MY NAN RAN ONE OF THESE ON EAST TERRACE IN ADELAIDE MANY YEARS AGO, OPPOSITE THE EAST PARK LANDS. SOME PEOPLE LIKED THE SOCIAL ASPECT OF COMMUNITY LIVING, SHARING MEALS TOGETHER AND HAVING THE COMPANY OF OTHERS TO TALK TO AND TIMES WERE HARD. TODAY, MANY PEOPLE EXPERIENCE LONELINESS AND SO MANY LIVE ON UNEMPLOYMENT WITH MINIMAL INCOME. GOVERNMENT LEADERS, LETS LOOK AT THIS – IT’S A GOOD ALTERNATIVE.
I found this Story On Coast Community New (Central Coast)
When I left the bush for the bright lights, it was to Brisbane in 1959. There were only two beggars that I saw.
They were both at or near the southern end of the old Victoria Bridge, and by the end of 1960, they were both gone. I did not see another beggar until the late 1970s near Central Station, Sydney, at the beginning of the Economic Rationalist era. Men would come up and ask for a dollar. Now beggars and homeless people can be seen everywhere. So much for progress. Back in the 1960’s and 70’s, pensioners and minimum wage earners could find a bed in boarding houses in the inner suburbs. The room might be shared but the bed was warm and the roof waterproof. These days the inner suburbs are gentrified and any remaining boarding houses are fire-regulated out of existence. What’s available these days? Perhaps a place in a share house or flat, subject to approval by the other inhabitants. What’s it like for someone on the wrong side of 50 to find such accommodation? I shudder to think. I have seen single people’s flats built by the Housing Commission: Very luxurious bedroom, living area, bathroom and kitchen for each person, must be very expensive. No wonder the government is not building them by the thousands. So there’s a 10-year wait. How about modernising the old boarding house idea? Small single bedrooms with shared bathrooms and toilets, shared kitchens, and a person to collect the rent, clean the place, and keep order and garages for extra rent for those who don’t want to let go of their cars. Surely such places could be built at ultimately little or no cost to the taxpayer?
Is It Time To Bring Back The Boarding House?
Is creating an abundance of affordable, sustainable housing as easy as striking a few municipal rules? Alan Durning says yes. In his new ebook, Unlocking Home: Three Keys to Affordable Housing, the renowned writer, lecturer and founder of the Sightline Institute argues that cities have “effectively banned what used to be the bottom end of the private housing market” by putting restrictions on boarding houses and how many roommates can inhabit a house.
Drawing inspiration from earlier times when boarding houses were commonplace, Durning paints a picture of housing density, shared quarters and sustainability. His three keys to creating affordable communities are: re-legalizing rooming or boarding houses; uncapping the number of roommates who may share a dwelling; and welcoming accessory apartments, such as in-law flats or garden cottages.
While the idea of a limitless number of roommates may be a nightmare-inducing thought for some, the fact is that the housing market is in a crisis and cities are facing the loss of diversity, vibrancy and culture as people are forced out by rising rents.
Durning's suggestions are smart, but aren't the total solution. Fighting the negative effects of gentrification requires much more, including taking a portion of the housing stock out of the speculative market through public-private approaches such as cooperative housing, land trusts, and public housing.
In what is perhaps the best news for municipalities, Durning notes that striking the restrictive codes can happen at zero cost. In doing so, cities could easily increase urban density without making big architectural changes. Removing legal barriers could also provide income opportunities for those living in urban centers.
Whether Durning’s approach would be as easy in practice as it is in theory will depend on the municipality, but his ideas are worth considering.