Re: Single mothers
From: Russell Mawby (
Date: Thu, 29 Aug 1996 12:58:31 -0500
In light of further comments to this list on this, to me, very important
subject, I decided to post my response to Deborahs' private response to my
comments.  I think this issue is important because it gets at the very heart
of how and why we build our homes and communities, whether we call them
cohousing or not.  As I have said before on this list, to me, this
"community" issue is the most important question of our times, one which
cohousing is acting as a very powerful way of addressing, critiquing and

* * * 

In short, Deborah's comment was that the typical house in her part of the
world was probably not suitable for multiple "household" occupancy - too
small, on too small a lot.

* * *

How about two houses (or three) side by side?  You could tear down the
fences, and *slowly*  - you don't want to get the planning dept. involved,
convert that space to common space - inhabit the "garage", etc.

Buying existing is usually much less expensive than building new, and can
actually make the process much easier.  This might help in your application
for grant monies - less expensive, more cost-effective (reuse,
rehabilitation, etc.).

Part of the trick is not to be too upfront about your final intentions -
ie., this is *not* a group home, etc. (even if it is).  The other part of
the trick is to be imaginative about how you can use a space/place to
support your *real* needs and desires.

This is one of the approaches I have faciliated in Toronto, and am actively
pursuing here in Saskatoon (similar problem here re: house size - most are
post 1903, single-family).  In fact, I am trying to get the City to step up
and actively support this particular solution to housing needs, not just for
single moms, but for any group (seniors in particular) that can see some
benefit in co-habitation.  I am also working with our Provincial government
(equiv. to State) to rejig the Land Titles Act to allow for shared
ownership, and thus more straightforward shared financing.  

Part of my argument is that it happens everytime a Husband and Wife buy a
property together, even if common-law, so why not extend the same privilege
to any mutally agreed upon contractual arrangement?

The fact that I now actually work for our City administration might be of
help to you, since municipalities tend to pay attention to what other
municipalities are doing, but again, you may want to avoid getting involved
with those guys altogether.

Russell Mawby                   Ph : (306) 975-7666
Housing Facilitator             Fax: (306) 975-7712
City of Saskatoon
Planning and Building Dept.             
222 - 3rd Avenue North                  
Saskatoon, SK  S7K 0J5          russ.mawby [at]

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