Shared Accommodation in Downtown Toronto: A New Approach to an Old Problem

Rooming houses are the only truly affordable housing provided by the private market. However, in the former city of Toronto, they are often chaotic living environments that make it difficult for tenants, many of whom are recovering from mental health and/or addiction problems. Landlords generally do not have the skills and capacity to provide social supports to their tenants and are often overwhelmed by this additional burden of “social property management”.

Principal Organization: Toronto Christian Resource Centre

Investigators: Phil Nazar, Jacques Tremblay and Paul Denison

Participants: Low income singles living in downtown Toronto in  rooming houses

Research Methods: Interviews

Shared Accommodation in Downtown Toronto

Report release and networking session


  1. There is also the tiny house movement.

    Many of the tiniest of these tiny dwellings haven’t a washroom or toilet, although most do have a range and kitchen sink. Were it possible to get government to free up land or for private developers to be given the incentive, block neighbourhoods or tiny villages could be created with these tiny homes, all using recycled or scavenged materials. They’d surround communal food gardens and a commons building containing washrooms, laundry, recreational, exercise and a kitchen for community meals.

    In other words, such developments could be built along the lines of the co-housing principle. (Co-housing isn’t the same as co-op housing). However in this case, the goal would be to make the living spaces cheap enough that anyone, even those living in the lowest decile of income, could afford to live there.

    I’ve yearned for a tiny place all my life, a place just like one of those tiny houses and where I and my furry animal companion can live in peace. One hundred square feet would be ample for me. However, at age 60, I doubt I’ll realize that dream. Our politicians lack the courage of vision.

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