More and more people are feeling the effects of a severe shortage of affordable housing on the North Shore.
Teachers, construction workers, students and a broadening swath of the economic spectrum struggle to find a place to live anywhere near where they work or study.
Beyond being stressful for them, the situation also ramps up the pressure on our roads, bridges and transit system, as people priced out of the North Shore must commute from wherever they can find a home within their means.
Political promises to increase the housing supply may be a step in the right direction, but do little to address immediate needs.
Land assembly, zoning changes, permit processing and actual construction all take time, adding up to years of delay before a promised “house” is ready for occupancy.
It seems we need a far quicker and more flexible (partial) solution.
Rather than thinking solely in terms of high-rise buildings or dense redevelopment, a large number of very small “projects” could make a significant contribution to local housing stock, and quickly.
I look out at my yard and can easily picture a micro-home (less that 200 sq.ft.) tucked in a corner.
Such a structure could be brought on a truck, set on concrete piles, connected to services and be used within a month.
I get a modest rent and someone gets a home they can afford, for minimum fuss.
Actually doing something like that would be far easier if there were a streamlined process organized by the municipal governments, accompanied by real encouragement to participate.
Incentives could be developed to ensure that small projects did not just become Airbnb, but really served our housing needs.
The best communities always seem to be those where many people contribute to solving local issues, rather than expecting “the government” to solve it all for them.
Making room for new people in under-utilized parts of our neighbourhood would be one way of taking responsibility for a problem that affects us all.
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