Cooperative Housing

The Cooperative Housing Movement in the Post-Industrial Period

The de-industrialisation of Canada in the 1970s and 1980s led to the deterioration of former industrial centres, by an increased unemployment of residents and deteriorating dwellings, that no one had an incentive to maintain. This process caused a push to reinvigorate the urban centres. One of these pushes for reinvigoration was the idea of Urban Renewal which produced many grand projects such as Place Ville Marie in Montreal and the Toronto Dominion Centre. These projects had a negative impact on the poorer residents of the post-industrial neighbourhoods that were targeted. First, by demolishing the neighbourhoods in large portions to make way for the projects left many of the residents displaced. Second, the introduction of these projects led to a renewed interest in the neighbourhoods and therefore attracted newcomers. In turn, the cost of the housing went up which led to poorer residents displaced for not being able to afford their rent. #Bacher1993

The Cooperative Housing Movement was a response to both the de-industrialisation of cities across Canada which left many unemployed and to the threat Urban Renewal projects posed to the poor residents of post-industrial neighbourhoods. The movement sought to make housing available at an affordable cost and in reasonable conditions. The groups involved in the movement needed to secure space for cooperative housing, and needed funding to renovate and maintain the housing. The cooperative dwellings were subsidized by government programmes, at all three levels. #Bacher1993  This kept the rent at an artificially low cost for the renters. The cooperative housing projects did not produce a profit for anyone in that whatever rent was paid for the housing was reinvested into the projects. And of course, the idea was that only those who needed the housing (i.e. those who could not afford housing at the market cost) were eligible to live in the dwellings. #Interview

Montreal was hit particularly hard by de-industrialisation and the urban renewal movement. Therefore we see a number of cooperative housing groups emerge such as the Regroupement Information Logement. The RIL was a local group that sought to implement cooperative housing in the Pointe Saint-Charles area and to an extent the Sud-Ouest borough. Many groups in other parts of the city emerged to with the same goals. Moreover, groups such as the Front d’action populaire en réaménagement urbain (FRAPRU) overlooked the Cooperative housing movement at a regional level.