminary Data Report for the 2017 Homeless Count in Metro Vancouver prepared by BCNPHA and M. Thomson Consulting found 3,605 people homeless in the region-wide count, an increase of 30% from the previous 2014 count. *
BCNPHA: 2017 Metro Vancouver Homeless Count.
Homeless Count 2017 Video

Application Process & Tenant Selection

Salsbury Community Society is overseeing the application process and tenant selection. Gatherings will be facilitated for tenants that will shape, foster and sustain the spirit of the community. In order to ensure that all tenants selected will be active participants in and contributors to this unique community, a fair and transparent tenant selection process is being established. Please go to the Salsbury website (salsbury.ca) or contact Salsbury by email (info@salsburycs.ca) for more information and updates.

Community Formation

To create a community that fosters mutual support and the common good among a socio-economically diverse group of residents. This will be achieved through a rhythm of life in communal spaces, which fosters a sense of belonging, community, friendship, and a shared stewardship of the building.

Living in community has been one of the most formative experiences of my life. As a teenager I shared a house with a wide variety of people over the years; people from our church community, people struggling with mental illness, addictions, and living on welfare. It has taught me what it means to extend and receive grace, how to see our common humanity in those who might seem different from me.

Erin

One afternoon our 7 year old son and 9 year old housemate played in a neighbourhood park. Someone asked them whether they were siblings. Our housemate replied, “No…well, we live together and we’re like family, well, … we love each other.”

Neufelds

We tried to construct a dynamic of “family” and community sharing and care within and against a culture of relentless individualism.

Dave