First Atira housed their clients, now they’re housing their staff — could other non-profits follow suit?

With the average one-bedroom apartment now costing Vancouverites $2,600 per month, co-operatives might hold the key to affordable housing

Why It Matters

Many employees at frontline community services organizations face the same barriers as their clients when it comes to affordable housing: a steeply rising cost of living and low wages. A first-of-its-kind staff co-op could offer an alternative housing model for organizations looking to support their workers.

Little Michelle used to spend an hour travelling to work and nearly two hours getting home to her basement apartment. But thanks to a new housing co-operative, she and her partner now live in Vancouver’s Gastown neighbourhood, only minutes from Atira Women’s Resource Society, where Michelle provides cultural support to Indigenous women.

“It’s a really great building, you can have pets and there’s free laundry,” she says. “And I really appreciate that it’s an old building with the high ceilings; there’s original brick and wood too. We also have a pretty good view of the water.”

The 31-unit residential project is the first of its kind in British Columbia, if not Canada; a housing co-op founded by a non-profit on behalf of its staff.

Atira, which funds transitional housing and support services for women affected by violence and abuse,

Our social impact coverage and insights enrich thousands of change makers like you everyday. Sign up for a free account with Future of Good to continue reading this series.