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Newsletter Aug  2018

This newsletter will provide an occasional update about Unitarian Commons and inform you and prepare you for the discussion.

Features of the Community Housing Project

  • Accessible Design for all ages and abilities
  • A caring community
  • Common Spaces for group activities
  • Private spaces – separate apartments
  • Environmentally sustainable – energy-efficient, environmentally responsible
  • Structured like condos, with a board of directors

What’s Been Happening?

We were given a seed grant from CMHC (2016). It was used, in part, to study the availability of adequate accessible housing for children and young adults as well as seniors. Working with the Older Women’s Network, we reviewed building codes and disability legislation, and talked with people in the field. The Directors of Unitarian Commons determined that there is a critical need for development of universally accessible housing which facilitates community-building among people of all ages.

We are now incorporated as a non-profit organization (Aug 2017). This was necessary to enter into any legal contracts in going forward. Current Board Members include: Wayne Walder, Lorna Weigand, Sharyn Devine, Cathy Tafler, Doug Rylett, Kate Chung, and Doug Buck.

We have been in conversation with several developers, including The Daniels Corporation and Options for Homes, and looked at some sites where our housing needs could be incorporated into an existing development.

We have also talked to some churches with small and aging populations. Many such churches are considering what to do with their major asset, the church building/property. We think there is partnership potential with the right church.

The Challenges

Our process has been slow, with many insights but few tangible results to date:

  • Things move quickly in the real estate market; we have considered possible sites that were sold to other interested parties before we were able to act
  • City Planning processes are slow and complex
  • Most developers prefer to build larger high-rises to maximize their profits in an expensive real estate market. Our initial plan was for a smaller building, 30 units

To Address the Challenges, We Plan To:

  • Work with organizations who promote accessible housing who will advocate for us
  • Work with city politicians to help cut through the bureaucracy at City Hall
  • Ask our supporters to help us find possible sites and/or partners

How Can You Get Involved?

  • Tap into your network and introduce us to your contacts
  • The rule of Six Degrees of Separation means that someone you know knows someone who has information about a site that is waiting to be developed.
  • Email us at: UnitarianCommons@gmail.com
  • Plan to attend the Fall meeting to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges.
  • Consider joining our new site search committee
  • Prepare to participate and get involved

Learn More