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Housing for female-led families : the potential to go beyond shelter Mackniak, Cheryl A. 1994

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Housing for Female-Led Families: The Potential to Go Beyond Shelter by Cheryl A. Mackniak Bachelor of Arts  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF Master’s of Arts in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES School of Community and Regional Planning  We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard  Signature(s) removed to protect privacy  THE UNWERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA September, 1994  0 Cheryl A. Mackniak, 1994  In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the department  or  by  his  or  her  an advanced shall make it for extensive head of my  representatives.  It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission.  Signature(s) removed to protect privacy  Signature(s) removed to protect privacy  (Signatue)  Signature(s) removed to protect privacy  Department of  4 (ciwi;k ckr-(  The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada Date  DE-6 (2/88)  o/4  ‘?Y,)  (Jr1’t)  ABSTRACT As the numbers of ‘non-traditional’ families, particularly single parent families increases, so do the number of associated problems, including finding adequate and affordable housing. These problems are attributed to a number of factors including: the inherent inequities in the primarily private market combined with the low economic status of these families; and housing policy which focuses on home ownership for the middle class ignoring the needs, and limiting the options available to renters such as single parents. This thesis examines the current housing situation faced by single parents in Canada, including their needs and the options available to them. The profile of single parent families is one which is predominately headed by women, who overall have a lower education than men, as well as married women; and under the age of 65 have the lowest incomes in Canada. This profile places these families in a difficult position vis-a-vis other families, particularly in the competitive housing markets that exist in larger centers, like Vancouver. Discrimination is often experienced when looking for housing, and insecure tenure, poor, inappropriate housing and inaccessible locations often plague single mothers when they do find somewhere to live. The case study examined found that there were many serious implications due to the lack of affordable and adequate shelter. The often overwhelming burden of finding stable housing led to many physical and emotional problems, homelessness, and the break-up of families, adversely affecting esteem and a personal sense of power. However, the results of this study indicate that alternative housing, such as the one studied in this thesis, can provide an affordable option for single parent families that not only more adequately meets the needs of these families, but provide concomitant benefits as well. In light of the continuing withdrawal of  11  government funding for social housing, these far-reaching benefits are perhaps timely to consider when examining housing policy.  UI  TABLE OF CONTENTS ABSTRACT  ii  LIST OF FIGURES  vii  ACKNOWLEDGMENT  viii  1.0 INTRODUCTION 1.1 Purpose 1.2 Research Philosophy 1.3 Scope 1.4 Definitions 1.5 Research Approach 1.6 Organization of Thesis  1 1 2 4 4 5 6  2.0 A PROFILE OF THE SINGLE PARENT FAMILY 2.1 Growth 2.2 Gender Composition 2.3 Social Characteristics 2.3.1 Education 2.3.2 Marital Status 2.3.3 Age 2.4 Economic Characteristics 2.4.1 Occupation 2.4.2 Income 2.5 Housing Characteristics 2.5.1 Tenure Distribution 2.5.2 Quality of Housing Facilities 2.6 Summary  8 8 10 10 10 11 12 12 12 14 15 16 17 17  3.0 HOUSING AND SINGLE PARENT FAMILIES 3.1 Changing Structure of the Canadian Family 3.2 Housing Needs 3.2.1 Affordability 3.2.2 Accessibility 3.2.3 Availability 3.2.4 Security of Tenure  19 19 20 21 21 22 23  iv  3.2.5 Appropriateness of Facilities for Children .23 3.2.6 Household Maintenance 24 3.2.7 Opportunities for Sharing and Support 24 3.2.8 Privacy 25 3.3 Canadian Housing Policy Alternatives 26 3.4 Some Housing Options Available to Single Parent Families 31 3.4.1 Conventional Market Housing 31 Home-ownership 31 Homesharing 33 Rental Accommodation 34 3.4.2 Alternative Housing Options Built and Developed by and for Women and Their Children 36 Co-housing 37 Co-operatives 38 Non-profit Housing Societies 41 3.5 Indirect Benefits of Women as Housing Developers in Alternative Housing Environments 43 3.6 Summary 45 4.0 ENTRE NOUS FEMMES HOUSING SOCIETY CASE STUDY 4.1 Research Methodology 4.2 Historical Background 4.2.1 Early beginnings: 1980-1985 4.2.2 Entre Nous Femmes Philosophy and Incorporation: February 1985 4.2.3 Development Begins: 1985 4.3 Organization of Entre Nous Femmes 4.4 Research Findings 4.4.1 Housing Histories 4.4.2 Housing in Entre Nous Femmes 4.4.3 Evaluation of Housing Environments by Residents Availability Accessibility Security of Tenure Appropriateness of Facilities for Children Safety Privacy V  47 47 50 51 53 54 55 56 57 63 64 65 65 67 69 75 76 Opportunities for Sharing and Support Design Features Overall Satisfaction with Housing 4.4.4 Indirect Benefits for Single Mothers  .80 83 85 89  5.0 CONCLUSION 5.1 Summary of Research Findings 5.2 Implications for Policy 5.3 Implications for Planners 5.4 Limitations of Thesis and Suggestions for Further Research  96 96 100 104 107  BIBLIOGRAPHY  110  APPENDICES Appendix A: Letter of Request to Entre Nous Femmes to Conduct Research 115 Appendix B: Follow-up Letter to Board Members and Tenants of Entre Nous Femmes 117 Appendix C: Letter to Tenants of ENF Requesting Research Participation ...119 AppendixD: Survey 121 Appendix E: Interview Schedule 125  vi  LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1: Play Area for Children  70  Figure 2: Housing Units Overlook Play Area  72  Figure 3: Outdoor Private Space  78  Figure 4: Architecture of Housing  80  Figure 5: Common Room  83  Figure 6: Effective Fenestration  86  vu  ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would like to thank many people who helped in completing this thesis: Penny Gurstein and Tom Hutton for their advice, guidance and support; my friends Phil, Lindsay, Shannon, and Barry who tirelessly listened and encouraged; my parents Victor and Mary, and my sister Donna, for their love and understanding; all the women in the communities of Entres Nous Femmes who contributed insight and inspiration through their stories; Entres Nous Femmes for allowing me the opportunity to explore this case study; and a special thanks to my loving partner Randall whose never ending belief in me helped me see the light at the end of the tunnel.  vu’  1 1.0 INTRODUCTION The definition of the Canadian family is widening beyond that of a nuclear unit with a man, woman and 2.2 children to include the growing numbers of non traditional families, particularly single parent families, which are predominately headed by women. This growth has many serious social and economic implications. One of the major implications is that there is both a lack of adequate, as well as affordable housing. Much of conventional market housing is built with the notion of the nuclear family, thus failing to address the many unique needs of the single parent family. Affordability, in particular, is a major concern because: Although 95% of our housing system relies on the market, the market cannot deliver housing to people unable to generate demand... People living in poverty simply cannot generate market demand or pay market rents or prices (Hulchanski, 1988:12-13). Some women have organized and responded to this housing crisis by developing their own housing projects, thereby becoming not only the consumers of this housing, but also the developers. Although the housing projects are few in numbers, they represent growing activism by women who are taking charge of their own environments. By creating their own housing, single parent families are rewarded with housing that is more responsive of their needs. 1.1 Purpose The purpose of this thesis is two-fold. The first purpose is to document the difficulties single mothers experience in the housing market. While acknowledging these struggles, the second purpose is to go beyond the depiction of women as housing victims to shed a more positive light on women and housing. This will bring to focus the victories of women in grass-roots organizations which have responded to the unmet housing needs of these families. The case study serves to illustrate these victories including the potential of this type of housing to go beyond the provision of shelter to empower women, help them develop new skills, improve their health, and consequently improve the overall health of the whole community. As  2 such, it presents a viable option to population groups like single parent families, who because of their unique family type and low income, are not able to find adequate and affordable housing in the market place. While other research has studied various aspects of non-profit housing for single mothers, there is a paucity of empirical research on housing for single parent families which provide detailed evaluations concerning the suitability of non-profit housing from the perspective of the single mothers who are residents. It is this lack of research that this thesis attempts to address. 1.2 Research Philosophy  The view of housing as a basic human right, which as a society we are responsible for providing to every citizen, is a premise from which this thesis begins; it is also one recognized internationally and has been documented as such. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted in December 1948, declared housing to be a human right recognized throughout the world, as did the U.N. General Assembly when they adopted the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in 1966; both were ratified by Canada (Hulchanski, 1988). While this right has been formally acknowledged, it has not been given the same attention by policy-makers and the majority of citizens as the right to education and health care. Though Canada has a relatively high standard of housing for most Canadians, housing experts like Hulchanski (1988:14) report that: “It is, however, an exclusive system that permits access to housing according to economic status.” This exclusive system is the result of a nation focused on market welfare whereby: Human relations and human beings are being redefined in terms of the market place. Certain values and principles-profitability, productivity, efficiency, and competitiveness- are laws by which social relations are governed... (Carr, 1987:52). This translates to an economic environment where:  3 New construction is limited to commercial buildings and to the high end of the residential market. This housing is out of the reach of ordinary Canadians and inconceivable for the poor (Young, 1987:35). As a result many Canadians are shut out of the market, unable to secure adequate housing. In order for an inclusive system to occur, which acknowledges the inability of the market to provide for all citizens, given the inherent inequities in our system, a greater focus on social welfare initiatives is required. These initiatives are predicated on government support for those who have difficulties competing in the market economy. While the safety net of social services in general has eroded in Canada in the past decade, it is essential for housing to be maintained as a national priority. The importance of good housing can not be understated as Young (1987:35) explains: Many studies have shown the importance of adequate housing. In addition to physical protection from the elements, a comfortable, secure, and safe home is necessary for the emotional health and development of families and individuals. Thus, the root of a healthy community begins with healthy families, and without adequate, affordable housing this cannot be achieved. Housing must remain on the political agenda to ensure it is not treated as a commodity, but as a basic human right. This is supported by others, including psychologist Abraham Maslow in his hierarchical model of human motivation, which argues that healthy human development is dependent upon achieving a hierarchy of needs. This development begins with the satisfaction of the lower order needs of safe and adequate shelter, a requisite to moving up the hierarchy to achieve the higher order needs of belongingness and love, self-esteem, and self-actualization. According to Maslow: • .a good society is one that fosters the satisfaction of the fundamental human needs, while an undesirable culture thwarts these needs and thereby promotes individual psychopathology (Ewen,1980:361).  4 Furthermore, the unsupportive society creates dysfunction that: “...can all too readily inhibit our positive potentials and evoke hatred, destructiveness and selfdefeating behavior” (Ibid. :344). 1.3 Scope  The issue of social housing is a complex one, requiring a myriad of economic, political and social considerations. However, the scope of this paper is limited to the latter, involving a case study of single parent families in the non-profit housing society of Entres Nous Femmes (ENF). This case is further limited as it focuses on the experiences of the “experts” who live in this housing to determine first, how effective it is in meeting the needs of single parents, and second whether there are concomitant benefits with this type of housing delivery. Additionally, although 17% of single parents are male (5% in the housing communities of ENF), the majority are female; thus, they will be the focus group. Finally, the limited nature of the thesis, the constraints of time, and the demands on the lives of the single mothers, limit the extensiveness of this study. 1.4 Definitions There are a couple of important terms that will reoccur throughout this paper; therefore, clarification is warranted. The first is “housing”, which in this thesis is defined beyond the dictionary definition of shelter to include a home which serves as a foundation from which experiences are created, either positively or negatively, affecting self-esteem, confidence and a sense of personal power. The creation of positive experiences is aided by the provision of a secure base where a sense of refuge can be found, and where single mothers and their children can move beyond the often experienced cycle of poverty. The second term requiring explanation is “single parent family” or “lone parent family”, which will be used interchangeably in this thesis. These terms are defined by the 1986 Census definition of “lone parent family” as: “...a mother [or a  5  father] of any marital status, with no spouse present, living in a dwelling with one or more never married children” (Statistics Canada, 1986:8). 1.5 Research Approach The research approach for this thesis was motivated by a desire to study women and housing from a feminist perspective. While there are a myriad of definitions of feminism, and thus many different perspectives, central to this thesis is one in which women’s experiences and ideas are fundamental to the understanding of housing for single parent families. The aim is to conduct the research “with” women, rather than “on” women in the hope that it has some role to play in improving their lives in one way or another. The methodologies chosen to carry forth this research are both quantitative and qualitative. Quantitative research methods have been criticized, particularly by feminists, as these methods are used in traditional research which has in the past ignored issues of concern to women and feminists. Furthermore, the employment of quantitative methods where data gathering is based on predetermined questions is not always seen as an effective technique as it often overlooks important information in the struggle to maintain objectivity. According to Jayaratne and Stewart (1991:85): .quantitative research techniques involving the translation of individual’s experience into categories predefined by researchers distort women’s experience and result in a silencing of women’s own voices. Tomm (1989:3-4) concurs: There is little space for new information categories to arise from questionnaire or statistical responses... very often quantitative-type questions do not tap important information. Qualitative methodologies usually do not have this constraint, as the focus of the data collection is on the experiences of the respondents who are able to express themselves in their own terms. This in turn is viewed by the defenders of  6  quantitative methodologies as problematic as it may lead to researcher bias and loss of objectivity. However, no data is truly objective as it is always subject to the value judgements of the researcher. Personal biases impinge on the research process in many ways, particularly in theory formulation and interpretation, but also in development of design, data collection, and analysis (Jayaratne, 1983:154). The advantage of quantitative methodologies is that researchers are able to study larger groups than is possible with qualitative methodologies, thereby resulting in better representation of the population group. Although many argue that these findings often lack necessary insight into the complexity of an issue(s): No matter how thorough the questions in quantitative research, quantitative data will yield findings which are superficial in nature, compared to most qualitative data. Even the most complex and sophisticated quantitative research report cannot impart the same ‘indepth’ understanding of respondents as, for example a thorough case history. This is most likely due to detailed description which is lacking in quantitative research (Ibid.: 153-154). Since there are many ways to describe the world and to determine “reality”, and no methodology is free from problems, no one methodology should have a monopoly on doing so. Consequently, to conduct this research both methods were used in order to achieve a more accurate assessment of the housing reality faced by single parent families. The use of multiple methods or triangulation is supported by many researchers, including feminists, because: “...multiple methods work to enhance understanding both by adding layers of information and by using one type of data to validate or refine another” (Reinharz, 1992:201). Thus, the weaknesses in one method will be offset by the strengths of the other. 1.6 Organization of Thesis  The balance of this thesis is organized into four chapters. Chapter two and three serve to provide contextual background to the case study by illustrating how the socio-economic profile of the single parent family and Canadian housing policy  7 have affected their housing options. Specifically, chapter two provides a profile of the single parent family in terms of the increasing growth of this family type; their gender composition; as well as their social, economic, and housing characteristics. A literature review on housing and single parent families in chapter three encompasses brief discussions on: the changing structure of the Canadian family; the unique housing needs of the single parent family; housing delivery in Canadian housing policy; the housing options available to single parent families; and the indirect benefits of women as housing developers in alternative housing environments. These two chapters segue into chapter four by providing an understanding of why a non-profit housing society like Entres Nous Femmes was founded and became such a needed vehicle for providing adequate and affordable housing for single parents. This chapter examines the research methodology used in this case study, the historical background and organization of ENF, and the research findings. Finally, chapter five concludes with a summary of the research, the implications for policy and planners, limitations of the thesis and suggestions for further research.  8 2.0 A PROFILE OF TUE SINGLE PARENT FAMILY  Single parent families are becoming a major family type in Canada, differing substantially from husband-wife families in many ways. While they are not a homogeneous group, there are some similarities that can aid in establishing a general characterization. The objective of this chapter is to establish this unique profile of the lone parent family in Canada, in order to understand their distinct housing situation. Through this profile a greater understanding is gained of why these families are unable to effectively meet their needs through the market. This chapter begins with an investigation of the unprecedented growth of the single parent family. This will be followed by an examination of the gender composition of the head of these families. Then, social characteristics including education, marital status, and age, as well as economic characteristics such as occupation and income will be explored. This chapter will conclude with how this socio-economic profile affects the housing characteristics of single parent families such as tenure distribution, and quality of housing facilities. 2.1 Growth  One of the most significant changes to the North American family in the past few decades has been the extraordinary growth in the numbers of lone parent families. However, this is a fairly recent phenomenon that has only begun to be statistically significant. Prior to the late 1960s the rate of growth of husband-wife families was much higher than that of the lone parent family. After 1966 the growth rate of the single parent family surpassed that of the husband-wife family, becoming one of the fastest growing of all family types. This increase in lone parent families was particularly pronounced in the period of 1971-1981 where these families increased by 49%, which was more than twice the 22% increase in husband-wife families (Statistics Canada, 1984).  9 Statistics reveal the increase in single-parenthood, but often leave out the number of children that are affected by these family break-downs. As the numbers of lone parents have increased so have the numbers of children involved. While the decade of 197 1-1981 revealed a declining number of dependent children under 18 years of age in husband-wife families, there was an increase of children in lone parent families in all the Canadian provinces and territories. For example, in British Columbia the growth of dependent children 0-17 years in husband-wife families between the years of 1976-1981 was -4%; whereas for lone parent families the growth for the same period was +16% (Statistics Canada, 1984). The implications of the growth in numbers of children in lone parent families are great. It indicates that more Canadian children are living in households which are socially and economically deficient. In fact, during the 1980s children replaced the elderly as the largest segment of Canada’s poor population. Canada is only second to the U.S.A. in the depth of poverty experienced by children in industrialized countries (Freiler and Kitchen, 1990). Consequently, these children must endure many hardships and stresses with negative effects including a greater risk of chronic mental and physical problems, poor school performance, and higher school drop-out rates (Freiler and Kitchen, 1990). The growth of single-parenthood is due to a number of circumstances including- those who have divorced or separated; women who are single, and have never been married; and those who are widowed. Widowhood used to be a major cause of single-parenthood, constituting approximately two-thirds of female lone parents in 1951, whereas in 1986 this has fallen to 28% (Moore, 1987). Parents who are divorced or separated have now surpassed these numbers, comprising 57% of lone parents in 1986 (Moore, 1987). Changes in the divorce laws in the late 1960s, making it easier to obtain a divorce, contributed to a number of divorce cases. These increases in the rate of divorce can also be explained by a change in the values held by women and the mass movement of women into the labor force. As women gain  10 some financial freedom from participating in the labor force they no longer are forced to remain in destructive relationships. Single never-married women are also contributing to the growth of singleparenthood, comprising 15% of these parents in 1986, up from just 1% in 1951 (Moore, 1987). Again, changing values can perhaps explain the increase in the numbers of single never-married women. At one time the social mores of our society shunned and would not accept a single woman raising a child(ren) on her own. As these customs have become less restrictive more women are either accepting or choosing to raise their child(ren) by themselves. 2.2 Gender Composition Single parent families are predominantly headed by women. This continues to be a dominant feature of single-parenthood that remains constant throughout time. The numbers of female-led lone parent families have increased slightly from 83.6% in 1976 to 84.2% in 1982. The implications of this gender composition are significant; since women earn substantially less than men, they are financially in difficult positions (44% of all female-headed lone-parent households in 1986 had incomes that fell below the low-income cut-off point set by Statistics Canada (Statistics Canada, 1989)). 2.3 Social Characteristics This section will discuss the social characteristics of single parents; namely, education, marital status, and age. These are discussed in the literature as three variables that play important roles in the lives of lone parents, and to a large degree determine their housing circumstance. 2.3.1 Education Education in our society is a determinant of job possibilities. Generally, the higher the education the greater the income and opportunities for advancement  11 that an individual will have. Childbearing tends to thwart the chances women have for educational achievement. The kurden particularly of early parenthood for many lone parents delays or eliminates the possibility for post-secondary education, putting these women at a greater economic disadvantage. Female lone parents generally have less formal education than married women in all age categories. For example, just 24% of female lone parents in relation to 31% of married women had some post-secondary training (Moore, 1987). Moreover, studies have shown that women overall have less post-secondary education than men, which puts them at a great disadvantage following marital dissolution. 2.3.2 Marital Status  As it has been demonstrated, lone parent families are not a homogeneous group. The marital status of these parents varies and is strongly correlated with age. Mothers who have never been married tend to be highest amongst young women; those separated and divorced are generally younger to middle aged women; and the incidence of widowhood are highest with elderly women (Pool and Moore, 1986). An important policy consideration, which is implicit in the research is that single-motherhood is a transitory stage and it is expected that women will remarry. This influences the way that decisions are made and policy on housing is formulated for these families. However, the rate of remarriage for a woman is largely determined by age. The older a woman is the more unlikely she will remarry. A woman that who is divorced in her twenties has a 76 per cent chance of remarriage. This declines in her thirties where her chances are only 56 percent, but plunge even more dramatically in her forties to 32 per cent chance of remarriage. When she reaches her fifties or older her chances are even slimmer at only 12 per cent (Blumstein and Schwartz, 1983).  12 2.3.3 Age  Research indicates that lone-parenthood may be associated with age as more lone parents than married women were in a union, either common-law or marital at a younger age. Of the lone parents from age 20-24, 80% were in a union before age 19, compared to 53% of married women (Moore, 1987). Evidence suggests that the numbers of women becoming parents at an early age is continuing to increase. Statistics Canada (1984) suggest several factors that may be contributing to the numbers of young women who are single parents: (1) the decline of elderly lone parents, particularly of widows; (2) the greater incidence of divorce and separation among young people; (3) the greater percentage of mothers who are awarded custody after divorce or separation; (4) the increasing rise of the never married lone parent since the 1960s. 2.4 Economic Characteristics The variable that most affects single parent families and their housing circumstance is their economic situation. Two of these variables that this section will discuss are occupation and income. 2.4.1 Occupation  While economic variables are critical in determining the housing situation of single parent families, they are intricately intertwined with other aforementioned variables such as education. Because many single mothers have limited education, they are limited in choices of occupations. These choices are also restricted as their children’s needs must be taken into consideration. There are some differences in the participation of married women and lone parents in the labor force, although both of these groups increase their participation gradually as they age and then begin to decline once they reach 45 years old. The 1986 Census reports a higher percentage of labor participation among married women at 61.2% than female lone-parents at 57.7%. However, women with  13 husbands were more likely to work part-time (34.2%) than women who were lone parents (25.5%) (Connelly and MacDonald, 1990). Lone parents are also more likely than married women to work continuously (Moore,1987). Although the rate of labour force participation of all women outside the home continues to increase, the majority of employment positions are concentrated in those classified as traditionally female. Women continue to be over-represented in a few traditional positions and under-represented in most other occupations, given their overall share of employment. These traditional positions include clerical jobs, nursing and related health occupations, teaching, service, and sales. Women account for 80% of the clerical positions, 85% of the nursing and health related positions, 66% of teachers, 57% of service personnel, and 46% of salespersons in 1989 (Shea, 1990). In many of these occupations the pay is low, there is little job security, benefits are minimal and opportunities are few. The concentration of women in these traditionally female or “pink collar” occupations has increased during the years 1971-1986 as more women enter the labor force. Occupations with the largest increases in employment during this 15 year period for women included such positions as bookkeepers, secretaries, cashiers and tellers, salespersons, nurses, waiters, and receptionists (Connelly and MacDonald, 1990). While there are gains for women in some professions, small business and the public sector, women continue to be significantly underrepresented in male-dominated positions such as trade, management and finance. Additionally, while there have been substantial increases in women’s participation in the work force, much of this work is part-time. In fact, during the period of 1975-1988 the number of women working part-time accounted for about one third of the growth in the employment of women (Parliament, 1989). Women account for 66.1% of all part-time workers in 1985. These part time positions are also in predominately traditional female occupations (Connelly and MacDonald, 1990). The reasons for women working part-time is varied- for example: 39% do so  14 because they did not want full time work; 39% were going to school; 20% had family and personal responsibilities; and for many of these women (27%), there was no option as they could not find full time work in 1986 (Duchesne, 1987). There is a concern over the conditions of part-time work in relation to full time employment, especially since most of the part time work is carried out by women, many of them heads of households. Generally, part-time work constitutes a lower wage, fewer benefits, and less protection than full time. 2.4.2 Income  Income determines the resources such as housing, daycare and education that a family has at its disposal. Families that are headed by women are the least able to provide adequate resources for their families, particularly families that are headed by women under 65, who have the lowest income in Canada (Statistics Canada, 1984). While the income of other families have increased markedly over the period of 1970-1980, with the average income of husband and wife families increasing by 30%, and lone male parents by 35%, lone female parents income have increased by only 18% (Statistics Canada, 1984). Single parents who face the greatest difficulties because of low income are women who have children under the age of 16 years of age at home, those who live in the Atlantic region and Quebec and mothers who are in the 15-24 and 25-34 year age groups (Statistics Canada, 1984). Furthermore, the disparity between the income earned by women and men in general, remains great. In every age category men earn significantly more than women, with the differences diminishing after the age of 65. The average earnings in Canada for women who worked full time for a full year in 1985 were just 66% of the income earned by men (Connelly and MacDonald, 1990). Additionally, it is often erroneously assumed that the earning ratio of men and women would not be that different at higher educational levels. However, females with university degrees  15 between the ages of 25-44 still only earn 70% and 80% of what their male counterpart earns (Connelly and MacDonald, 1990). As it has been indicated women in general have a much more difficult time than men earning a decent living. Single mothers have a particularly difficult time earning money due to their low education and their sole responsibilities for their children. Consequently, employment income is not their only income; government assistance in the form of unemployment insurance, family and youth allowances, social assistance and pension benefits, etc. are relied on to make ends meet. Female lone parent families derive only 64% of their total income from employment earnings, compared with 87% for husband-wife families (Moore, 1987). The contributions of child support and/or alimony payments are often viewed as a form of compensation for the single mother’s inequitable employment income and parenting costs. However, there are many problems associated with these payments for single, divorced mothers. The actual amount that divorced single mothers receive, when they receive any payments at all, is often inadequate for the real costs of child rearing and maintenance. Canadian research indicates that two thirds of divorced and separated women do not receive full child support payments. Evidence for this is seen in a major Alberta study on divorce:  “...  65% of women with  dependent children were awarded child support. Nearly half of these awards were between $101 and $200 a month. A further 38% were between $51 and $100 a month” (Kiodwasky, et al., 1985:2-7). There are also difficulties with payments arriving on schedule, which may leave the family financially vulnerable, often forcing the situation to the legal arena for enforcement. 2.5 Housing Characteristics Because of their low socio-economic position single mothers have many difficulties with their housing. The competitive nature of the private sector systematically works against these families, restricting their choices in housing.  16 The purpose of this section is to discuss these difficulties in terms of tenure and  quality of housing. 2.5.1 Tenure Distribution Single mothers often face discrimination because of their marital status and their low income, which makes it difficult to find housing that adequately meets their needs. Thus, often they are relegated to sub-standard housing in the rental market. Rental housing can be very expensive, especially in the larger city centers. The alternative is moving to the suburbs where the housing is cheaper, but the trade-off is isolation and a lack of services, employment and amenities. Whether in the suburbs or the city, more single parent families live in rental accommodations than in owner-occupied homes. Over 70% of single parent families rent their housing. Age plays an important role in determining who will rent, with renting particularly marked among younger lone parents. Rental accommodations account for 95% of the housing of lone parents under the age of 25, and 73.8% of those 25-34. This figure drops to 51% for those in the 35-44 age group, which compares with only 19% of two person households in this age category (Klodawsky, et al., 1985). This rental housing often demands a disproportionate amount of the lone parent’s wage in the form of rent. While it is disturbing to find 26% of female lone parents, renters andlor owners in 1981 paying more than 35% of their income on shelter, and 16.5% spending over 50% of their total income on shelter (Statistics Canada, 1984) the statistics for renters only is even more troublesome. Lone parents who are renters earn just slightly more than half of that of female home owners, and just under one half of these women in 1981 spent 35% or more of their income on shelter and one-third of these women spent 50% or more on housing costs (Statistics Canada, 1984).  17  There are many repercussions of single mothers renting and not being able to buy a home. Many rental situations are not favorable for raising children. Additionally, since housing is a principal form of asset accumulation to be relied on when the parent is no longer able to work in the labor force, the inability to invest in a home systematically continues to place these families at an economic disadvantage. 2.5.2 Quality of Housing Facifities  Although it is difficult to assess, research has indicated that lone parent families suffer the poorest housing conditions of all families in Canada. While these families generally have all of the basic amenities such as water, bathroom facilities, water heaters and so on (Kiodwasky, et at., 1985) low income and time constraints results in housing that is often in disrepair (Statistics Canada, 1984). Studies indicate that at least 30% of these families live in housing that is in need of repair (Statistics Canada, 1984). The age of the lone parent is a major factor in determining whether housing is in need of repair, with the need for repairs decreasing through to age 45 and then increasing as the woman ages (Kiodwasky, et. al., 1985). The lack of resources, the labor potential of a second head, and time, are all factors that contribute to a family’s housing falling into disrepair (Kiodwasky, et at., 1985). 2.6 Summary  The growing number of female led families is a grave concern for Canadian communities. The majority of these families are headed by women, at increasingly younger ages, who have a lower education than their male counterpart and married women. This places them at a disadvantage in the labor force, relegated to low paying, insecure jobs in the “pink collar” labor force. The hardships that these mothers and their children endure because of their socio-economic profile creates difficulties with their housing, forcing the majority to rent sub-standard housing that  18 is inadequate for child rearing. Given this situation, the following chapter will further explore the housing circumstance of.single mothers, including identifring the housing needs of these families; how these needs have been responded to by housing policy; and the subsequent housing options available to them.  19 3.0 HOUSING AND SINGLE PARENT FAMILIES  This chapter reviews the literature relevant to the housing needs and options of single parent families. First, the changing structure of the Canadian family is examined. Then, the unique housing needs of this population group are assessed. This is followed by a brief discussion on housing policy alternatives in Canada to determine effectiveness, particularly in regard to housing for disadvantaged groups such as single parents. Next, the “conventional” and the “alternative” options that are available to these families are detailed and evaluated in terms of the housing needs discussed in a previous section. Finally, the last section concludes with a presentation of alternative housing forms as a viable option to conventional housing with concomitant benefits to those who live there. 3.1 Changing Structure of the Canadian Family This section overviews the changes that have been occurring to the structure of the Canadian family in recent years. This background provides a foundation from which to view the ever-increasing phenomenon of the single parent family. This family type has a different set of norms and lifestyles, which indicate there is a need for a change in how housing policy is viewed and formulated. In the past few decades the “traditional” concept of the nuclear family has become less evident. There has been a decrease in family size as well as an increase in many different family types including those living alone, reconstituted families, multiple-earner families, and one of the fastest growing, lone parent families. While it appears that the “traditional” family has always existed, this is in fact a relatively recent and short-lived historical development. In the pre-industrial and industrial era the formation of the family household was extended with all members contributing to the household economy. During the industrial revolution children and women worked in factories alongside men. It was not until the mid to late nineteenth century that the traditional family form, as we view it, emerged (Gerson, 1983).  20 The economic prosperity of post World War II brought with it the opportunity for lower and middle class families to fulfil the nineteenth century ideal of the nurturing full time mother and housewife. The numbers of women participating in the work force declined as veterans sought employment. Subsequently, stereotypical gender roles became established as women were relegated to the private realm and men to the public. This ideal of the family has changed considerably since the 1950s. Society has became cognizant of the crippling effects of gender stereotyped roles and it has become financially untenable for many families to continue to have only one family member as the provider. Thus, after a brief hiatus, women again entered into the work force in increasing numbers in the 1960s and 1970s. This has changed the structure of the 1950s notion of the “traditional” family to such a degree, that today only 3% of these families with the father as the breadwinner, and mother as fulltime homemaker exist (Home and Baldwin, 1988). In summary, many variables, such as female participation in the labor force, and changing social values, have emerged to change the composition of families in the 1990s. The result is a diversity of family types with the fastest growing being the single parent family. This growing diversity of families requires further study of the housing needs of these families, as well as how these housing requirements are accommodated, or not, by current housing delivery in Canada. 3.2 Housing Needs  The focus of this section is on the identification of the unique housing needs of single parent families and their difficulties meeting these needs in the private market. The housing requisites of families led by single mothers, although not always recognized, differs significantly from those of joint parent families. Additionally, the number of single parent families and the ensuing lack of affordable and adequate shelter is growing and is becoming a serious concern in many  21 Canadian communities. This hardship permeates all aspects of life, creating instability and dysfunction not just for the individual family but for society as a whole. Thus, the identification of these special needs is a critical first step in formulating policy and building more appropriate housing for these families. Many of the housing needs of single parent families have been identified by researchers such as Klodawsky, et al. (1985) including: affordability, accessibility, availability, security of tenure, appropriateness of facilities for children, household maintenance, opportunities for sharing and support, and privacy. These needs will serve as a criteria in this thesis for evaluating the housing of single parent families. 3.2.1 Affordability A review of the literature on single parent families identifies this family type as the poorest and most disadvantaged. As a result, among Canadian renters, lone parent families are found to be among the most likely to be in Core Housing Need. They are six times more likely to be in core housing need than two-parent families (Burgess et al., 1992). Core Housing Need is defined by BCMHC as: “Households who are now paying, or would be required to pay, thirty percent or more of their household income for adequate and suitable accommodation in their community...” (BCMHC, 1993:8). In the major cities of Canada, 56% of female-led families paid 30% or more of their income on shelter in 1986 (Bird, 1990). Because of this many of these female led families are forced to live in cramped, dark basement suites which are barely affordable, and in most cases completely inadequate for family life. 3.2.2 Accessibility The demanding multitude of roles often assumed by the single parent as caretaker, employee, student, and so on, makes it critical for them to live in housing that has easy access to daycare, schools, and the workplace. Women are placed in a difficult situation in Canadian cities as often the neighborhoods that are more affordable, such as the outlying suburbs, are not accessible to these services. This  22 accessibility is further compounded through the absence of an automobile, which according to 1982 statistics is the case with approximately 43% of these femaleheaded families with a child under 18, compared to only 11% of husband-wife families (Klodawsky, et al., 1985). This leaves women with the option of living in the relatively expensive but service rich downtown areas. “In 1982, an estimated 96 per cent of female single-parent families lived in cities with a population of over 25,000” (Klodawsky and Spector, 1988:150). For those women forced to live in the suburbs because of the low cost of housing, this lack of accessibility to place of employment and services that the urban core offers limits potential income and job choice. Public transportation is often not considered a viable option due to its time consumptive nature. 3.2.3 Availabifity Single parent families face a double-edged sword in today’s housing market. First, since the numbers of these families is increasing, and the supply of low to moderate housing is decreasing due to such things as condominium conversion and demolition, the availability of adequate and affordable housing is diminishing. Second, the problem of low vacancy rates is further compounded by discrimination that these families face, as Gurstein and Hood (1975:9) discovered in their research: Housing is difficult for many people to find but seemingly single parents are near the bottom of the landlord’s lists of acceptable tenants. Often the only reason for the landlord’s refusal to rent is the fact that the prospective tenant is a single parent. From the results of the study by Gurstein and Hood (1975), discrimination was found to be rooted in landlord’s notions of children as noisy and destructive, and the stereotype of single mothers as ‘loose’ and irresponsible. While these attitudes make it difficult for all single mothers seeking rental accommodation, the greatest discrimination is faced by the working class (Anderson-Khleif, 1981). Gerda Wekerle (1988) concurs with her study of women living in cooperatives, over 80% of women with children reported discrimination by landlords when living in rental  23 accommodations, especially if they were on social assistance. However, research done by Anderson-Khleif (1981) discovered that, despite the financial difficulties faced by low-income single parents, these women are reliable renters, who work hard to make ends meet. Their determination to support their families was found often to be strong enough to overcome their limited incomes. 3.2.4 Security of Tenure  Single parent families are fraught with feelings of instability due to many things such as sudden marriage dissolution, death of a spouse, and so on. While low income renters such as single parent families previously found some comfort in the duration of their tenure once they had found appropriate accommodations, this is no longer the case due to the inability of the market to provide low-income housing and the increasing loss of this housing stock through gentrification and demolition. Consequently, these families are forced to move frequently to maintain low priced housing. There is an additional problem with security of tenure that Klodawsky and Spector (1988) have ascertained which involves the complications of publicly financed housing for single parents. The security of tenure can be jeopardized in social housing, which is subsidized to provide relief for the poorest of families, if the parent begins to make additional income. This results often in an increase in rent or a request to vacate the housing unit to make way for those families which are the poorest of the poor. 3.2.5 Appropriateness of Facifities for Children  One of the considerations that single mothers have when searching for housing for their families is whether the housing units have facilities appropriate for their children. This includes child oriented areas that are safe, away from the street and traffic. It is important that these play areas are designed in such a way that children can be easily supervised by their mothers. This may include benches from  24  which mothers can watch their children, as well as design features that allow surveillance from their homes. However, the need for appropriate facilities for children are not often considered in the design of many of the multiple unit apartment complexes in large cities in Canada, wherein approximately 46 per cent of young single parents live (Klodawsky and Spector, 1988). 3.2.6 Household Maintenance The design of most housing today is based on conventional notions of the “traditional” family, with a male worker and an unpaid homemaker. As such, considerations such as low maintenance are not design issues. However, this is an important consideration in the design of housing today as the predominate family type is the two earner family and the fastest growing family type is the single parent family (Hayden, 1984). For the single parent family maintaining their housing is particularly problematic, given their shortage of time and money. Consequently, many of the homes occupied by single parent families suffer from inadequate or irregular maintenance (Klodawsky and Spector 1988). They are often caught in a catch 22 situation: if they complain to the landlord about the needed repairs they may be threatened with eviction; if they don’t complain the landlord assumes that they can continue to live in sub-human conditions, again, perpetrating the stereotype of single mothers as irresponsible (Gurstein and Hood, 1975). 3.2.7 Opportunities for Sharing and Support A change in family structure and subsequent change in living arrangements can prove to be a very stressful situation for most families. For the newly-found single parent this change signifies greater financial and domestic responsibilities, as the burden that was previously shared by two is transferred to one of the parents. However, this stress is somewhat alleviated if the new housing environment is one which provides both a supportive atmosphere to comfort the family through the  25  difficult times, and opportunities for sharing such things as child care and transportation. This becomes an important consideration which influences the single parent’s decision on where to live (Anderson-Kleif, 1981). Gerda Wekerle’s (1985) review of the literature on the neighborhood needs of single parent families revealed that this family type is increasingly dependent on their local neighborhood as many have low mobility and heavy time pressures. These support systems and shared services are important in the lives of these families as they are replacing functions that were traditionally met by the extended family. Some of these collective facilities and services include community rooms, public courtyards, laundry rooms, household maintenance and child care. This system of support is particularly lacking in the suburban low-density, single-family neighborhood, which ironically is often chosen because of its reputation as a good environment for family life, as households are often isolated from one another and  are less supportive of the needs of the single-parent (Werkerle, 1985). Alternatives to this would be a more sensitive housing design that would allow for homemaking and domestic responsibilities to be performed collectively rather than in isolation. Such housing arrangements are possible through the clustering of single parent housing and through shared housing (Klodawsky and Spector, 1988). 3.2.8 Privacy  Although it is helpful for single parent families to live in housing arrangements that foster caring and sharing, it is also important for these families to sustain a certain level of family privacy. Each parent has a particular set of norms and values that they consider important to foster in their children and which influences their parenting methods. Parenting is often easier to carry out in the privacy of the individual home rather than in the company of others as parents are often intolerant of the input of others and interference in the raising of their children.  26 This can create an uncomfortable atmosphere where the single-parents become resentful of their lack of privacy. The need for privacy also involves the need for the surrounding community to view the housing of the single-parent families as normal, not an anomaly in a world of two parent families. This “normalization approach” as Anderson-Khleif (1981) terms it, is important to these families. In order to be accepted by the neighborhood, single-parent families feel it critical to live in communities that are in similar age groups and life cycle stages. As the numbers of single parent families increases so does the demand for housing that meets their unique needs, which presents a challenge to Canadian housing policy. The response of housing policy to these needs is the focus of the following section. 3.3 Canadian Housing Policy Alternatives Although the limitations of this thesis do not permit a full exploration of housing policy, this section will attempt to briefly explore the policy approaches which are employed to address housing problems in Canada. For a more detailed analysis of housing policy in Canada see: Bacher, 1986; Hulchanski, 1988a; and Cauduro, 1992.  All three levels of government play a role in housing policy;  however, the resources and constitutional mandate of the federal government have dictated that the most significant role is played at the national level. This role is carried through by the Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) under the National Housing Act. (However, these roles are changing as the federal government has slowly begun to withdraw their traditional responsibilities as provincial and municipal governments begin to take more active roles.) Consequently, much of the debate surrounding various government policies have been focused at the federal level. Central to the discussion is the ineffectiveness of Canadian housing policies to provide for low income households who are most in  27 need of shelter. While it is undeniable that these policies have created opportunities for a large part of the population to secure good housing, the focus has predominately been on homeownership for the middle-class, ignoring the needs of renters such as single parent families. The effects of this are: socially regressive: owners are generally more affluent than tenants, while the most affluent, living in the largest homes, have received the greatest subsidies of all. For both reasons, the poor are, in effect, subsidizing the rich (Harris, 1991:372). The precedent for these policies was set, according to Hulchanski (1986), in 1935 with the Dominion Housing Act. The general nature and approach to housing problems has not changed much, resulting in a history that has centered more on “market welfare” than on “social welfare” (Hulchanski, 1986)1. The attention of the federal government has been on the inadequate performance of the private sector to supply rental and homeownership units. Subsequently, policy has been directed toward subsidizing middle income homeownership or private sector rental housing through temporary programs, failing to address housing for the low-income population (Grieve and Hulcbanski, 1984). This has meant that rather than a housing policy as such: .there have been a series of housing programs designed to stimulate private residential construction as an instrument of macro-economic policy. There has been little concern over distribution issues (Hulchanski, 1988a: 16). Housing policy has been used as a tool of the government to meet economic goals; through construction unemployment is reduced, which in turn has a ‘multiplier’ effect, stimulating consumer demand (Harris, 1991). These policies fail to provide any overall broad housing strategy and instead are dependent on the political and economic conditions of the day (Grieve and Hulchanski, 1984). 1 M arket welfare seeks short term housing solutions to provide an immediate supply of housing through private sector investment. Social welfare on the other hand, seeks housing solutions that will ensure longer term supply and affordability through government intervention.  28 This market welfare approach is represented by supply-side policies that involve subsidizing private investors either directly or indirectly through tax inducements, in the hope that the benefits of this investment will “trickle down” to lower income households (Grieve and Hulchanski, 1984). An example of such a program is the Multiple Unit Residential Building Program (MURB), implemented in 1974 wherein the tax system allowed owners of MURBS to shelter non-rental income by claiming it against rental losses from MURB-designated properties. Other market-welfare initiatives are demand-side subsidies, such as shelter allowances directed toward those most in need. These subsidies help to close the gap between market rents and what renters are able to pay. These market welfare initiatives, the focus of Canadian housing policy, have not been successful in helping those most in need. As explained by Cauduro (1992:87) these are short-term solutions that are not working properly to alleviate rental housing problems: Not only have these programs failed to benefit those most in need, but they have contributed minimally to the nation’s permanent stock of affordable rental housing; such initiatives may actually be contributing to the loss of affordable rental housing stock. Often, building sites for new rental development (stimulated by private rental subsidy programs) have become available only through the demolition of existing rental buildings. Also rental units once built, do not remain in the rental sector very long. Many units, for example, are lost to conversion and subsequent resale on the private market. For example, the MURB Program, while allowing individuals in the 50% tax bracket to shelter income from other sources, did nothing to help provide low-income rental units. The units tend to be registered as condominiums, and are at the higher end of the rental market. The estimated cost of this program alone to the federal and provincial governments in the period between 1976 and 1982 was almost three times greater than that spent on the Non-Profit and Co-Operative Housing Programs (Grieve and Hulchanski, 1984).  29 Additionally, shelter allowances, while seemingly an obvious solution to the problem of housing affordability, also have not succeeded in alleviating these difficulties because: they are often in the form of shallow subsidies, which, because they are spread out to a large number of households are not sufficient to make housing affordable; they do not work in tight rental markets where rental housing is not available; they increase rent since supply is fixed over the short term; problems of overcrowding and inadequate conditions are not addressed; and they are vulnerable to change with shifts in political agendas (Anderson, 1992). Social welfare initiatives, on the other hand, involve government intervention, acknowledging the inability of the market to secure affordable housing for certain population groups. The inherent inequities in the market restrict the choices people with low incomes have. the choice which advocates claim is provided by the market is, in many respects, illusory. The market does not offer perfect competition as popularised by the new right, but is frequently characterised by oligopolies or monopolies which can reduce consumer sovereignty and determine prices (Clapman, et al., 1990:29). Social welfare initiatives in Canada, thus far, have involved non-profit and cooperative rental programs, which have helped to supply some affordable housing. However, social housing programs comprised of cooperatives, non-profits, public housing and rent supplements account for only 4-5% of the total housing stock in Canada (Kiodwasky, et al., 1985). Canad&s social housing program is one of the smallest and least developed among major western nations (Hulchanski, 1988a). This contrasts dramatically to countries which support comprehensive housing policies, like Sweden where 58% of that country’s housing is non-profit (Greve, 1971). Hence, the major problem with the social housing program in Canada is the relative size, given the demand. The disproportional support given to social welfare policies is evident in policies such as the Canadian Homeownership Stimulation Plan which gave grants of $3,000 to first time home buyers, almost equal to five  30 years of CMHC’s social housing budget. The total spent on this plan from June 1, 1982 to January 1, 1984, was $782.4 million, in comparison to only $792.1 million by CMHC on all its varied social programs during the period from 1979 to 1983 (Bacher, 1986). This grant, and many other subsidies such as the Registered Home Ownership Saving Plan and the Assisted Home Ownership Program, to name a few, are most beneficial to higher income earners through the income tax system  (Hulchanski, 1988a). This inequitable spending is reflected in the federal budget on housing, where: “AS of 1986, only one percent of the federal budget is spent on social  housing” (Ibid.:31). Important to the debate on housing delivery for low-income households is the maintenance of affordable housing stock in the long term. Cauduro (1992) discusses the lack of consideration of land tenure issues in the design of both market-welfare and social-welfare policies. Neither policies ensure a long term supply of affordable rental housing. With regard to social housing Cauduro (1992:95-96) points out: .the government’s disregard for land issues in housing policy actually undermine any long term social benefits resulting from this huge annual investment in the non-profit sector. The notion of community land trusts is suggested as one way in which to guarantee that affordable social housing is retained in perpetuity once it is established. Clearly, housing policy is complicated, and deserves greater attention than can be afforded in this thesis. However, evidence reviewed for this short discussion indicates that the provision of affordable housing for lower income families has not been effectively met by market-welfare policies at the federal level, and these policies may in fact be contributing to a loss of this type of housing. Government policies, have, to a large extent, dictated the housing options that are available to single parents which will be explored in the next section.  31 3.4 Some Housing Options Available to Single Parent Families This section will discuss some of the options available to single parent families, differentiating between conventional options including: homeownership, homesharing, and renting; and alternative options that are built by and for women led families including: co-housing, cooperatives, and non-profit housing societies. 3.4.1 Conventional Market Housing Options Since conventional housing in the private sector thrives on a competitive market, house prices or rents are typically high and vacancies are low. Thus, this market arena effectively excludes many single parent families as they cannot afford to pay these market prices. Furthermore, the housing provided by this sector is often inappropriate in meeting the special needs of single-parent families. Therefore, while this thesis will give an overview of some of the options available to single-parent families, it will focus primarily on the alternative housing options which are more affordable and fulfilling of the needs discussed in the previous section. Home ownership The North American Dream of owning a home still remains alive for many people despite the fact that many will not be able to financially realize it. Factors such as metropolitan structural changes in the labour force with a shift from manufacturing or secondary sectors to service or tertiary sectors, that have occurred since the 1970s, have had a significant impact on household income and the affordability of a home in cities such as Vancouver. This shift has seen a decline in the overall employment in the manufacturing industries while employment continues to grow in the service sector. Daniels, et al., (1991) document an increase in absolute employment in Vancouver of 12,000 manufacturing jobs between 197186, while service sector employment increased by 32,000 jobs during the same  32 period. Expansion in the service sector will account for 81 per cent of employment growth in the 1990s (CMHC, 1991). The service sector is marked by a bifurcation of the labour force--a division of the labour force into two distinct groups: high income industries such as communications, finance, transportation, and business services; and low-income industries such as retail, personal services, accommodation and food (CMHC,1991). While high income occupations in the service sector demand a higher level of skill and training, and provide stable employment with good benefits and job protection, the lower-income service occupations do not. The latter often involve part-time, low income positions and provide minimal benefits and job security. Part-time, shortterm and temporary employment in this sector is increasing dramatically, accounting for 50 per cent of growth in the service sector between 1980-88 (CMHC, 1991). The concentration of women into these low-paid service occupations effectively eliminates many from participating in the housing market, particularly single parents, as dual incomes are now almost imperative to qualiVy for a mortgage. In the early 1950’s less than a third of all family households had more than one wage earner. By the 1980’s more than two thirds had two wage earners and it took both incomes rather than one, to qua1ifr for a mortgage on an average suburban house (Hulchanski, 1988a:27). Homeownership for many families in big cities like Vancouver is not viable. In Vancouver in 1991, the price for the average residential unit in the City of Vancouver (which includes detached, attached, apartments and multi-family units) was $264,000 (Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, 1991). Assuming that purchasers are able to provide the 12 percent down payment, required to qualify for a mortgage on the home, at 223,924 and a three year mortgage at 9.875 per cent (rate as of November 8, 1991) the purchaser would be faced with a monthly mortgage payment of $1,790.49. With taxes and heating costs factored into the equation, the total monthly costs for the house would be $1,940.49. In order to  33 qualify for a mortgage, using the tradition 1/3 of income calculation, household income would have to be $72,768. While this is financially untenable for most dual earner households in B.C. who earn an average annual income of $53,023, it is far beyond the financial capacity of almost all female lone parent in families who in 1990 earned an average of $23,295 (Statistics Canada, 1990). For some women homeownership is an option as their income is higher than average or they have been left the family home in a divorce settlement. Many feel a sense of attachment to their neighbourhood as their children have settled in a school and the family has established social relationships. However, living in an community surrounded by dual couple families can be a very painful reminder, particularly to those women who are recently divorced or separated. The single status of these women often serves to isolate these women in a social sense in an environment where couple relationships are the norm. Homesharing  Even though some women desire to remain in the neighborhoods that they and their children have grown accustomed to, they find it difficult financially, which makes homesharing a compromise that can be a viable option. Shared housing is: an arrangement in which two or more unrelated people pool their personal, financial and physical resources and share a dwelling. Each person has his or her private room but shares common areas such as the living room, dining room and the kitchen (Home and Baldwin, 1988:21). In the case of the single mother, a common scenario is the woman is awarded the family house in a divorce settlement, but finds the financial upkeep prohibitive and, therefore, invites another single parent family to live in her house. This results in shared costs of such things as utilities, property taxes, and maintenance. Mothers also share child-care and household responsibilities, resources, and provide emotional support for one another.  34 There are many problems that can arise with this kind of living arrangement. Mothers often feel a lack of privacy if there is no clearly delineated space for each family. This can lead to conflict over parenting methods, which causes tension when living in close quarters. Often mothers have different values and standards of discipline in their parenting and are offended if this is intruded upon. However, homesharing can be a viable option for some women and the YWCA provides a list of mothers who are interested in such accommodations. Evidence in the literature indicates that homesharing can be successful if a number of criteria are met. These criteria include: (1) housing design that is efficient and appropriate; (2) service support and social interactions within the community; and (3) locations accessible to services (Klodawsky and Spector, 1985). The success of homesharing really depends on the compatibility between two families. If an arrangement is a good one and the conditions of the agreement are explicit many advantages can accrue including: providing affordable accommodation; security of tenure, as long as the contract stipulates; choice of a family home which is geared toward active children; and plenty of opportunities for sharing and support. However, as was indicated earlier, there can be problems with privacy, which may be a disadvantage of this type of housing environment. Rental Accommodation In the cases where mothers are not awarded a home in a divorce settlement, or feel they cannot sacrifice their sense of privacy by living with another family, renting is a common alternative. However, in large cities like Vancouver or Toronto, vacancies for affordable rental accommodations are often limited. Consequently, many single-parent families are forced to move further out into the suburbs, away from amenities and employment opportunities. Many of the outlying suburbs in Vancouver have rapidly growing lone parent family populations due to the relatively larger supply of affordable rental accommodation.  35  The rental housing situation is particularly difficult in large Canadian cities such as Vancouver as the gap between affordable rents and market rents and between market rents and recovery rents have been ever widening since the . These increasing gaps have led to market failure in the rental sector and 2 1970s the need for government intervention: “The only private rental units built in the 1980’s have been under government subsidy programs, and almost all multiple dwelling starts during the 1980’s have been condominiums” (Hulchanski, 1988a:37). This is likely to continue as the private rental sector cannot function as a private market in Canada due to: .upward cost pressures of supplying a rental unit and the downward trend in the income profile of renters. There are not enough tenants with the incomes necessary to support the economic returns required to make most new rental projects viable (Hulchanski, 1985:31). Low income families such as single parents are among the most affected by these market conditions. For example, the average apartment rental rate of privately-initiated structures in Metropolitan Vancouver in April of 1991 for a Bachelor suite was $482, a one bedroom $582, a two bedroom $754 and a three bedroom $889 (CMHC, 1991a). These market rents limit entry into the housing market for the impoverished sectors of the population like single-parents, who in B.C., earn an average of $23,295 per year (Statistics Canada, 1990) forcing them to budget close to half of their income on rent. Rental competition continues to increase for low income earners as the “...rental sector is becoming a residual one, containing virtually all lower income Canadians and very few higher income Canadians” (Hulchanski, 1985:30). While ”2 Affordable” rent refers to some subjective level which households do not have a problem paying; “market rent” refers to the price of a rental unit determined by the private market; and “recovery rent” is the rent level that is required to make new construction feasible without government supply subsidies (Hulchanski, 1984).  36 there are increasing rates of homeownership among the upper income groups, in 1990 only 15% of renters between the ages of 20-44 could afford to buy a house in Vancouver (CMHC, 1991). The implications of this shifting socio-economic composition in housing tenure are great. It does not simply mean that the poorest, most disadvantaged sections of the population are concentrated within the worst segments of the housing stock. It also means that, as a group, tenants have few financial and, often, political resources to change their circumstances (Clapman, 1990:68). Rental demand is forecasted to increase as migration to the lower mainland from other parts of the province, other provinces and other countries remains strong (CMHC, 1991a). In summary, while homeownership, homesharing and renting are housing options, they are not always viable ones for single parents- owning a home in a large center, while financially untenable for many dual-earner families, is inconceivable for most single parents; finding a compatible family to share a home with often presents difficulties; and the gap between market rents and affordable rents, and market rents and recovery rents remains problematic. 3.4.2 Alternative Housing Options Built and Developed by and for Women and Their Children Since the majority of production and distribution of housing is conducted through the private market, alternative housing is less well-known. However, it is becoming more common as people become cognizant of the possibilities and the potential benefits it can provide. Alternative housing is particularly attractive for those segments of the population for which the private sector does not provide. Not only is it more affordable, it also, in most cases, is more sensitive to the special needs of groups like single-parent families. The three alternatives discussed here are co-housing, co-operatives, non-profit housing societies. These housing types provide  37 excellent examples of women taking control of their housing, actively planning and developing their housing environments. Co-housing The Co-housing concept originated in Denmark in the 1960s in reaction to a sense of loss of family, community and belongingness experienced in existing residential apartments and single-family houses. The Co-housing solution incorporates these “old notions” of family, community and belongingness that used to occur naturally, with contemporary lifestyles. This alternative housing form is gaining popularity in North America as people are becoming more disillusioned with present living arrangements. A Co-housing development in Seattle called WindSiow is recently completed and a group of Vancouver residents are currently in the development process stage for their community WindSong, located in Langley, a suburb of Vancouver. Although this arrangement differs in many significant ways, the notion of a Co-housing conjures up, in many minds, communes of the 1960s. However, unlike the 60s communes the central focus is not on a religious or political ideology, but on creating a practical and social home environment. It is a real community as it is based on a cross-section of old, young, families and singles. Each resident or family has a separate dwelling and can chose how much they want to participate. Co-housing is a comprehensive approach wherein people come together as a community and with the help of consultants undertake the entire development process from site selection, to design, to construction and ongoing management. The general principles which are embodied in Co-housing are: (1) Participatory Process- all planning and design are determined by the residents; (2) Intentional Neighborhood Design- designed to promote a sense of community;  38  (3) Extensive Conunon Facilities-used to foster community and to supplement private space; (4) Complete Residential Management-residents determine all decisions concerning their community (McCamant and Durrett, 1988). The opportunity to participate in the design, construction, and management of the development enables residents to control their own environment. Through the involvement in this process a sense of community and ‘belongingnes& is created. The concept of Co-housing can be an appealing one for families such as single parents as it offers significant gains in providing support and creating a sense of community. The shared facilities also reduce long term living expenses in food, child care and other shared expenses. However, because the goals of creating such a community are so high, the development process becomes a lengthy one, resulting in cost overruns that tend to extinguish affordability. This process also requires a demanding time commitment with residents meeting as frequently as once a week for a few years before the community is actually complete. Since there is a paucity of literature in English on Co-housing and the experience of this type is limited in North America, it is difficult to evaluate the effectiveness of this housing in meeting the needs of single parent families. While this housing option appears to be a favorable one, the realities of time and money for such a project make it questionable currently as a viable option for single parents. However, if ownership alternatives such as cooperatives or limited equity cooperatives were more available, as well as an abridgment of the development process, perhaps in the future the benefits of Co-housing could then be brought into the realm of affordability for these families. Co-operatives The birth of Co-operative housing in Canada occurred in 1973 following amendments to the National Housing Act (Selby and Wilson, 1988). Responsibility  39 for the development of cooperatives was given to non-profit housing community groups who were given 100% mortgage insurance from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and development-cost start up funds. These funds were incorporated into the capital costs and became eligible for subsidy if the project went ahead. An operating grant was given to each co-op to bridge the gap between monthly amortization costs at market-rate interest and an interest rate of 2% (Wekerle, 1988). The amendments to the Housing Act boosted the cooperative movement, which previously encountered difficulties raising equity for . This encouraged more involvement from local community and third 3 development sector groups such as non-profit, cooperatives and non-governmental resulting in smaller scale housing developments. Co-operative housing combines aspects of both rental and owner-occupied housing in a unique form of tenure. Residents enjoy the security of tenure as long as they observe the bylaws of the co-op, which are set by the members, who each have a vote. They also have control over their environment and discretion over how the units are used. A board of directors is elected to supervise the management of the co-op. Members lease their dwelling unit from the co-operative corporation and this share purchase is returned upon vacating their unit, keeping ownership of the co-op in the hands of the existing members (Selby and Wilson, 1988). The co-operative structure is a popular housing alternative for many single mothers. The results of Gerda Wekerle’s (1988) study of Women’s Housing Projects In Eight Canadian Cities indicates that non-profit co-ops are for many women and children their first choice for housing. This is reflected in the numbers of single mothers that live in co-ops. A 1985 study reveals that 24% of the households living  3 F imding for the Co-Operative Housing Program was, however, withdrawn terminating the Program in 1992.  40 in Vancouver that live in co-ops are single-parent families (Kiodwasky, et at., 1985) with national levels of 25% (Klodawsky, et al., 1983). There are both advantages and limitations of cooperative housing for singlemothers. Mothers faced with low wages and high costs for conventional accommodation find co-ops appealing with low membership fees, often less than $100, and the opportunity for subsidized rent. Additionally, housing charges are not expected to rise as rapidly as the private market. Unfortunately, under the cooperative program government subsidies are limited, which results in threequarters of the units charging market rents. Consequently, this alternative only accommodates some of the women who are in need (Werkie, 1988). Furthermore, because demand for acceptance into these co-ops is great, and supply is limited, hopeful applicants may wait anywhere from one month to four years for accommodation. Another advantage of co-operatives is security of tenure. Since women are more likely to be renters than men, many women are living in an insecure form of tenure (McClain and Doyle, 1984). The co-op then becomes attractive as there is no stress of eviction from conversion or demolition. Equality and equity, principles of the cooperative movement, ensure that members are not faced with the discrimination felt in the private sector. As long as the member obeys the rules set by all the members, they are free to remain in the coop as long as they choose. Co-operative living also offers the dual benefits of homeownership without the isolation experienced by single mothers in the private sector. Co-operatives are often designed to be as “house-like” as possible, to provide space necessary for family life. At the same time, it provides more than just shelter. Co-ops offer a supportive community atmosphere which is fostered by the sharing of spaces and activities. Gerda Wekerle’s (1988) study of Women’s Housing Projects in Eight Canadian Cities discovered that although the goal in these projects was to create adequate and affordable shelter, equally important was the creation of a supportive  41 community, where friendships form and mutual aid is exchanged, in a greater intensity than is found in other types of housing cooperatives. Non-Profit Housing Societies As the public housing program, implemented in 1949, was phased out in the 197 Os, non-profit housing programs and co-operatives became the main vehicle for providing housing assistance (Hulchanski, 1988a). These programs were funded solely by the federal government in 1973 under the 56.1 Non-Profit and CoOperative Housing Program and were administered by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). In 1986 the Provincial Non-Profit Program replaced the Federal 56.1 Program. Under the Global Social Housing Agreement, subsidy payments became jointly shared with the federal government, under CMHC, providing 67 per cent of the funding, and the provincial government, under the British Columbia Housing Management Commission (BCHMC), contributing 33 per cent. The subsidy is for thirty-five years and is to: .cover the difference between the break-even rent for the project and the tenant rent contribution based on 30% of the household income. Capital cost financing is provided through a first mortgage with an approved lending institution for up to 100% of the approved project cost (BCMHC, 1993). CMHC insures the mortgage and the subsidies of CMHC and BCMHC are directed toward operating costs. While BCMHC assists the non-profit society in acquiring the site, constructing and operating the housing development, the day-to day management and on-going operations is the full responsibility of the non-profit housing society (BCMHC, 1993). Although co-operatives and non-profit housing societies both operate under the same government Program and have many of the same economic and social benefits, they differ substantially in their form of tenure. All non-profit housing is rental based, unlike the unique blend of rented and owned tenure of the co-operative structure. Many co-operatives have a mix of income levels, whereas tenants  42 selected for placement under the Non-Profit Housing Program must be in Core Housing Need, (defined in section 3.2.1). To take into account changing incomes rents are adjusted annually. Like the co-op structure, the problem is one of demand. There is a long waiting period to gain access to this type of housing. Despite these limitations, this form of housing is a popular one with single-parents in large cities like Vancouver where 36% of these families live in non-profit social housing developments (Klodawsky et al., 1985). With the shift from public housing which is owned and operated by government, to that owned and operated by municipalities, cooperatives and non profit housing societies, there was also a change in the built form. The housing developments of non-profit and cooperative housing are small scale and interspersed with market housing eliminating the stigma associated with large scale public housing. Much of the architecture is also designed to blend in with the neighboring buildings. When non-profit housing was under the Federal 56.1 Program occupancy was offered to a variety of income levels, which also contributed to a sense of normalcy. This was facilitated by amendments to the National Housing Act in 1979 (under which the Federal 56.1 Non-profit Housing Program and the 56.1 Co-operative Housing Program operated). The purpose of the amendments was to: .extend the social status benefits of quasi-homeownership to two groups: first, a moderate income group which probably could not afford to purchase a dwelling; and second, low-income residents who received further assistance to reduce housing charges to a maximum of 30 per cent of adjusted family incomes (Wekerle, 1988a: 106). However funding cut-backs for these programs in 1986 replaced these Progams with housing which is targeted specifically at low-income households, eliminating the income mix the previous Program offered, which “...in effect, reintroduced the public housing program” (Hulchanski, 1988a:21).  43 Research on how this housing serves the needs of single parent families in British Columbia is scant. However, the case study to follow in Chapter 4 on a local Non-profit Housing Society, Entres Nous Femmes Housing Society, will provide some insights as to what extent needs of families are being met. 3.5 Indirect Benefits of Women as Housing Developers in Alternative Housing Environments Many single parent families are unable to meet their higher order needs, (defined by Maslow, discussed in section 1.3) as they struggle to find safe, appropriate housing in a competitive market. However, research on alternative housing arrangements indicates that this type of housing may be different, as it has succeeded, in many cases, in meeting these needs. In the majority of cases in the Western world physiological needs are met more or less by all groups in society. For many population groups safety needs are also met; however, for others, like single parent families, this is not always the case. Often these families are forced, because of low-income, to live in less desirable urban areas where they do not feel that they and their children are safe. Safety needs have been found to be more attainable through alternative housing where safe environments are a consideration. The provision of such housing also provides these families with the opportunity to seek out their needs for love and belongingness in an atmosphere that is supportive and community based. Their children are accepted and provided with safe play areas which mothers can monitor. They are equal members in a community where they provide input into their housing environment. Gerda Wekerle’s (1988) research discovered that where women’s groups have undertaken to provide housing the focus is beyond merely shelter, rather on what it does in their lives. Once the single parent feels that she and her family belong in a caring and supportive environment they are able to work up to the next level on the hierarchy to meet their esteem needs, that are so often shattered, particulary after a marriage dissolution. A sense of empowerment develops as she participates in the  44 creation and management of her housing environment. Robert Fichter, et al. (1972:241) describes this potential for empowerment: When dwellers control the major decisions and are free to make their own contribution to the design, construction or management of their housing, both the process and the environment produced stimulate individual and social well-being. When people have no control over, nor responsibility for key decisions in the housing process, on the other hand, dwelling environments may instead become a barrier to personal fulfilment and a burden on the economy. Through this empowerment a woman develops self-confidence, which raises her selfesteem as she takes control of her environment and her life. This desire to participate in and take control of their housing is higher among women’s than among other cooperatives (Wekerle, 1988). This empowerment that comes from alternative housing forms such as co ops, housing societies and co-housing arises from both the instigation of the housing as well as the operation of it. The housing is initiated by these women; they must buy the land or buildings, hire an architect, apply for funding, and determine how their needs will be best met. After the housing is built there is a great deal of management that must be carried out such as the hiring and supervising of staff,  financial planning and maintenance of the housing. While there is a paucity of research on the connection between housing and social development, there are indications that the psychological health of single mothers and stability for the whole family improves as the housing situation does. Women not only gain self-esteem through the creation and the operation of their own housing they also develop business and interpersonal skills. In Gerda Wekerle  and Sylvia Novae’s (1989) study Developing Two Women’s Housing Cooperatives skill development was reported by 66.7 per cent of the women. These skills included social, negotiation and administrative skills such as budgeting, finances and property management. These skills are beneficial in improving their relationships as well as finding employment. While links between housing and economic  45  development are also only beginning to be explored, researchers such as Joan Simon (1986: 10) concurs and notes direct links in the following ways: • An individual may be part of the business of developing and/or managing housing; • The experience of being a housing consumer may develop skills useful in business; • The dwelling itself may be the focus of business activity living in “the shop” appears to be a growing trend in our post-industrial society. -  The opportunities for economic development in alternative housing arrangements could be further expanded upon if funding for such things as daycare centers were made available. Furthermore, when women are involved in such things as the design of their housing much more appropriate space is provided for them and their children, creating a higher level of satisfaction with their housing. Much of conventional housing is not adequately designed to address the needs of women and children. For example, space for children to play that facilitates surveillance by the mother is often not addressed in traditional housing design. This is an essential feature for mothers in order for them to carry on their household chores while looking out for the safety of their children. Through this housing and the opportunities it provides, women satisfy their lower order needs and begin to gain confidence through the mastery of new skills, which enables some to gain a sense of unlimited potential. This can lead to the satisfaction of the ultimate need, that of self-actualization. It is at this stage the highest level of need gratification is met, where full humanness is experienced, and the greatest contributions to society can be made. 3.6 Sununary  The structure of the North American family is changing rapidly. One of the most noticeable changes is the increasing number of single parent families. This  46 family type is, in fact, the fastest growing of all families. As a result, there are particular housing needs these faiiiilies have that are different than joint parent families which are often not considered in housing policy. While the emphasis on market-welfare housing policies have succeeded in providing good housing for most Canadians, it has not aided in alleviating housing problems for those most in need. More comprehensive housing policies that involve greater emphasis on housing delivery by non-profit housing societies and co-operatives deserve greater attention as they are found to effectively meet the needs of single parents. Included in these policies is retention of affordable housing supply in the long-term, which may be assisted by such structures as land trusts.  The potential of alternative housing  goes beyond simply supplying shelter; it confers other benefits including instilling the mothers with a sense of stability, empowerment, and the development of business skills. These benefits are transferred to the whole family, improving the overall health of their communities and will be examined in more detail in the following case study.  47 4.0 ENTRES NOUS FEMMES HOUSING SOCIETY CASE STUDY As the literature review has indicated, female single parent families, because of their low socio-economic position, face many hardships when they seek housing in the marketplace. Finding appropriate housing that meets their particular needs and those of their children is a continuous struggle. Various types of alternative housing have developed out of a concern for these largely unmet needs. One such alternative that will be explored in this thesis is Entres Nous Femmes, a non-profit housing society in Vancouver. This case study is limited to examining how well this housing meets the needs of single parent families, and to an analysis based on the experiential knowledge of the “experts” who live in this housing. The value of this housing to the lives of these families can effectively be found through the voices of the women who head these families, voices that are frequently not heard. This chapter begins with an outline of the methodology that was utilized in the research of this case study. Then, a brief historical background of the housing society is given from its early beginnings in 1980 to today. Next, the organization of the housing society is examined. Finally, the research findings are presented, illustrating how the women living in ENF feel that their needs as single parents are being met. The findings also reveal the extent to which living in this housing has empowered women and encouraged the development of new skills; improved physical and mental health and their relationships with, and lives of, their children; and in general, enabled them to move forward in positive directions in their lives. 4.1 Research Methodology A concern for facilitating both depth and breadth in this research resulted in the decision to employ both quantitative and qualitative methodologies. The purpose of this section is to discuss how these methods were employed for this case. The source for quantitative information was obtained from:  48  • A survey In order to determine what type of housing best meets the needs of -  female single parent families a survey was conducted with five of the eight Vancouver Entres Nous Femmes housing communities. The female single parents evaluated their housing based on a number of criteria including: accessibility, availability, security of tenure, appropriateness of facilities for children, household maintenance, opportunities for sharing and support, privacy and safety. The survey was also aimed at discovering if there were additional benefits that were realized once the women became established in their housing communities. Although quantitative methods are necessary to provide a broad and generalizable set of findings in the form of statistical data through the survey, the goal of this research was to go beyond this data to gain a greater understanding of the housing situation of female single parents. To do this qualitative evidence was derived from the following sources: • Documentation- In order to understand the context of this case it was essential to explore in detail how the housing society was developed and organized. This information was retrieved from minutes of the meetings and tenant information booklets. • Interviews with a key informant- An interview with founding member, Leslie Stern contributed in an elaboration of the historical background of ENF. • Meetings- Attendance of a tenant orientation meeting provided further understanding of the history of ENF as well as insight into the lives of the tenants and the workings of the housing communities. A meeting with Board members helped to facilitate an understanding of how the Society functions at a management level. • Focused interviews- Interviews were conducted to complement, expand upon, and check the validity of the quantitative data found in the survey. While the questions for the interviews were predetermined, the interviews were conducted in an open-ended, conversational manner to allow for fresh insight into the subject  49 matter. This approach for conducting the interviews was chosen as this standardized format reduces the interviewer effect by asking the same questions to each respondent. It also minimizes the necessity of interviewer judgement during the interview. While the trade-off is less flexibility and individualization, this approach improves credibility as equal amounts of information are collected from participants (Patton, 1990). The data collected is still open-ended in that the questions facilitate personal insights, thoughts, and detail. Interested women volunteered for interviews either in person or by phone. These interviews were recorded through notes and/or an audio-tape. The data that were collected from these interviews were then identified, coded and categorized to facilitate content analysis. To begin this process the data was organized into themes and files which became the data index of the interviews. This served to simplify the data into a manageable form.  • Observations- Direct observations were made during visits to the communities to better understand the context in which the single mothers live. These observations served to provide a more comprehensive view of the housing situation. Several specific steps were taken in the process of researching this case study: (1) contacting Entres Nous Femmes to determine whether the society would support a research project aimed at evaluating the tenant’s perception of how their housing is meeting their needs as single parents; (2) presenting a proposal to Entres Nous Femmes for the research at a meeting of the Board members and working with informants to develop an appropriate strategy; (3) reviewing the documents to provide a background to Entres Nous Femmes; (4) interviewing a key informant to augment an understanding of the Society’s history;  50 (5) attending a tenant orientation meeting and a Board meeting to facilitate a greater understanding of the Society; (6) administering the survey questionnaire to female single parent tenants to determine how their housing is meeting their needs and those of their children, as well as determine the concomitant benefits; (7) conducting in-depth interviews to augment and enrich the data found in the survey with personal insights from female single parents; (8) observing the housing environments to gain an understanding of the context of the case; (9) analyzing the results of the survey and the interviews to determine: (i) what extent this type of housing delivery meets the needs of female single parent families, (ii) what further indirect benefits can non-profit housing bring to single mothers; (10) interpreting to go beyond the descriptive data: Interpretation means attaching significance to what was found, offering explanations, drawing conclusions, extrapolating lessons, making inferences, building linkages, attaching meanings, imposing order, and dealing with rival explanations, disconfirming cases, and data irregularities as part of testing the viability of an interpretation (Patton, 1990:423). (11) utilizing the information derived from the various methodologies to demonstrate the extent to which the non-profit approach of Entres Nous Femmes is successful in meeting the needs of single parent families. This information provides a forum for future policy discussions as to what is the most appropriate form of housing for these women, leading to considerations for future housing delivery. 4.2 Historical Background Entres Nous Femmes is a grassroots organization that germinated out of the frustrations felt by a number of female single parents over a lack of recognition of their housing needs. This section serves to illustrate how this frustration led these  51  women to organize to implement change in their lives, which subsequently led to the formation of a non-profit housing society. 4.2.1 Early Beginnings: 1980- 1985  The seed was planted for Entres Nous Femmes in the early 80s when a group of women, frustrated by the lack of acknowledgement of single mothers’ needs in government policy, began to organize around their common concerns. Support groups were formed with the help of the YWCA. The Y provided the space, childcare,  and the facilitator to maintain on-going groups. The women identified a number of issues that were important to them. With the identification of these issues symposiums with themes such as “Let’s make Mother’s Day Something to Celebrate”, and “Uniting for Change”, were held to discuss the concerns of single mothers. A survey of single mothers was conducted which identified four major areas of concern for female single parents including: housing, income and welfare rights, women and the law, and childcare. Women then became organized by becoming members in one of these focus groups. This led to the formation of the Single Mothers Action Committee (SMAC), which decided that housing was a good issue to start with, and that over time other issues would be  dealt with. SMAC drew up a position paper which stated a number of goals including: affordable housing, co-operative environment, development of jobs for women, and 24 hour child care support. This led to the formation of a Task Force in 1984. The members wanted the support of the YWCA to be their non-profit sponsor in order to put their ideas into action. However, the response from the YWCA was that they didn’t have the money to develop housing. This was a disappointment for the  4 B ackground information for tbis section was derived from an interview with a founding member of ENF, Leslie Stem.  52  Committee but the YWCA did agree to support the group in forming their own organization and contributed $1,000 and a letter of support. Subsequently, the Entres Nous Femmes Housing Society was created, free from YWCA restrictions. The women were a:Il anxious to create some change and this urgency was hastened by the rumour that CMHC would be changing their involvement in housing. This would result in 1985 being the last year of CMHC’s 56.1 program. (Section 56.1 of the National Housing Act is the enabling legislation that involved the federal government in non-profit housing.) Government involvement did indeed shift with a provincial-federal agreement which resulted in the federal government assuming responsibility for cooperatives and the provincial government taking over responsibility for non-profit housing. As a result, the first building, Alma Blackwell, which was built under the federal government, was mixed income housing as mandated under the 56.1 program. All non-profit buildings after this, which includes all of ENF buildings except the first, are under the new provincial agreement, stipulating the housing only be geared toward the core needy, with subsidies jointly shared with the provincial government contributing 1/3 and the federal government 2/3. The women quickly organized and made linkages with Inner City, a resource group that was experienced with the development of Co-operatives. They agreed to job share the project on a 2/3  -  1/3 basis. With the backing of the Inner City  Resource Group and the YMCA, the group of women gained credibility in the industry. This group co-shared development costs with them, as well as provided office space and money for the option on the land. This money helped to secure the land for the first housing community, Alma Blackwell on Adanac street. A proposal call was submitted to CMHC and the Society went through two levels of approval only to be turned down by CMHC. CMHC changed the criteria upon which projects were judged from that which met a social need to one which was cost efficient. So  ENF joined forces with Sitka Co-Op and Red Door, who were also rejected, and  53  lobbied Ottawa, the regional CMHC office, Ministers of the Legislative Assembly and Ministers of Parliament. The platform was housing for women and after cogent discussions, CMHC gave ENF the approval to develop. 4.2.2 Entres Nous Fenune Philosophy and Incorporation: February 1985  Entre Nous Femmes was officially incorporated in February 1985 as a non profit society under provincial law. In 1987 the changes in the Society’s purposes and objectives were reflected in their registration under the BC Society Act and included the following: 1. to acquire and operate one or more non-profit housing accommodations 2. to promote, develop, and maintain the quality of life for single parents and their children 3. To meet the crucial need of single parents for appropriate and affordable housing by: a. Promoting, developing and maintaining housing b. Collating and providing housing information 4. to facffitate networking and resource sharing among single parent families 5. to encourage greater participation by single parent families in the community at large 6. to do all such things as are necessary for attaining the purposes of the Society (Society Act Certificate, 1987) Since ENF was developed by single mothers, for single mothers, these households comprise the largest percentage of the tenants at approximately 6070%. However, although the target group is single mothers, a supportive, mixed community is believed to be healthy; thus, the balance of the community is made up of two parent families, singles, couples and seniors. The development of supportive and interactive communities is hoped to facilitate moving families beyond the stages of poverty. Their experience has shown that: .housing provides a base from which to move forward. Once basic needs are met, lives stabilize; while work and income opportunities increase. Our success to date has been our focus on both the needs and opportunities of program participants and users. (ENF tenant introduction booklet)  54  4.2.3 Development Begins: 1985  Once the Society was incorporated and the goals were clearly outlined much more work lay ahead. A meeting was set at Britannia Community Center for prospective tenants; it was attended by 250-300 people. This first meeting created the first waiting list. Several tenant committees were set up such as design, management and finance to encourage tenants to become involved at all levels. A management committee comprised of three tenants, three board members, and chaired by the President of the Society was set up to administer the program and  building. An architect was hired to represent them and to negotiate with CMHC. The process was guided by the women who determined the design guidelines in terms of such elements as space, light, courtyards, kitchens over courtyards, and so on. Such guidelines were of foremost importance to the women in the design process. In keeping with a mandate to view housing from the woman’s perspective, the primary project design criteria came to include: (1) Safety and Security (2) Light and Livability (3) Easy Maintenance (4) Ability to Monitor Children (5) Accessible Common Room and Play Areas The first building, Alma Blackwell on Adanac Street in East Vancouver, was completed in July 1986 and tenants moved in August 1986. This was followed with seven more buildings including: Beatrice Terrace completed in December 1987 in East Vancouver; Antkiw Court completed in October 1988 in East Vancouver; Jessica Place completed in May 1991 in Surrey; Margaret Heights completed in October 1991 in North Vancouver; Constance Court completed in January 1992 in East Vancouver; Natalia Terrace completed in June 1992 in South Vancouver; and Evelyn Estates completed in April 1993 in Surrey.  55  4.3 The Organization of Entres Nous Femmes There are two levels of organization and management of ENF- the Board level and the level of the individual communities. The Board is made up of a President, Vice-president, Secretary, Treasurer, elected Tenant Directors (one from each community), and members at large. (ENF is the first non-profit housing society to include tenant participation on the Board of Directors.) The purpose of the Board is to facilitate in the functioning of the communities, making decisions on the management and development of the Society. Only members and Board members have a vote on major decisions. 5 This structure is much different from a co-op where each resident is a member with a vote and participates fuIly in the decision-making. ENF tenants are encouraged to participate, but this participation is not mandatory as the burdens that many single parents feel with multiple responsibilities is recognized as being a genuine obstacle for many. If they choose not to participate the property manager and the Board are responsible for ensuring that the housing is managed properly. The property manager is a non-resident hired to take care of the day-to-day operations of the buildings. Although the philosophy of ENF is that tenant participation is important as it promotes a sense of ownership and community, as well as keeping costs down, this is not demanded of all tenants. For organization and management at the community level each community has a management team made up of interested tenants. This team meets to discuss issues that are relevant to their community. These issues are then taken to either the Board by the tenant director or to the property manager by the tenant representative. A tenant director for each community is chosen annually by the tenants. The tenant director serves as a liaison between the ENF Board and the  5 F or a more detailed account of the management structures of ENF see Geary (1994).  56  tenants, taking the tenant concerns to the Board for remediation. The tenant representative’s function is to liaison with the property manager and to co-ordinate and chair community tenant meetings. Tenant meetings are held about once a month and tenants are asked to participate in maintenance and on committees. Tenants set up their own committees to deal with such things as maintenance, mediation, social activities, gardening, recycling, and so on. Entres Nous Femme’s philosophy encourages involvement by the tenants through the Society and/or through participation on the management team in their community. Their position is that personal empowerment arises from participation in ones housing environment. Experience has proven this to be true: Two ENF tenants have served as President on the ENF Board, tenants and members have been hired as staff, and have gone on to use the knowledge and experience they have gained in the development process in the industry at large. Employment and training opportunities have been created along with supportive friendships and distinctly individualistic housing communities. (ENF Housing Society Information Sheet) 4.4 Research Findings  The objective of this primary research for this thesis was to evaluate the housing environment of ENF to determine how effective it is in meeting the needs of single mothers, as well as whether any indirect benefits are conferred by living there. First, though, housing histories of women interviewed were examined to gain an understanding of the realities single mothers face in the private market housing arena. These histories provide a contextual framework, which serves as a source of comparison with their current housing with ENF. The housing communities that were involved included Alma Blackwell, Beatrice Terrace, Antikiw Court, Constance Court and Natalia Terrace. (The physical inaccessibility of the remaining three ENF communities restricted involvement to the buildings located in Vancouver.) The population group consisted of 89 single mothers from the five housing communities, from which sixteen  57  responded to the survey, resulting in a response rate of 18%; and seven women agreed to interviews, equating to a 8% response rate. While the reasons for this relatively small response rate are not substantiated, there are a couple of plausible explanations. The tenants may have felt overburdened by the requests to volunteer their time to researchers. A short time before research for this thesis was conducted two other research projects were petitioning the women for similar information. Cultural/language differences is a further, reasonable explanation, that was given by one of the property managers for the low response rate in some of the communities. In the particular building that she manages, more than a quarter of the tenants speak a language other than English, which is a barrier that impedes their ability to respond to such research. Despite the small sample size, some interesting and valid insight was gained through the research which the following sections document. 4.4.1 Housing Histories  The literature review in chapter 3 examined the obstacles many single mothers encounter when searching for adequate housing in the marketplace, as well as difficulties with this housing once they find somewhere to live. This housing predicament is echoed by many of the women interviewed when describing their personal housing experiences prior to moving to ENF. An examination of the contents of the seven interviews that were conducted revealed the following to be the most salient of these difficulties: affordability, discrimination, safety, privacy, lack of space for children, insecure tenure, lack of maintenance and unhealthy living environments. Since most housing is in the private market realm this is where the majority of the women interviewed drew their personal experiences from. Only one of the seven women interviewed had previous experience living in an alternative housing environment, which was a co-op.  58 When looking for housing, affordability was cited by all of the women as the greatest obstacle in their way of finding suitable housing for their families. Their options were often limited to undesirable and unsafe areas, or to “better”, “safer” neighborhoods where they were relegated to dark, damp basement suites. In all cases it was found that the housing that was affordable was substandard for raising children. Discrimination, which is interlinked with affordability, was another significant problem experienced by five of the seven women interviewed when trying to find housing. In an attempt to raise their children on their own many mothers are on welfare, which automatically creates prejudice in the minds of many landlords. The stereotypes of the single mother on welfare conjures up images for some, of irresponsible, loose women, who have no control over their lives and their children. Many of the landlords did not want children in the building at all because of the noise and as one mother said they believe: “children are hard on places”. Consequently, landlords employ a variety of tactics to avoid renting to single mothers. Some of these that were experienced by the mothers interviewed were: informing the mother that all the suites were rented, when still available; restricting families with children to ground suites, thus seriously limiting availability; inflating the price of the rent so the mother would not be able to consider living there; requiring the renter to have both a good paying job and references. One mother found that having money in the bank was not enough when she looked for housing without a job or references after her divorce: It is difficult to rent with children, [they] don’t want children. If you don’t have a good paying job and references, you are out of luck, and a lot of women, especially single parent women, make little money on welfare, or are in a transition in their lives. In my situation beginning a divorce, I had an inheritance but no job, bad some money in the bank but no one would consider looking at it because I didn’t have a job. It is like women getting credit or mortgages.  59  For this particular woman the consequences of this discrimination and a “catch 22” situation rendered her family homeless. She was unable to pay the mortgage on her house, and because she owned a home with her ex-husband, social services felt she did not need aid with housing. She explains in the following passage: We were actually homeless for two months and lived in a tent with my children when my husband and I split up. We had owned a house, but I couldn’t afford the mortgage as my husband refused to pay mortgage and child support, and on $350 from welfare I couldn’t support myself and children. Because they decided I didn’t need shelter-they wouldn’t help pay the mortgage. I had to rent out the house- the cheque bounced-bad renters-had to live in a tent until I could sell the house and then all the money went to the bank because I didn’t own it long enough. Finally she was able to find housing in a small one-bedroom basement suite, where she had to sleep in the living-room. Homelessness was also the fate of another woman and her children when she left her abusive relationship. She desperately searched for eight months for housing, finding the obstacles of discrimination and affordability overwhelming. As a result, during this time they were forced to live in a variety of places including shelters, with friends, and even back to the abusive relationship because they had no where else to go. Once these women were able to find a place to live, most commonly in a basement suite, there were other issues to deal with, such as: limited or no space for children; insecure tenure; safety; unhealthy living environment and lack of maintenance; and privacy. Firstly, almost all of the women (six of the seven) cited a lack of space, particularly for their children, to be a major source of contention in previous housing situations. In most cases financial constraints limited them, regardless of their family size, to one bedroom apartments or basement suites. Cramped quarters meant most mothers were relegated to sleeping in the living room while their child(ren) slept in the bedroom. While interior space was limited for children, outside  60 play space was similarly inadequate, as it often did not exist or was limited and/or unsafe. Secondly, a secure home base was difficult to establish for many of the single mothers as the threat of eviction was so imminent. Five of the seven mothers felt very uncertain about their tenure in their previous housing. This atmosphere of uncertainty arose out of a housing market in a state of constant flux, where the loss of rental housing to demolition and conversion is high. As one of the mothers explained: You never knew whether you would be able to stay there, the way the housing situation was. Houses could be sold tomorrow and you might have to move next month. The lack of good affordable housing, and the surplus supply of people looking for such places to live, puts tenants in a vulnerable situation with landlords who are primarily interested in housing as an investment. This predicament was described by one woman: I was not secure in my tenancy. The landlord lived in Vancouver. He didn’t want to do anything to the house. His attitude was if you don’t like it, there are 25 people beating my door down and I can put the rent up $100. This was his whole attitude through my whole tenancy. This same “take it or leave it” attitude held by landlords was frequently the way requests for maintenance of the housing unit was handled. One woman explains: “When I complained about the heating system never being cleaned, or the people upstairs making gross amounts of noise, he said: ‘too bad.” He displayed blatant disregard for her complaints as he was cognizant of potential renters that would take her place. Thirdly, safety was cited as a concern in previous housing circumstances for four of the seven women interviewed. Affordable housing is often not found in the most desirable areas, forcing single parents to raise their families in neighborhoods with high crime rates. In such environs prostitution and drug-use are commonplace, as are violent crimes which leads to a frightening reality for some, particularly for  61 one mother who has been jolted awake on occasion by gun-shots in her neighborhood. For another woman living next to a beer pick-up, which she was convinced doubled for illegal activities, living in her unsafe neighborhood was a source of continual stress for her as well, as she relays in the quote below: We used to see a lot of people come out with beer. It was okay until the last year I lived there, then there would be people at midnight and 1:00 a.m. with the lights on and there would be people drinking in the alley and that kind of stuff. That scared my son a lot because his bedroom was next to the alley and my back door was broken into. They never made it into my house, but there was an attempt... One of the women interviewed had her house broken into by a neighbor and consequently called the police. This incident not only increased her fear level; it also has caused her problems with prospective landlords who want to know if tenants have had a past history with the police. She feels her honest response to this has created discrimination against her when looking for housing. Lack of safety was reiterated by the fourth mother who lived in a basement  suite: The people who lived upstairs were young guys on welfare who would party. Lots of dope smoking throughout the month. They were very rowdy and it was threatening to the children. They would come down after a beer. I didn’t feel safe at all. Fourthly, living in dank, dark basement suites, often improperly maintained, created unhealthy living environments and sickness for 4 of the 7 mothers and their children. After moving into a basement suite one mother found it to be:  “..  .so dark  you couldn’t stand it, you couldn’t breath because it was so hot or it was freezing.” Complaints about such things as excessive heat from the heat pipe that ran across the ceiling of one woman’s suite fell on deaf ears as the landlord refused to fix it. These unhealthy environments are reflected in yet another quote: We were sick a lot. I have allergies. The dampness and the coldness made me really sick. The kids were sick a lot too, it wasn’t healthy for us to be there; it was infested; there was mold growing, and all sorts of bugs.  62 Even in alternative housing such as a cooperative such problems in maintenance can arise for a variety of reasons. The one woman interviewed that had previous experiences with co-ops describes her ordeal: I moved out of the second co-op because my suite was really moldy, and very damp, and my son has allergies. I was so disappointed, I kept trying for years for them to do something about it. The mold got into my furniture and my son was sick from all the mold. It just wasn’t a good situation. I lived there for four years. The mold got worse every year. They kept doing band-aid solutions-putting a solution on the walls to kill the mold-but come fall it would start all over again. My suite always had the worse mold. I didn’t know why my windows were constantly damp and my skin used to itch when I was there for years but I didn’t connect it. My son was moody then too, and he got tested for allergies. He had mold and dust allergies; it wasn’t a good place to live. They weren’t doing anything about it. The wood was all rotting. There is a lot of politics involved with co-ops. They said they had money and then they would totally refinish a different site... -  -  Maintenance in market housing depends on the landlord’s discretion whereas from this woman’s experience in her co-op maintenance often hinged on political will. In the words of this woman: It was a scattered co-op. There were 7 sites. I found out that the one I lived in always got the least amount done to it. It just depends who has the power. If there was someone powerful on my site, with the “in” crowd and demanded it, it probably would have been done. It comes a lot to that unfortunately; nothing was ever done at our site. When I left so did my neighbors, for similar reasons, and for their own personal reasons. I found out that they had the same problems, where things weren’t getting done, except that he used to be a carpenter, so he fixed a lot of stuff because after two years nothing was getting done. But I didn’t know how to do that so I was stuck with all of the little things that were wrong. Fifthly, lack of privacy was a problem one mother felt to be an issue. Many struggling single mothers that have family support often have to contend with overbearing parents who despite perhaps good intentions, encroach on the privacy of the mother. This was the case with this particular mother who rented from her parents. She felt that her dependence on them for her housing gave her parents the license to interfere in her life and that of her children which, as she explained, “drove her crazy!”. This close involvement in her life made her feel that she was incapable  63 of raising her children. The private space of her home was continually invaded as her parents had a key to her place and would come in whenever they chose to. Infringement of privacy is also an issue with mothers who choose homesharing as a cost-effective housing alternative. One mother found this to be a grave concern but was willing to compromise in order to find adequate housing. She discovered it was difficult to find a compatible family to live with and many mothers were afraid to give up their privacy and complete autonomy of child rearing. These histories are testimony to the obstacles single mothers face when looking for affordable housing in the marketplace which systematically discriminates against their family type. When they do find housing it is often compromised by one, or a combination of many difficulties discussed above. The exertion required can at times be overwhelming when combined with the sole responsibility of parenting. Many mothers become depleted of energy, unable to divert their attention to their betterment as individuals and therefore to the improvement of their family’s welfare. This self-defeating cycle affects esteem, often adversely causing women to feel powerless to make significant changes in their lives. 4.4.2 Housing in Entres Nous Femmes The many frustrations felt by the single mothers interviewed led them to seek out alternatives to their current housing situation. Entres Nous Femmes was discovered through a variety of ways including friends, a co-operative education course, the YMCA, family services, B.C. Housing Registry, and the newspaper. A number of things attracted the women to ENF, the most common element being affordability. Many of the women felt their role as sole caretakers of their children rendered them vulnerable in the face of uncertainty. This mother’s words  are typical of the insecurities single mothers feel: I knew I needed shelter, needed shelter I could afford, because if I didn’t, if I got sick or didn’t have a job, I wouldn’t be able to feed my  64 kids. The bottom line was paying rent and full time daycare, and before I even put food on the table my costs were $1000- with daycare, transportation, and my rent. I have never made more that $1200 per month. When you have kids you tend to take part-time work or jobs that are close to home. Although she was somewhat hesitant when she discovered that the housing was not in the most desirable area, she conceded later: .as soon as I saw how much light I was going to have, and as soon as I saw I was going to have money to feed my kids, this was the basis of my decision, I really needed the security. • .  Other attractions to ENF that the women interviewed commented on were cleanliness, absence of mold, and only minimum requirements for maintenance. Additionally, the Society was very supportive and understanding of the particular housing needs of single parents and the communities were comprised of like-minded people. This support for single mothers was obvious from one mother’s initial meeting which she recalls in the following quotation: At one of the initial meetings for prospective tenants the architect was there, drawings were up, board members were there, and they all said a blurb about single parents.. .1 was very impressed with the design of the suites, grounds, etc. more than I thought possible to have, for example, bedrooms were on the top floor, separate from the main floor, -play areas were geared toward children and parents.. .It was brand new, original tenants could pick their own colors.. .1 was impressed generally by their supportive way.. .it was built by single parents for single parents. -  Another women concurred: “I felt comfortable with the name. It seemed to be positively slanted towards women.” 4.4.3 Evaluation of Housing Environments by Residents When searching for affordable housing many single mothers were attracted to ENF and consequently pursued tenancy. The following section focuses on how available this housing was to these mothers as well as their evaluation of how various aspects including accessibility, security of tenure, appropriate facilities for children, safety, privacy, opportunities for sharing and support, and design features  65  meets their needs as single parents. The information is a collaboration of findings from both a survey and interviews. Availability Since the demand for good affordable housing is high and supply is limited, the waiting lists for this type of housing are very long. All, but one of the sixteen mothers that responded to the survey indicated that they were on a waiting list to get housing with ENF. The wait for this housing ranged from 2 months to 5 years, with the average being 1 year and 9 months. This inundation of interest was recalled by one of the women interviewed who attended the first meeting of interested potential tenants at Britannia Community Centre in 1985. The meeting was overwhelmed by 250-300 enthusiastic people all wanting housing with ENF. She became no. 232 on a waiting list that she was on for two years, until finally her number came up and she uprooted herself from the suburbs to Vancouver. Clearly demand is far exceeding supply for this type of housing, leaving many single parent families desperately waiting for a vacancy. Accessibility For single-parents proximity to essential services are crucial to accommodate their responsibilities as a parent and their lack of mobility (only three of the seven women interviewed had a vehicle, of these three- one had a scooter, and one could not afford the insurance). The mothers were asked in the survey and interviews how accessible their housing was to work, schools, stores and other services. The survey results indicate that the majority of women are satisfied with the proximity of their housing to these localities. While 10 women indicated that proximity to work was not applicable, 3 responded that their housing was close to work and for 3 respondents it was not; 15 women replied yes schools and stores were close to their housing, while only 1 woman in each case indicated that these  66 places were not close to home; 13 responded yes their housing was close to other services and 3 indicated that they were not. The high satisfaction with accessibility is understandable as four of the five ENF buildings are centrally located in the eastside of Vancouver, whereas the fifth building, Natalia Terrace, is located in the Fraserlands, surrounded by new developments and little in the way of services. The two tenants interviewed in the latter building expressed the greatest amount of dissatisfaction with accessibility. They felt isolated from most things as there is nothing but residential buildings within walking distance. One of the women who doesn’t have a car finds it very inaccessible, as she explains: It is inaccessible to the schools my children go to. It is far from everything. The bus route is really terrible, it is every half hour. If you are lucky in the morning you might catch it every half hour and if you miss that bus you have to wait another half hour. I really would rather the bus come every 15 minutes and not have to walk all the way up the hill and wait for one that does. The bus that comes in the front comes every half hour; it is difficult. It is not accessible to the downtown area so it really limits your job choices. I have to go all the way to the sky-train at 22nd avenue station. I have to take a bus to the sky-train and then take the sky-train downtown. If there was a bus accessible it would cut off 20 minutes to half an hour. Even with a car the other woman interviewed expressed the difficulties of living so far away from everything and the complete dependence on your car: There is little bus service. I have a car and I have to drive everywhere. I would like to have the option. I am so dependent on my car; if something went wrong with it, it would take hours and hours to get anywhere, especially with a little child; it is all up hill. Even walking to the bus stop is difficult. While she finds the inaccessibility with a car difficult, she thinks it would be much more discouraging without one. Living so far away from employment opportunities combined with the responsibilities of a child limits job choices which would be worsened without a car, as she further explains: It is so hard. I go to school on Friday morning on King Edward. It is a 25 minute drive each way. If I had to take my son to a baby-sitter and go there by public transit and pick him up my three hour course would  67 end up being a whole day enterprise, and the costs of the babysitting for the extra travel time- it is really off-putting. It is really limiting. I do volunteer work too; it is very stressful. The thought of working downtown and babysitting arrangements... The five women interviewed that live on the east side all felt that their housing was reasonably close to most places they needed access to and four of the five felt that the public transportation system was convenient and efficient and consequently did not feel that job choices were limited as a result. The fifth mother reported that while the transportation system is there, because of the problematic neighborhood it is not a pleasant experience: Public transit is horrible. My friends and I refer to it as the “Tombs Express”. It is appalling. It hasn’t improved at all. It is overcrowded. Sometimes you have to jump off the bus because people are fighting or throwing up. It is a horror show. They should pay us to ride that bus. The Victoria and Hastings bus into this neighborhood is so bad. It is so depressing; it smells. If you want to build your immunity to disease take that bus. It is getting so grungy; it is so awful. Because of this situation safety is an issue and this limits her choices for work and education: For me it is an issue of safety, I wouldn’t dare take that bus at night. If a woman works at night or goes to school at night, and most people do, and they have to rely on the bus, it isn’t very good. It would definitely inhibit me. Security of Tenure  Another major issue of concern voiced by the women is security of tenure in their housing. Many of these single mothers seek stable home environments for their children where they are free from thoughts of eviction or unreasonable rent increases. The overall response from the survey and interviews on the question of security of tenure in ENF was quite a positive one. Four of the women in the survey indicated they were “completely secure” with their tenure; 11 felt “reasonably secure”; only one felt “not very secure”; and there were no responses to the last category- “not secure at all”.  68 There was a parallel response through the interviews as most felt that there was little threat to their security. According to the women if they followed the tenant lease, paid their rent on time, and respected other tenants, their tenancy was assured. Those tenants not willing to follow such considerations are given three letters of warning before an eviction notice is served. Such leniency gives tenants opportunity to rectify their behavior, a luxury not afforded in the private market, making evictions rare. Tenants are also comforted in the knowledge that they will always be able to pay their rent, as it never goes above 30% of their income. The sporadic employment of some of the tenants is not seen as a threat to their tenure as they are cognizant that their rent will readjust in times of unemployment. This sense of security is expressed in the following passage: I don’t have any worries at all. I like the way the rent has been set for the year, if I start working in the next few months it doesn’t matter what I make, the rent stays the same. But if it were the other way around, and my rent was $500, and I lost my job, then they would put my rent down, so I think that is really good. There are a lot of people out there who have lost their job and their mortgage is $1000, no one is going to lower it for them. While the fixed 30% of income for rent is seen by most as a bulwark against insecure employment environments, others also view it with some trepidation, as an increase in income results in an increase in rent, which can be for some a disincentive to raise their income level. The primary concern voiced by three of the women interviewed was the lack of ceiling on the rents, and in particular the impact this has on community life. When rent surpasses market rent because of increases in income it is no longer financially reasonable to live in ENF, despite the fact one has become established in the community. These viewpoints are reflected in the following quotes: I suppose if I made a lot of money I would be concerned about my tenure here. There is no ceiling on B.C. housing [rents]. I know some women who have had to move because they have reached an income bracket where for the amount of rent they are paying they can get a  69  nicer apartment, dishwasher, etc. and no. 1 a safer neighborhood. So they leave, which is unfortunate because there are some women here that make good money but I don’t think they particularly want to leave because it is their community, their family, but they have to pay quite a bit in rent. The only disadvantage to a place like this is there is no ceiling, as I start to earn money, I will always be paying one third of my gross income, and there will be a point where I will be moving out. I like a co op where there is a mixture of incomes. Every-one who lives here is poor otherwise they wouldn’t be here, it dictates a kind of mood. I don’t think that is right. I think ENF’s philosophy is that it is for people who really need it, and when you no longer do, you should be moving on. If there was a ceiling it would improve the social quality. The notion that housing with ENF is only for those that are in need, and once you have become empowered, and financially stable it is time to move out and beyond, has also left some women feeling that they are missing the mark and subsequently their tenure may be uncertain. This is reflected in the interview excerpt below: I think one could get a bit paranoid that you have spent too long here that you should be successful already and that you should be on your way and someone else should be moving in and because I am one of the original people I start to wonder if that is a sign of failure, that I may be here for ever. I almost think that someone will say, okay her time limit is up, she has been here too long and will try to get rid of me or something. Appropriateness of Facilities for Children  The women interviewed all expressed the importance of housing that would not only meet their needs as single parents, but also those of their children. Most mothers indicated that the housing they lived in prior to ENF was completely inadequate in terms of safe play areas where they could watch over their children, as well as the provision of childcare. The survey and interviews sought to discover how these mothers felt ENF was meeting some of these important concerns. It was discovered from the survey that the majority of the respondents were satisfied with the facilities in ENF for young children, but not for teenagers. When asked how adequate and safe the play areas around ENF were for children one  70 woman replied “completely adequate and safe” ; the majority (14) responded that they were “reasonably adequate and safe”; one responded “not very adequate and safe”; and no one indicated that they were “not adequate and safe”. All of the communities have areas for children that are away from the street, situated in the community courtyard and/or secured with a fence, and are supplied with play apparatuses (Figure 1).  -  •  __-__w-.-  ••-  r  —‘,. -  •...  —  -.  -.-  —  -5 •.;_.___  .1_•• -  -  -  .  -.  Figure 1 The question concerning facilities for teenagers yielded less favorable responses, there were no replies to “completely adequate”; only two indicated that the facilities were “reasonably adequate”; the majority (eight) felt that the facilities were “not very adequate”; four of the women thought they were “not adequate at all”; and for two respondents the question was not applicable. However, within the surrounding area the facilities for teenagers were rated higher with one respondent indicating these facilities were “completely adequate”; the majority (eight) felt they were “reasonably adequate”; two replied they were “not  71 very adequate”; three women indicated they were “not adequate at all”; and again, for two respondents the question was not applicable.  Thus, the facilities in the  community at large for older children may serve to compensate for the inadequacies in the housing community in this regard as related in the following quote: The play areas are not adequate for older children. What happens with teenagers anyway is they go off with their friends. There are excellent community centers in the neighborhood-swimming pools, etc., if the kids want to take advantage of it they can. The majority of the mothers also expressed some level of satisfaction with design of the play areas in terms of how conducive it is to the surveillance of their children’s play from their housing unit (Figure 2). Three respondents indicated they could “completely” monitor their children’s play area from their home; six indicated they could “reasonably” do so; four responded “not really”; and three indicated they could “not at all” monitor their child(ren) at play from their housing unit. Evidence from the interviews generally concurs with these findings. Most mothers found that despite the relatively unsafe neighborhoods, play space for young children is provided for within the housing community, and is designed in such a way that mothers are able to keep a watchful eye on their children at play. The following is representative of many of the mothers’ thoughts regarding the play space: We really rely on the playground for the young children. One big advantage is that the building looks onto the play area so that every one keeps an eye on each other’s children. Sometimes they have 18 parents instead of the one! The play areas are as safe as they can be.. .we have a community of 18 families who all know each other.. .there is an awareness of other children.. .ear and eye to children playing by all tenants.. .the area is fenced in and is secure and separate from the street.. .Older kids come and go out of the gate, but children aren’t allowed, older kids watch out for younger.  72  —  —  Er  EZE  #4z  Figure 2 While most appreciate the space for their children one mother had a few complaints about the safety of the play area due to maintenance problems in her building: I think given what I am paying and for what it is, I am really grateful to have this play area. I think I would go crazy in an apartment; he is really active. But it is not that safe; the fence is kind of flimsy and they can easily get through. The planks are always falling down and kids can get through. Yet in a different housing community, one mother appreciates the safety of the play areas, but not the people who visit the other tenants, as she explains: The issue I have here are there are some people that have guests here that I don’t think are very safe people... I feel that the play space is designed in a safe way. But I don’t know who is walking in and out all the time...I have a lot of rules for my son. He is not allowed to go in the playroom unless there are other kids in there.  73  The second aspect of concern for mothers with respect to their children and housing is how their childcare needs are met. Single mothers frequently cite the lack of childcare as one of the stumbling blocks to achieving such things as employment and education for themselves. Housing such as ENF does lend to the formation of some informal arrangements for childcare as many of the women surveyed indicated- one mother felt that her housing community was “completely involved” with informal childcare arrangements and seven women indicated that their community was “moderately involved”. Others experienced less involvement with five women replying that their community was “not very involved with informal childcare”, and three felt that they were “not involved at all”. Interviews yielded similarly divided results on this issue of the establishment of informal childcare arrangements. Experiences varied depending on the community and the relationships of the individual neighbors to one another. Some mothers did a lot of exchange babysitting which allowed them to go back to work and get off welfare. Informal networks with mothers in other ENF buildings created further opportunities to reciprocate childcare. Others felt that while there is a lot of support for their children there wasn’t a lot of exchanges, as the comment below reflects: I don’t think that my children have had childcare in the building. But what this transfers to is that it is a small community, a big family. They have seen babies born; they have grown up with the children in the building. The building hasn’t changed over a lot. My children have grown up with little kids so they are like the older brothers to some of the small children and that is really nice. They really care for each other. They share birthday parties, so in this there has been a lot of support-but not natural childcare. The mothers interviewed who did not develop informal arrangements with others in their building expressed this as an important need which would assist them in their parenting. One woman discussed attempts to establish a babysitting co-op to rectify this gap in her building, which never materialized because of lack of support. This may be, as she explains it, the result of a sense of apathy among the  74 tenants who are burnt out with their busy lives. Others have found it difficult to find women who they trust to look after their children. This is expressed in the following quotation: I don’t trust any-one. There is one woman I leave my son with. There are others that I have seen drink or smoke, or do both, or let their kids run wild. There is one woman I like but her husband is abusive. There is no one that I feel really comfortable with. For many women who do not have an informal network established for childcare the alternative is licensed facilities. In most of the neighborhoods in which ENF communities reside there are such facilities. Ten of the women responded “yes” to the question in the survey regarding licensed facilities in their neighborhood; only two responded “no”; and two had no response. While these facilities do exist for many women they are not considered a viable option for most because of the cost factor involved. The issue of childcare is perhaps the second most important concern to mothers, after housing. Without satisfactory options available many women are unable to satisfy higher order needs, including education. Although there remains many difficulties with the provision of childcare for single mothers living in ENF, as no women in the survey indicated that their childcare needs overall were “completely” met, and four felt they were met “not very well”; and one responded they were “not met at all”; (two had no response); a majority (9) did respond that their childcare needs were being met “reasonably well”. For some mothers it is at times difficult to establish a convenient exchange in childcare that they are comfortable with, but the likelihood is increased in a community of others who are at similar stages in the life cycle. When asked what could or should be done to improve childcare needs, on site day care was suggested by some of the mothers as the ultimate solution to the childcare dilemma. Such childcare would need to cover a wide variety of ages, and require the space to do so. From a single mother’s perspective this service is critical  75 to improving their lives and the lives of their children. Many feel on-site childcare would improve the whole concept of ENF. The problem of equality for women in general, and single mothers in particular, according to one woman interviewed, is unequal access to opportunities and resources. Establishing childcare services on site provides women with opportunity of access to such things as further education and employment. Included in this is the need to provide equal opportunity of access for the children to such things as computers. Safety  Creating safe environments to live in can be a major challenge in big cities such as Vancouver and is a concern of many people, particularly women, who are most often the target of violence. The survey indicated the women felt an overall feeling of safety in their housing environment with three feeling “completely safe”; thirteen responding that they felt “reasonably safe”; and no responses to the categories “not very safe” and “not safe at all”. However, when asked about whether they felt safe in their surrounding neighborhood only seven responded feeling “reasonably safe”; eight felt “not very safe” and one felt she was “not safe at all”. It would seem that while the ENF buildings are designed with safety considerations in mind, the neighborhoods in which they are located are not always the safest in terms of crime. Corroborating evidence for this is revealed in the interviews through such comments as this: Within the housing community it is fairly safe, but anything beyond it is not. We are talking about building a higher fence and better lighting because the area is increasingly more violent. There have been several robberies and that sort of thing. Other women feel that these safety issues are not just specific to certain areas of the city; that all communities have experienced crime, and that women tend not to feel safe anywhere. Safety is viewed as an important issue in ENE, and there have been incidences where this safety has been a concern among tenants because of such  76 things as insecure locks on doors and gates. However, as a result of heightened awareness, some of these problems have been rectified as they arose, resulting in better locks, lighting and security systems in some buildings, according to one active tenant.  There is a growing cognizance among the tenants that community  involvement is essential to combat unsafe environments. This acknowledgement is expressed in the quote below: I think people have to start getting involved in their own communities; once you secure your own housing you start to get involved in your community and issues in your community at large. If people talk they have a sense of what actually is there. If people are just sitting behind their closed doors and being worried, it is not a very healthy situation. But if people talk, in their own community, they can make changes and not be misinformed. I really believe people have to get out and get involved in meetings in their neighborhoods, area councils or whatever. According to the women interviewed this awareness for the need for improved safety has made tenants more attentive to their neighbors as well as spurred the formation of organized block watches. Privacy  There are two facets of privacy with regards to social housing-one being a personal sense of privacy in relation to neighbors, the other viewing privacy  “..  .in  the sense of an environment that does not stigmatize the household” (Klodawsky and Spector,1991). The latter aspect of privacy is important so that the tenants of the social housing units feel a sense of “normalcy”, that they fit in the surrounding neighborhood. The results of the survey indicated that most of the tenants felt that their housing offered them a satisfactory level of privacy in relation to their neighbors.  Two of the tenants responded that their housing offered them “complete privacy”; nine tenants felt that they had “reasonable privacy”; and only five indicated they had “very little privacy” ; and no one responded to the category of “no privacy at all”. When asked to respond to the question of whether there was a balance between  77 privacy and community in their complex one woman felt there was a “complete balance”; ten that there was a “reasonable balance”; five felt that there was “not really” a balance; and no one indicated “not at all” a balance. This balance between privacy and community can be difficult to achieve as expressed in the words of one respondent: You have to work hard at finding a balance between privacy and community. You have to know when to shut the door; you wouldn’t get through dinner or through putting the kids to bed. I don’t think that this housing would work for everyone. I think it takes a certain type of person to learn how to do that, how to really care for a person, but not get really involved. You could get involved in everyone’s problems if you allowed yourself to do that. You could parent every child and everyone has different ways of parenting. .There is a danger of some people wanting to step over boundaries. Because you parent differently than someone else you may want to tell them that you don’t like what they are doing so you have to be really careful. ..  From the interviews conducted privacy appeared to be a greater issue for those tenants who live in the older ENF buildings than in the newer communities that had more tenant input when being designed. Some of the more negative comments are made by tenants living in some of the original communities, such as Beatrice Terrace, which was the second building built. One tenant in this building remarked on the issue of privacy in the following interview excerpt: What privacy?! One of the things that happens when they build affordable housing is that they do not soundproof the buildings very well. So whether you are a person that is noisy or want to know any one’s business you can’t help but know other people’s business; you can’t help it living in these buildings. Another woman made similar comments on the thin walls and consequent noise proofing problems resulting from cost cutting by the contractor. As some of the women explained, limited private space outside the individual units is also a factor of budgetary constraints in some of the earlier buildings. The design has not permitted adequate private space outside the doors of the individual units, creating an imbalance between public and private space. Even with patio space outside the individual units the design is such that the rest of the community  78 feels free to cross over this threshold since there is no clear delineation of private space; as soon as you are outside you are part of the community. One of the tenants feels that the design actually pulls you into the private area and there needs to be landscaping to create a separation in space. More attention to this feature was given in later buildings with many of the housing units featuring enclosed patio areas (Figure 3).  Figure 3 The second aspect of privacy relates to the stigmatization that can occur while living in non-profit housing. “Fitting in” to a neighborhood is important for children as well as adults. When asked in the survey whether the respondents felt that their housing was looked down upon by others because it was non-profit, the results were divided on this issue as three answered “not at all”; four replied “not really”; six felt that their housing was looked down upon by others “somewhat”; and one felt it was “completely” looked down upon; and two did not respond. An  79 explanation for this divergence may be found in the interviews. The women who said they felt stigmatized because they lived in social housing felt that it was not the housing itself, but the stigma attached to being a low-income family. While they felt they fit in within their local community, it was beyond this milieu that they felt looked down upon by others. For example, one mother who worked in a corporation felt the stark contrasts between this corporate world and her home, down in “ghetto-land” (as she referred to it), to be very stigmatizing. As well another said: “I definitely do feel stigmatized by other people, especially by people further afield, like the people at my son’s preschool.” For other women, the negative perception of ENF as subsidized housing was not an issue because the neighborhoods in which they are located have a variety of low income housing. This was remarked on by one tenant in the following passage: In this neighborhood anything goes. In fact, the family home of 30 years ago no longer exists in this neighborhood, but in other neighborhoods there is definitely a stigma attached to living in social housing. I went to public hearings in North Vancouver and that was a real eye-opener. I was raised there and used to own a home there and I had to go and speak on behalf of the Society and how because we were poor didn’t mean our values changed or that our ways of raising children had changed. Oh yes, there is a big stigma in some neighborhoods, but not in this one. That is actually one of the reasons I stayed here. I had considered moving to a safer neighborhood, like North Vancouver but I was not prepared to deal with the stigma. That is one of the things that I don’t think my children realized until recently- that we lived in subsidized housing. I mentioned the word subsidized the other day and they didn’t understand what that was. Now there are labels people can put on those kinds of labels those word can really hurt kids. ...  Furthermore, many feel that most people wouldn’t know that ENF building are subsidized as not only do they blend well with the neighborhood, but often they are better designed (Figure 4).  80  Figure 4  This is indicated in the following quote: A lot of people think that these are condos above the bank. I have had a few people stop me when they saw me going into the building, and they have asked: ‘how do you get into these?’ and I say: ‘you go on a list.’ They say: ‘aren’t these condominiums?’ Opportunities for Sharing and Support  Conventional housing is designed to facilitate individually oriented lifestyles, not community oriented ones. However, many single-parents are seeking the latter, particularly if they don’t have strong family support, and are hopeful that housing like ENF will provide them with not only adequate, affordable housing, but a supportive community of others with which to share mutual concerns. The results from the survey on this issue indicate that all of the women felt their housing environment provided some degree of community with three indicating they felt a  81 “complete” sense of community; nine felt “somewhat” a sense of community; four indicated they felt “very little” community; and no one responded to “not at all”. Similar responses were found when the women were asked how supportive their community was of them and their family. Three replied that their community was “completely supportive”; nine that their community was “reasonably supportive”; three responded their community was”not very supportive”; and no one responded to “not supportive”; and one did not indicate a response. The participation in various aspects of their housing such as committees strengthens the sense of community and builds friendships, according to some of the tenants. This sense of community building is epitomized in this quote: There is definitely a strong sense of community here. People come to meetings, feel committed to housing. You get close to a few people. You can cry on their shoulders and they can cry on yours. If you run out of onions you know you can go to them. There is an understanding there. This is really important. The sharing of responsibilities and the extension of emotional support to others has resulted in the development of lifetime friendships for some of the tenants. This established community of friends has strengthened the community overall. While this strong sense of community was not the experience of every woman, all the women interviewed agreed that it was an important aspect to their housing. There were various reasons that a feeling of community did not develop for some women. For some this has not developed in their communities to the degree they would like because many people feel that their housing is temporary; once they can afford to they will move on. One woman expresses her viewpoint on this issue: A sense of community is really important. It is what I am looking for. That is why I have applied to co-ops, from what I have heard there is more of a sense of community involvement. I would move if I got into a co-op. I think if there was a ceiling it would be better; most people say as soon as I can afford to I’ll be moving on. People aren’t encouraged to put their stakes here. It is something that has to grow. Maybe time will help, I think that carrying on organizing events for the major holidays, and little things like landscaping, making the place feel more attractive, gives people a sense of community.  82 For others it is the establishment of cliques, the splintering of the community into groups which prevents it from developing as a connected whole. Feeling like an outsider to the core group was reported by a couple of women which is reflected in the following quote: There is a clique of women that hang around and I am sure for them they do feel there is a sense of support. There are four or five of them that always do things together, have BBQs and stuff like that. It is not for every-one. I think that is just natural. There is always a core group and those who keep to themselves. There is some support but not a lot.  A sense of community is difficult to create in most circumstances, and ENF is not different in this respect. Attempts to aid this development have been made through the physical provision of common spaces. Each ENF building has a common room for which a variety of activities are conducted- including parties, potluck dinners, craft clubs, meetings, socializing with the neighbors, and so on (Figure 5). While most of the women interviewed agreed that a common room was important, fewer felt that this room actually helped to facilitate a sense of community. For some women this was due to the inadequacies of the space in some of the communities. A couple of women discussed the ways in which they felt the space was inadequate for their community as well as suggestions for improvements: It is a space to use; it doesn’t really welcome people; it is just an empty space. We use it for meetings. I have used it for my son’s Birthday party. It could be made more attractive and welcoming. The common space doesn’t really facilitate community. We have complained about that. It is really small and cold. We have been talking about getting some furniture for it. We are the poor sister of ENF! The federal government program is at Alma Blackwell they have a lovely common room. Ours is an after-thought. It is nice for children’s parties and that kind of thing. It is important to have a good common area. It is used for meetings and Birthday parties, but it isn’t a nice space. In the summer it works very well because we have -  ...  83 the terrace and people sit at the tables with umbrellas and you leave the door open and the kids run back and forth and the food is in there. That works well in the summer, but in the winter it is awful.  Figure 5 Design Features The designs of most conventional housing, particularly apartment complexes are generally not conducive to parenting. Since single mothers were instrumental in  the planning of ENF many of these elements were important considerations in the design of the buildings. Evidently, this attention to design has indeed eased women of the burden of household maintenance as the majority of women responded  84 positively in the survey to this issue- three mothers found that their housing was “very easy” to maintain; ten felt that it was “reasonably easy”; and only one felt that it was “not very easy”; and two responded that it was “not easy at all”. The interviews concur with these results: while there were some minor complaints about such things as faulty cupboards, most felt that their suite was fairly easy to maintain, particularly in comparison to what they had lived in previously. However, there were complaints the first year that B.C. housing began to administer housing for ENF. According to a well-informed tenant, because they did not have a relationship with ENF there was no tenant input into the design; consequently, there were design elements that simply were not suitable for families. For instance, rug was installed in most of the units including the kitchen and eating area, which is difficult to maintain. Since most of the living space is utilized, it was suggested that linoleum would have been a better alternative in the kitchen and eating areas, limiting rug to the bedrooms, living rooms and hall-ways. Generally, the comments made in the interviews in regard to maintenance were positive as reflected in the following interview excerpts: My apartment is very low maintenance in comparison to some of the places I have lived in. It is new, it works. Everything is easier, there is a lot more space, I’m used to living in a basement suite that was the size of my downstairs alone. Nice and spacious apartment. I’ve had to change the fuses, etc. but it is not a major expense. If anything major happens, you don’t have to pay for it; the little things are all you have to replace. Aside from maintenance, other design elements which improved the living environment of the single parent families were referred to in the interviews. Some of these elements include an abundance of light from the many windows (Figure 6), the separation of the bedrooms from the rest of the living space, play space that can be surveffled from the housing unit, and fire alarms and sprinkler systems.  85  These considerations were found to be lacking in most previous housing, particularly in basement suites, and thus were especially appreciated. These sentiments are expressed in the words of three of the women interviewed: This suite is a godsend. I am so happy I got this one. It has the bedrooms above the living room so I can have some breathing space and my children can play in their rooms especially now that they are older. It is so important for single parents to have that break in space. We also have a common area that is not that great, but on nice days the kids can sit outside, talk with friends or play. I am glad there is a sprinkler system, I’m glad there is a washer and dryer hook-up, and heating monitors in each room. I like the fact I can watch him from the playground. It is a little small, but nice. It is really soundproof from the neighbors. They did an excellent job of that. It has a lot of light. Thanks to Leslie, Mia and every-one. They had to fight for the windows; you have to fight for light because windows tend to cost a lot of money and they tend not to want to do that. They made sure we had lots of outlets and lights. I think I have four lights in my kitchen plus a window. That is really important for single parents. There are studies on that for depression. It has all sorts of fire alarms and sprinkler systems so that I feel secure if I wasn’t here and my children were alone they are not going to die in a fire. With old apartments you don’t get that. Overall Satisfaction with Housing Many elements play a role in determining the level of satisfaction the single mothers found in their housing including: availability, accessibility, security of tenure, facilities for children, safety, privacy, sharing and support, and design features, all of which were examined above. The women who participated in the survey and interviews expressed a myriad of feelings regarding these elements. However, overall the majority of the women expressed a fairly high level of satisfaction with their housing. This is indicated in the results of the survey as seven women responded that overall their housing meets their needs and the needs of their family “very well”; eight felt that their needs were met “reasonably well”; only one respondent replied their needs were met “not very well”; and there were no responses to “not well at all”.  86  Figure 6  In the interviews when the respondents were asked what they liked the most about living in ENF a number of different aspects were indicated including affordability and security, sense of community, empowerment, location, independence, privacy, accessibility, and bright apartments. Affordability, and the subsequent security that that provides, was the most frequently mentioned aspect by five of the seven women. The following remarks are typical: I really like my apartment. I like the security. I like the stability. I like the fact that my children know their neighbors. They are not moved every year, or twice a year for reasons that happen when you are looking for places to live that you can afford. Once the stress of living in insecure housing was removed many of the single mothers began to gain control over their lives, develop community ties and become empowered to do things that they would not have previously considered. This sense  87 of community and subsequent empowerment is expressed in the following three quotations: I really like this community; it is so healthy and so lovely; the people are just wonderful. It is really nice to step out the door and be greeted or greet people that you feel really close to. You really thrive on success stories, when someone gets a job and so on. This housing changed my life.. .it has been a moving experience.. .it is not just a society, when you become involved you develop a social base, it becomes like a family, you can’t leave it.. .it has empowered me, made me believe in myself, that I could do anything I wanted. I have only been here for a year but I have already noticed a change in my attitude. I feel more confident now to go beyond the home environment and seek full time employment. I have had more time to think and plan towards self-sufficiency. I use to worry about the kids home alone after school and other things relating to housing. I now feel more relaxed in these regards. The kids are never totally alone because there is always someone around to watch out for them. Our buildings are all safe in regards to fire alarms, etc. These matters can bring great concern and burden to the work place and make it impossible to do a good job and be a good parent. Location was another aspect mentioned by three of the seven women as one of the elements they most liked about their housing. The accessibility to services was noted by two of these women who live in East Vancouver, while the other woman, who lives in Natalia Terrace in the Fraserlands appreciated the tranquil surroundings of her housing: “I like the quiet. I like the trees. I like the sunrise in the morning, I like the moonlight coming through my window at night.” In the interviews the women also discussed the least desirable aspects of their housing. Two respondents referred to inaccessible locations, two commented on disrespectful guests, other singular responses were in regards to questions of whether their housing is a safety net or a trap, and the lack of ceiling on rents and of amenities within the housing units. The two women who considered their housing to be in an inaccessible location lived in Natalia Terrace in the Fraserlands. One of these two women felt that services were not accessible, and the public transportation system was not adequate to their housing. The other woman made  88  similar comments but also felt a great sense of ambivalence toward the location of her housing  -  on the one hand she describes her enjoyment of the tranquil  surrounding of her housing, and on the other hand the inaccessibility of services to where she lives: The location is really a double bind. I really like to leave downtown and come here where it is really peaceful, but the services are so inaccessible in the area- to doctors, stores... My welfare office is on Grandview Highway. I am constantly going to the doctor and for a while a couple of times a week I went to Physiotherapy, and all this stuff is down there [downtown]. Ambivalence is also expressed by one woman toward her housing in general as she deliberates over whether her housing represents a safety net or a trap. She concludes that her housing has given her the freedom to make choices in her life that she might not otherwise be able to make: I often say this housing is my safety net, but also my trap. I am not sure if I had to really hustle, if rents were increasing and everything were increasing and if I were to keep hustling having two jobs... I don’t know if I would have been better off, but maybe I would have taken more chances. But then, I have to remind myself I don’t have that kind of energy to keep going like that, and I really wonder what would have become of me if I wouldn’t have had this kind of housing... I sometimes wonder because I have been here for five years, the longest I have been anywhere. I do wonder sometimes if I am getting too comfortable. But I also really love having that, because I am getting older; raising a teenager is a bit harder emotionally, and looking back at all the emotional stuff I had to go through, I have had time to heal. I think that is a really big one for women; they don’t allow themselves time to grieve or the time to get better so when you live in this kind of housing you can do that. I probably would have kept going, kept up a good front, but eventually I would have got really sick. It has made me feel so secure. I question being comfortable. I have never been comfortable, never been in one place long enough. I worry that this is my trap as well as my safety net, but it does give me choices. I have time to decide is that person that wants to whisk me away the one I want to be with? Do I have to do that? -No I don’t! You can just get fed up and take whatever comes along and then you start all over again. I would find it hard to start all over again. I am so thankful for this time. While there are many perspectives and feelings on different aspects of housing with ENF, most women feel, as the survey indicated, that their housing meets their needs as single parents reasonably well to very well. As a dynamic,  89 ever-changing Society, ENF is experiencing the growing pains inherent in any grass roots community; however, the development of each community lends lessons to future communities. This is candidly articulated by one tenant in the survey: I feel privileged to be part of ENF housing. It is unfortunate that not all tenants do. There are those who abuse the situation, and it is difficult to get a perfect balance in a community-like setting where every individual supports, co-operates, and devotes an equal amount of time. I believe there are still many inner problems to be worked out, but that ENF has done very well in supplying an environment to meet the needs of most individuals. It is then up to the tenants to make the most of the best thing to happen to them. 4.4.4 Indirect Benefits for Single Parents While the prime motivation for most single mothers when looking for housing is that it is affordable and adequate (in terms of the elements discussed in the previous section) for raising their families, many indirect benefits have also been found to occur in alternative housing like ENF. The findings of the survey and interviews indicate that the ancillary benefits of living in this type of housing are skill development, empowerment, improvements in mental and physical health, and subsequent improvements in family relationships. Firstly, skill development was rewarded, in some instances, to tenants who participated in their housing with ENF. Of the sixteen women who responded to the survey nine were involved in committees in their communities, and of these nine women, six felt that through this involvement they learned new skills. For those women who were involved at both the community level and the Society level skill development was proportionally higher: of five such women, four felt that through this involvement they learned new skills. The results of the interviews revealed even higher participation rates in the functioning of their housing and subsequent skill development, with five of the seven women reporting involvement on some level and all five felt that this involvement taught them new skills. The set of skills that all the women cited as having learned  90 through involvement in their housing were interpersonal skills. These skills were found to be beneficial in improving working relationships as well as their personal relationships. The women learned, among other things, how to communicate better and be more diplomatic with others. One woman describes her participation and resultant skills: I definitely learned new skills. In the relationship of communicating with people you can’t help either getting better at it or it is not suitable. I think if you really cherish the relationship with other people you will get better at communicating with them. Definitely my communication skills are a lot better, and also chairing meetings. I got involved in the Board and I was the secretary treasurer, and then I got involved with Leslie and property development, that was really interesting; it taught me a lot because if you understand how the buildings get built you really appreciate them a lot better. I had to speak at the public hearings; I learned some public speaking skills. The democracy of conducting myself at meetings, being more diplomatic... Working with people that are professionals and yet what you have to say is really important... You are actually the employers of these people and that was really interesting to be working with architects, developers and people like that. ENF is the employer of those people and that was a nice feeling from a tenants point of view, to get involved on that level. While involvement in their housing taught many of the women skills it also encouraged and enabled some to apply these new skills to other aspects of their life such as finding employment. Of the sixteen women surveyed, nine participated in the operation of their housing at the level of the community, and of these nine, five felt that the resultant skills enabled them to do other things. Additionally, of the five women involved both at the community and the Society level, four felt similarly, that the skills they learned encouraged and enabled them to do other things. In the interviews, two of the women commented on the benefit of learning these skills for future employment and one of the women interviewed felt that the skills she learned directly contributed to attaining a new job. Secondly, empowerment, which is created as women go from a cycle of dependency to one of independence, “from personal crisis to public involvement and leadership” (Gerritsma, M. 1984, quoted in Simon, 1986:12) was also discovered to  91 be an indirect benefit to living in ENF housing. The results of the survey indicated that most of the women, as a result of living in ENF, did become empowered to some degree to make changes in their life, to do things that they may not have considered previously: three of the respondents felt “completely empowered”; five were “moderately empowered”; five felt “a little empowered”; and only three felt that they were “not at all empowered”. The results of the survey concurred with the findings in the interviews: most of the women interviewed (six of the seven) felt that living in ENF had empowered them to make changes in their life. Two of the women discussed how this empowerment led to improvements in their lives, including going back to school: Yes in some ways I feel empowered. I am thinking about going back to school and I know that I would have never ever been able to do that before. But now I might be able to with a student loan. It has also given me time to get to know myself which I don’t think I would have been able to do, and to get to know my children. Yes I do feel empowered to make changes. I am in a radio play now. I started singing more. I wouldn’t have done that before. I was always sick and depressed. It makes a big difference when you know you have a home to come home to. I was singing before, but I’m getting a lot better because before I just had too many problems. I also want to go back to school, I picked up some forms. I can’t work now, but it is only 30% of my income so I don’t have to worry about starving. I have looked into counselling and computers. Part of it is having decent housing, you don’t have to worry about being sick, things leaking and breaking. In our basement suite the pipes broke so many times, the place got flooded; it was horrible. The kids never wanted to be home. It was an uncomfortable place to be. I was sick a lot with allergies, I didn’t sleep. The rugs were old, full of dust mites.. .it was cold, really cold, dangerously cold; you could get hypothermia. Another woman, Susan (pseudonym), shares her inspiring story of how living in ENF has empowered and completely changed her life. Empowerment for her stems from the stability and control of her housing, as well as from the synergy created by the founding members of ENF and other strong women involved. Susan was a struggling mother trying to find affordable housing, when by chance she found out about ENF. She waited on a list for two years before her name came up and she  92  was able to move from the suburbs to ENF. The accomplishments and energy of the founding members of ENF was very heartening to her and she quickly became involved as one of the first tenant directors of her building. Susan did not know much about what was going on in the Society, but she persevered and kept on going to the meetings. She then volunteered to work in the office as she wanted to learn how to use the computer, and this opened the door for her career as a legal secretary. Susan doesn’t believe this would have happened if she would have stayed in her housing in the suburbs. She believes ENF has changed her life; it was instrumental in getting her back into the work force and raising her self-esteem so she now feels she can master any challenge. It has given her more control in her life because in the society her vote counts. She has direct input in such things as design, and her opinion and that of other tenants are vital-it allows change to happen. Furthermore, Susan feels living in ENF has a positive affect on children. Her son has gained a healthy perspective of women as he observes women around him taking charge of their lives. Girls, as well, are affected positively as their role models are women who are self-assured, conducting business in a confident manner, which all the children model as they “play meetings”, rather than “play house”. She feels that having a voice that is listened to and respected is something that many of the women that come to ENF may not have experienced before and this can be a very empowering to their lives. The provision of a stable living environment in itself creates a sense of empowerment, according to another tenant, in that it offers women choices they may not have had previously: One thing that it has made me realize is I never have to be in the position where I would be kicked out of my own home, if I was living with someone and it didn’t work out, or if they were abusive.. .1 think that is empowering for women, instead of feeling that she always has to live with someone because she can’t afford to live on her own or she ends up being the one on the street because the relationship isn’t working. I think a lot of women stay in something bad because they can’t afford to get out. I think this place gives you a choice.  93 Thirdly, improvements in mental and physical health as a result of moving to ENF was found by most of the women interviewed; and as health improved so did their relationships with their children. When living in previous housing six of the seven women interviewed reported some problems with physical and/or mental health. Some women linked their physical problems to the unhealthy living environments, frequently basement suites that were damp, cold, and moldy. Physical and/or mental difficulties also arose from stress due to such things as financial uncertainties and insecure tenure. Since moving to ENF these six women experienced improvements in their physical and/or mental health. This convalescence is reflected in the following two quotations: I think my physical health has improved. I love the fact that it is light. It is so depressing living in a basement suite. Physical and mental health has definitely improved. I realize how lucky I am to have got into this place. There are still women out there struggling with really high rates [rents] and insecurity. I feel better physically; the mold really got to me. I have a disability so I am not well half of the time, but I am not as ill as I was before, and I also don’t have the skin itch. Health-wise it has been better for me. A living environment that is uncertain can cause immense stress and illhealth affects as well as unforeseeable family breakdowns. One woman describes what she endured trying to find housing before moving to ENF: There is a mentality that happens; you think in a certain way when you are constantly in crisis; your survival mechanism kicks in and you are constantly in panic. You can’t live like that. It is terrible to put on your children when you never know where you are going to live. It is like shock; it is like being in a war; you have those same kind of feelings. You walk around in a state of shock, to say the least. The lack of available affordable housing for this family led to homelessness for a period of eight months, which had a devastating impact on the family, forcing it to spit in two. Fortunately, the family was able to find housing in ENF which has enabled them to stabilize. The mother reports on the impact of homelessness on her  94  family as well as how the quality of her children’s lives have improved since they moved to ENF: Yes, [the lives of my children have changed] dramatically. Things are not the way they were. After being homeless for eight months, it almost destroyed our family. Nothing will be the same after living like that. This happened three years ago. They are stabilized; they have a place to stay. They are not all here-only two of them. They are doing well in school. One of them is on the honor roll. None of them were doing as well as they are now. Another woman discusses the importance of stable housing on her health and how this has allowed her time and strength to be a good parent to her children. She recognizes the implications this has on the healthy development of her children and is grateful she has found housing that has allowed her this time: I think I have had time to get well, whereas I am not sure otherwise.. .1 had a horrendous divorce and going through my own process and not able to be there for my kids at that time. It has given me time for my kids, to be there for them, that has been really important, otherwise, I am not sure how things would have gone. Raising a teenager is difficult anyway, but I think we developed a really good foundation in the last years. I can see that he is a great human being and I am really proud of him but we have had to work at that. If I wasn’t able to cope with that, if I was really tired, coming in every night, dealing with the stress of a former husband and working I don’t think I would have coped very well, and he wouldn’t have consequently either... I think it is really good for them to have stability, to be in one place, it is so important for children. They get very insecure if they are moved around a lot. The devastating consequences to a family as a result of unstable housing can sometimes cause irreparable damage in the lives of children. The urgency of finding housing is well-known to one mother who suffered from the break-up of her family as a result of her inability to find affordable housing for her family. She recounts her experience in the passage below: If the housing would have been available when I asked for it my family would have been together and not split up in two. When I really needed it, it wasn’t there and things got to a critical point; it was horrible. The kids went through hell. No kid should have to be homeless. No kid should have to not know whether they are going to be living in a hotel room, in a shelter, or how long they are going to stay at a friend’s place, or whatever; no child should have to go through that. That kind of stuff destroys families, it creates problems that should never have existed  95  in the first place. Decent housing is important, especially for kids, it shouldnt matter how much money you make either. Many problems are created when adequate housing is not found for these families- from dysfunctional relationships with stressed and overburdened mothers to the break up of families due to complete homelessness. Conversely, healthy development of children can be achieved with the provision of stable housing as well as exposure to positive influences which cooperative communities like ENF facilitate. One mother discusses the valuable lessons in life that her son is learning living in ENF that will carry him as an adult. Through his mother’s and his participation in their housing community he has learned cooperation- that there doesn’t have to be a boss; there doesn’t have to be a winner; respect for others, teamwork, friendships, communication, and so on. As well he has gained a healthy respect for women as he sees his mother and other women competently managing the business of ENF.  96  5.0 CONCLUSION This thesis was motivated both by a concern for the difficult housing circumstances in which an increasing number of female-led families are found, as well as by a desire to investigate the potential to change these circumstances. While much of the current literature portrays women as housing victims, there are fewer studies that focus on the victories women have had in the housing arena and the possibilities for this housing to make significant, positive changes in their lives. While acknowledging the current housing realities, this thesis was inspired by examples such as Entres Nous Femmes, which demonstrated how these realities can be changed when women become the developers and managers of their own housing. This research was thus dedicated to exploring how this alternative housing meets the needs of single mothers and what further benefit it has to their lives. 5.1 Summary of Research Findings The findings of this thesis substantiate many of the conclusions reached by other researchers. However, while other studies have focused on women in general in cooperative housing (Wekerle, 1988; and Farge, 1986), or various types of housing for single parents (for example: Klodawsky, et al., 1985; Jordan, 1981), this study provides a local example with a specific focus on single mothers living in a non-profit housing society. Furthermore, the qualitative design contributes to the literature by elaborating on other studies and providing a richness of detail through the voices of the women who live in this housing. This insight also helped to advance some additional findings; all of which are discussed in this section. First, difficulties finding adequate and affordable housing in the market was experienced by the women interviewed, which concurred with the studies discussed in the literature review; the most salient of these difficulties being: affordability (Engeland, 1991); discrimination (Gurstein and Hood, 1975; Anderson-Kleif, 1981; Wekerle, 1988); privacy (Anderson-Kleif,1981); lack of space for children  97  (Klodawsky and Spector,1988); insecure tenure (Klodawsky, et al., 1985); and maintenance (Anderson-Kleif, 1981; Klodawsky, et al., 1985). Additional concerns had by the women interviewed which were not focused on in previous studies involved safety and unhealthy living environments. All of these difficulties were found in this case study to have a direct relationship to mental and physical illness, family difficulties and break-ups, and homelessness, which permeated the lives of these families, affecting self-esteem and personal sense of power. Second, the findings of this research suggest there are alternative housing options that provide affordable, adequate housing in a supportive environment, corroborating with research done by others including: Wekerle, 1988; and Klodawsky, et al., 1985. The study of Entres Nous Femmes concluded that once established in this housing many of the previous housing difficulties dissipated, as the needs of the families were met very well to reasonably well in terms of affordability, accessibility, security of tenure, appropriate facilities for children, privacy, opportunities for sharing and support, and design features such as maintenance. Furthermore, this research discovered housing became a foundation from which the women could move beyond the struggle for stable shelter to greater concerns. With the satisfaction of these basic needs the women experienced significant improvements in their mental and physical health, to the betterment of their family relationships. A stable home was found to afford mothers time with their children, which contributed to the children’s healthy development including improvements in their school performance. The children further benefited by positive role models which are facilitated by the cooperative environment of ENF. Having a direct input into decision-making in their housing community empowered many of the women, allowing them to focus outward, beyond their personal crisis. This empowerment helped them to make positive changes in their lives such as going back to school. Through participation in their housing  98 community they a:lso learned new skills, concurring again with researchers Wekerle and Novac, (1989); and Simon, (1986). Some of the skills learned were interpersonal, communication, public speaking, and business skills. These skills improved personal relationships and gave the women the self-esteem needed to seek, and, in some cases, find employment. As such, the research found ENF to be successful overall in meeting the intent outlined in their mission statement: Our primary intent is to provide and manage safe and affordable housing communities for female led single parent families. In recognizing the realities and experiences of female single parents, E.N.F. endeavors to promote its philosophy of creating an environment of opportunity and empowerment. In meeting these goals the Society acknowledges that a healthy community is one that is comprised of a cross section of family styles (ENF tenant introduction booklet). There are challenges that ENF communities face yet, including issues of safety and difficulties developing a sense of community. However, because the success of this Society is built on the participation of the users of this housing, tenants playing an active role in their community will ensure these needs are met and personal development is facilitated. The onus is on the individual to take a proactive role in pursuing the opportunities that are presented to them, and the findings of this research show that many women have done this. While there are challenges for Entres Nous Femmes within the communities, the greatest of these that they and other non-profit organizations face is one of scarce funding. The constraints of funding creates a number of limitations, that were discussed by the women, the first being the number of families that can be served, as this housing is reserved for only the neediest of households. The demand for this type of housing was evident by the waiting list, which averages one year and nine months, leaving many families without affordable and adequate housing. Furthermore, because the housing is reserved for only those in core housing need, there is no income mix which, according to some of the women interviewed, is a  99 stumbling block to the creation of a strong community. Many of the tenants, they explained, have no stake in the community, they feel that their housing is temporary; once they begin to earn an adequate income they will be moving on. Since there are no ceilings on the rents it is also difficult for many of the women who are committed to their community, as it becomes financially unreasonable to remain once a certain income is achieved and rent reaches or surpasses market rent; it may even be a disincentive to raise their income level. Second, the lack of funding affects the provision of such services as childcare. An increase in funding flexibility for these facilities would give women equal access of opportunity, enabling them to find employment or go back to school; it would also create economic development on site. Third, the women felt that scarce resources placed limitations on the development of private and communal space. Both types of space are regarded as essential in order for a strong community to evolve with an appropriate balance between community and privacy. Communal space, in the form of a common room, in particular, while considered an important element, was not found to be overly helpful in facilitating a sense of community due to the inadequacies of space. Fourth, these financial constraints coupled with the high land costs in Vancouver, demand that most social housing be built on somewhat marginal sites. In the case of Entres Nous Femmes, most of the buildings are in areas which many of the mothers had concerns about safety due to the high incidences of crime. Fortunately, the concerns about safety are somewhat combated by the heightened awareness and precautions taken by the housing communities. Finally, mothers voiced their concern over the lack of facilities in their housing communities for their teenagers. Many of the mothers felt that the teenagers were overlooked; once their children had reached ten years of age the facilities were inadequate to keep their children engaged at home.  100 5.2 Implications for Policy  The potential for this housing to improve the lives of individual families was found to be significant in this thesis. If one of the goals of planning is to create healthy communities, such potential deserves greater study and consideration. However, currently this housing is not a panacea due to financial constraints that  limit availability and affect design and amenity possibilities, as discussed above. There are no easy solutions to these housing challenges; however, greater commitment to social housing should be seen as a priority in Canada’s housing policy. In Canada there has always been financial assistance for housing and this has resulted in good housing for most Canadians. However, this assistance has not always reached the low-income populations who ‘fall through the cracks’, who are “...among a substantial minority---about 20 to 30 percent of households, depending on the definition used. ..“(Hulchanski, 1988a:46). As Young (1987:35) explains: Over the years various programs such as the Canadian Home Ownership program, the Multiple Unit Residential Building program, the Assisted Rental program and the Canada Rental Supply Plan have helped produce housing at the high end of the market, out of reach of low-income Canadians. Thus, the housing problem in Canada is not one of affordability, but rather of resource allocation: “...who gets what quality and quantity of housing at what percentage of their income and how is this decided?” (Hulchanski, 1988a:46). Canada has the resources to accommodate every citizen--- it is political will that is needed to ensure that these resources are distributed fairly. Political will hinges on the priorities both citizens and politicians place on social housing. These priorities have been, for the most part, low: In contrast to Canada’s acceptance of strong public sector involvement in health and education, neither the state nor a majority of citizens have viewed the meeting of housing needs as a public responsibility (Hulchanski, 1988a:22).  101 If we are to fulfil our responsibility of maintaining housing as a basic human right, it is housing for those that .need it the most that should be the goal of our housing policies. This will require rather than ad hoc programs that respond to immediate macro-economic problems, a comprehensive approach that is able to meet the needs of all Canadians. It is only then that we can conclude that our policies are effective, as noted by Humphrey Carver (1948) (quoted in Hulchanski, 1988:12): The ultimate objective of the national housing programme should be the provision of a decent dwelling for every Canadian.... From this it follows that the crucial and ultimate test of the effectiveness of housing policy is the condition of the worst housed families in our communities. While ENF and other non-profit organizations have responded to the inadequacies of market housing, accommodating some families in need, many more are still living in difficult circumstances. These families are among “the worst housed families in our communities” and will continue to be so as: “A declining private rental sector and a small social housing sector means few options for the growing number of Canadians who cannot purchase a house” (Hulchanski, 1988a:22). The increasing withdrawal of federal government funding for social housing resulted in the termination of the Co-Operative Housing Program in 1992, and effective January 1, 1994, resulted in the cancellation of new commitments for social housing programs, with the exception of those directed to on-reserve housing. Federal funding will continue for the operation of current social housing; short-term programs for the elderly and victims of family violence (under “Next Step”); and the reinstatement of renovation programs that assist low-income homeowners and people with disabilities (under the Emergency Repair Program) (CMHC, 1994). Notwithstanding the importance of housing for those with ‘special needs’, the increasing emphasis of government social housing policy only on this segment of the population is:  102 .based on the narrow conception of what constitutes housing disadvantage, limiting it to those whose illness or frailty prevents them generating sufficient income to compete in the private market (Clapman, 1990:55). • .  This narrow definition overlooks the disadvantage groups such as single mothers face in the private housing market in Canada, further distancing policy from a social welfare approach and the view of adequate housing as a right for all. The on-going support of home ownership in government policy was evident in the federal government’s budget with the continuation of the First Home Loan Insurance Program (FHLI), which reduces the minimum down-payment requirement for federally-insured mortgages to five percent for first-time home buyers; and the continuation of the Home Buyers Plan, which allows first-time home buyers to withdraw up to $20,000 from their RRSPs tax-free to purchase a home. This government support is directly linked to the power of interest groups, such as the real-estate development lobby, who are committed to building owneroccupied homes, exerting considerable influence over the way that housing policy is shaped at the expense of disadvantaged groups lobbying for housing (Harris, 1991). This has resulted in a situation where: .the past bias in favor of home-ownership has created its own inertia. Today, the majority of Canadian households own their own home. They constitute a large, relatively affluent, and therefore powerful electorate that would resist any attempt to reduce the tax subsidies that they currently enjoy (Ibid. :372). The cutbacks in federal funding for social housing will have significant costs to lone parents in particular and society in general. The literature review and case study in this thesis demonstrated both the social costs when adequate and affordable housing is not provided and the potential benefits conferred when it is provided. Non-profit housing offers the opportunity to alleviate many social problems by providing a secure foundation from which to improve mental and  103 physical health, learn business and interpersonal skills, and in general create stable lives and communities. This type of housing can stop the cycle of poverty from being passed on to children through the ensuing improvements in health and school performance, potentiafly lowering the escalating school drop-out rates. The absence of the opportunities that social housing provides places a strain on other social agencies and  . .  .“makes a powerful argument for using housing as a point of  intervention in combating disadvantage, and, indeed, a range of other problems conventiona:Ely addressed through social policy” (Clapman, et al., 1990:83). This thesis has provided evidence to support the need for the reinstatement of funding for social housing which should include a mix of income levels. The pervasiveness of housing in people’s lives and subsequent need for this to be recognized in policy is commented on by one mother: “They can pay now or pay later, how the children grow up will affect society at large.” This is also supported by the 1992 Provincial Commission on Housing Options which recommends that the provincial government accord housing a higher priority because: “Whether you rent or own, a safe and affordable home is essential to our personal well-being and, in turn, to the stability and security of our neighborhoods” (Audain and Duvall, 1992:14). Giving social housing a higher priority in government spending will certainly mean making difficult choices as it will impact other social programs such as health and employment. However, the long-term benefits of this housing will lead to cost savings in the future, particularly in the areas of health and employment. The current review of all social programs in Canada must acknowledge this to ensure that scarce resources are allocated wisely to achieve the greatest benefit. While a reordering of government spending at the federal and provincial levels is necessary, this should not be the only avenue relied upon to fund social housing. Municipal government can also play an important role, beyond their traditional regulatory role and that of “...facilitating and promoting unbridled private sector  104 investment in housing” (Hulchanski, et al., 1990:11). Indeed, with the decline in federal and provincial involvement in social housing, municipalities, although financially unequipped, have been forced to come up with innovative solutions to the housing problems that face their communities. One such example is the Affordable Housing Statutory Reserve Fund in the Township of Richmond which requires developers of market housing to either provide affordable housing on the site they are requesting to be rezoned, or to donate a “gift” to the Fund. Adopting bylaws like this one should be mandatory in every municipality facing difficulties supplying affordable housing. It indicates to the beneficiaries of urban growth that there will be concessions they will have to make as a routine part of doing business. Utilizing these available powers is expeditious and without cost to the municipality. Part of this and any other innovations for affordable housing should include provisions for childcare in order for women to have equal access to opportunities. However, there are barriers to achieving creative solutions for social housing, including the “not in my backyard” (NIMBY) syndrome. Such attitudes need to be addressed through a political commitment to public education to increase awareness of the potential such housing has for communities. Another barrier is the lack of legislative authority municipalities have to support social housing; enabling legislation must be given to local government so that they can take on a more active role. Giving municipalities more “teeth” to do such things as raise funds through development cost charges is critical to facilitate local action. The contribution of innovative municipal initiatives and a prioritizing of social housing at higher levels of government, who have access to a superior tax base, are both required to make an effective difference in the crisis which social housing is in today. 5.3 Implications for Planners Although this thesis has provided a case study of a grass-roots organization  inspired and developed by single mothers who indeed are planners of their own  105 communities, there may be roles professional planners can play in the future of social housing, particularly given the current political climate. An advocacy role may be appropriate to help address single mothers’ needs which are not often considered in the current decision-making process. This role requires knowledgeable skills to determine and articulate the needs and demands of the women and an ideological commitment to the group. The role of the planner must be one from below where “...planners and ‘people’ play interchangeable and interactive roles so that it cannot always be determined who wears the hat of the planner and who does not” (Friedmann, 1987:302-303). There may be some obstacles in the way of achieving meaningful participation including the lack of awareness in some communities, as well as the existence of bureaucratic structures and jargon that help to mystiVy the whole decision-making process. The role of the planner is to remove some of these obstacles. Forester (1989) lists some of the strategies that planners can use to foster increased community involvement in planning, including: the creation of a community network of contacts; the education of groups which are uninformed about planning issues; and the development of skills to work with groups and in conflict situations. Once the planner has mobilized and educated the group to what their role can be, lobbying government and non-profit organizations for support is required. Planners can assist in providing the political avenues, but the women affected must be actively involved in the political process including the formulating of policy and program development. Involvement in all aspects of their housing must be retained from development and design to operation and management. This aspect of housing was found in this thesis to not only more effectively meet the needs of residents, who are the true experts, but it was also shown to improve their lives in many other significant ways. The importance of this participation is advocated by others as  106 well, including local community workers such as Jim Green of the Downtown Eastside Residents Association, (quoted in Lang-Runtz 1989: 18-19): The answer to the housing problem, said Green lies not only in putting more dollars into social housing programs, but also in the strength of individuals.’Human beings learning new skills, new democratic structures, being involved in the design and operation of their own housing, being planners in their own community’ will ultimately result in better living conditions. Lobbying for changes in government policies is a great challenge given the entrenchment of the power structures in our society and particularly because planners  “..  .have little influence on the structure of ownership and power in this  society...” (Forester, 1989:28). However, planners can “...influence the conditions that render citizens able or unable to participate, act, and organize effectively regarding issues that affect their lives” (Ibid. :28). This role involves using information as a source of power which can be used “...to redress inequalities of participation and distribution by bringing excluded groups into political processes with an equal chance, equal information, and equal technical resources” (Ibid.:30). While the planner may not be able to offer the financial resources that other powerful lobby groups have assess to, it is incumbent upon she or he to work towards a greater equality in the formulation of housing policy. Part of this may include helping to change provincial legislation to give municipalities more power in the housing arena. However, before this can be accomplished, both citizens and politicians must be educated about the importance of social housing, particularly given the potential to alleviate the pressure on other social agencies. Because citizens are often unjustifiably opposed to social housing in their neighborhood, planners may need to combat this NIMBY syndrome before the support of the politicians can be gained. Politicians must in turn recognize their responsibilities and roles in providing affordable and adequate housing for single parents, by not doing so would  “. .  .indicate that Canadians were abandoning the tradition that has  107 underpinned social policy since the 1930’s, that is, using public resources for the effective development of Canada’s social capital” (Klodawsky and Spector, 1988:154). 5.4 Limitations of Thesis and Suggestions for Future Research Since a number of limitations were imposed upon this thesis, the scope was narrowly defined to determine: how well a non-profit housing society meets the needs of female-led families; and whether ancillary benefits occurred by living there. Through the process of this inquiry it was discovered that further exploration and elaboration of a number of issues related to this topic would contribute to a greater understanding. These suggestions for future research will be discussed in turn. First, the limitations of time and resources given the copious data generated by qualitative research, dictated that the case study be restricted to one non-profit housing group. However, an extension of the research to include perhaps comparisons with other types of housing, such as cooperatives, may lead to greater generalizations of the benefits of non-profit housing. Furthermore, while qualitative research was seen to be an appropriate methodology for conducting research “with” rather than “on” women as it facilitated mutual learning and contributed great insight into the effectiveness of non-profit housing, given the limitations of time and resources the research was not completely participatory. Ideally, the women should be involved in every step of the inquiry, including deciding what the important questions are, and how the results are to be interpreted and used. The rewards of such an in-depth process are seen to be significant, offering a substantive contribution to this field of study, and thus should be further pursued as a method of  inquiry in future research. Second, comparative studies with other countries, particularly Scandinavian countries, who are further advanced in the non-profit housing sector than Canada, would be very valuable. Such studies would enable lessons to be learned regarding  108 the provision of comprehensive housing policies with a nation that shares a similar  history of a long period of industrialization and high living standards. In particular, this may involve the impact such policies have on the health and welfare of lowincome groups like single mothers. Many lessons can be learned by studying Scandinavia’s extensive experience with this type of housing, as it has led to a number of innovative approaches in the design and management of housing and the provision of such things as day-care facilities, which are required by law in all new multiple housing in Denmark (Bacher, 1986). Such ancillary amenities, not found in most housing in Canada, were found in this thesis to be an important element for single mothers, and thus, should be a focus of future study. Third, while there is a distinction in much of the research between single parents on the basis of marital status, including single, never married, separated and divorced, and widowed, this research, as with most, overlooks the variation in cultural groups that exist among single parents. There is a need for an expansion in research to include some relevancy to groups of women who represent other cultures. It was discovered, late in the research for this thesis, that for many of the women living in Entres Nous Femmes buildings English was a second language, which impaired their ability to respond to research requests. The inclusion of nonCaucasian women in the study of female-led families could potentially alter the conclusions drawn, given their different cultural norms and values. Fourth, the findings of the case study only briefly revealed the impact of inadequate housing on the physical and mental health of single mothers and their children. This was found to be one of the salient difficulties in housing lived in prior to ENF. Such health problems for these families have ramifications that affect many things including their ability to become productive members of their community, as well as unnecessarily taxing the health care system. The relationship between housing and health is one that needs further investigation.  109 Fifth, this thesis furnished evidence of the benefits of social housing, but was limited in the discussion of how to deal with the inadequacies of funding. The pursual of the most effective ways in which all three levels of government can participate in helping to provide this housing is perhaps an appropriate next step in this research. Beyond political will, policy-makers need some practical, innovative, working solutions to the ever-growing crisis in social housing. A final note: evidence from this thesis has demonstrated that housing is more than shelter. It pervades every aspect of our lives, positively or negatively affecting  our personal and social development. A recognition of this pervasiveness not only on individuals, but on society as a whole, is critical for policy-makers to address and is the message that this thesis has hoped to convey.  110 BIBLIOGRAPHY Anderson, G. 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(1983) ‘The Value of Quantitative Methodology for Feminist Research’ in G. Bowles and R. Duelli Klein (eds.) Theories of Women’s Studies (pp.140-161) (Routledge and Kegan Paul, London) Jayaratne, Epstein, T. and A. J. Stewart (1991) ‘Quantitative and Qualitative Methods in the Social Sciences: Current Feminist Issues and Practical Strategies’ in M. M. Fonow and J. A. Cook (eds.) Beyond Methodology: Feminist Scholarship as Lived Research (pp.85-106) (Indiana University Press, Indianapolis) Jordan, E. (1981) The Housing Needs ofFemale-led One Parent Families (CMHC, Ottawa) Klodawsky, F., A. Spector, and C. Hendrix (1983) The Housing Needs ofSingle Parent Families in Canada (CMHC, Ottawa) KLodawsky, F., and A. Spector (1985) ‘Mother-Led Families and the Built Environment in Canada’, Women and Environments 7(2): 12-14  113 Klodawsky, F., A., Spector, and D., Rose (1985) Single Parent Families and Canadian Housing Policies: How Mothers Lose (CMHC External Research Awards, Ottawa) Klodawsky, F., and A. Spector (1988) ‘New Families, New Housing Needs, New Urban Environments: The Case of Single Parent Families’ in C. Andrew and B. Moore Milroy (eds.) Life Spaces: Gender, Household, Employment (pp.141-158) (UBC Press, Vancouver) Lang-Runtz, H. (1989) ‘Access to Housing: The Problem and the Challenge’, Canadian Housing 6(3): 16-19 Moore, M. (1987) ‘Women Parenting Alone’, Canadian Social Trends 7: (Statistics Canada, Ottawa)  31-36  McCamant, K., & C., Durrett (1988) Co-Housing:A Contemporary Approach to Housing Ourselves (Habitat Press/Ten Speed Press, Berkeley) McClain, J., and C. Doyle (1984) Women and Housing: Changing Needs and the Failure ofPolicy (James Lorimer and Co., Toronto) Parliament, J.B. (1989) ‘Women Employed Outside the Home’, Canadian Social Trends 13: 2-6 (Statistics Canada, Ottawa) Catalogue No. 11-008E Patton, M. Q. (1990) Qualitative Evaluation and Research Methods (Sage Publications Inc., California)  Pool, I. and M. Moore (1986) Lone Parenthood: Characteristics and Determinants: Results from the 1984 Family History Survey (Minister of Supply and Services, Ottawa) Catalogue No. 99-961 Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (1992) Personal Communications Reinharz, S. (1992) Feminist Methods in Social Research (Oxford University Press, New York) Stern, L. (1993) Personal Communications Selby, J. and A. Wilson (1988) Canada’s Housing Co-operatives: An Alternative Approach to Resolving Community Problems, UBC Planning Papers, Canadian Planning Issues #26 (School of Community and Regional Planning, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver) Shea, C. (1990) ‘Changes in Women’s Occupations’, Canadian Social Trends 18: 2123 (Statistics Canada, Ottawa) Catalogue no. 11-008E Simon, J. (1986) ‘Women and the Canadian Co-Op Experience: Integrating Housing and Economic Development’, Women and Environments 8 (1): 10-12 Society Act Certificate (1987) (Entres Nous Femmes Housing Society, Vancouver)  114 Statistics Canada (1984) Canada’s Lone-Parent Families (Minister of Supply Services, Ottawa) Catalogue No. 99-933. (1986) Guide to Statistics Canada Data on Families. (Minister of Supply and Services, Ottawa)  (1989) Changes in Living Arrangements: 1986 Census Highlights (Minister of Supply and Services, Ottawa) Catalogue No. 11-008E (1990) Income Distribution by Size in Canada (Minister of Industry, Science & Technology, Ottawa) Catalogue No. 13-207 Tomm, W. (eds.) (1989) Effects ofFeminist Approaches on Research Methodologies (Wilfi-id Laurier University Press, Ontario) Wekerle, G. (1985) ‘From refuge to service center: Neighborhoods that support women’, Sociological Focus 8(2): 79-95 Ottawa)  (1988) Women’s Housing Projects in Eight Canadian Cities (CMHC,  ‘Canadian Women’s Housing Co-Operative: Case Studies in Physical and Social Innovation’ in C. Andrew and B. Moore Milroy (eds.) Life Spaces: Gender, Household, Employment (pp.102-140) (UBC Press, Vancouver) Wekerle, G., and S. Novac (1989) ‘Developing two women’s housing cooperatives’ in K.A. Franck and S. Abrentzen (eds.) New Households, New Housing (pp.223-242) (Van Norstrand Reinhold, New York) Young, N. (1987) ‘Homes for the homeless: A right, not a commodity’, Canadian Housing, 4 (3): 34-35  115 Appendix A: Letter of Request to Entres Nous Femmes to Conduct Research  116 ENTRES NOUS FEMMES HOUSING SOCIETY RESEARCH PROPOSAL L Introduction My name is Cheryl Mackniak and I am a master’s student in the faculty of Community and Regional Planning at the University of British Columbia. The topic of my thesis is Housing for Female Single Parent Families. The central tenet of my argument is that housing needs for these families are not met in the market due to the inequities in our market economy. However, alternative housing options, such as ENF, are proving to be successful not only in providing affordable and adequate shelter, but also in meeting other needs as well. This housing should be supported as it provides a base from which women can derive many benefits, which inevitably improves the health of the whole community. My research has two objectives: first, to determine how well this housing is meeting the needs of single parent families; and second, what social and economic benefits does stable, affordable housing bring these families. IL Research Methodology My research, if given approval by the ENF board, would have ENF as a case study to demonstrate the ways in which this housing meets the needs of single parent families. This would involve conducting a survey with a short list of questions asking women, who are single parents, to evaluate their housing environment. In order to get an adequate sample the survey would be distributed to single mothers in five of the housing communities. Secondly, I would also appreciate the opportunity to personally interview some of these women, which if they were interested, could volunteer by calling my number on the survey. The purpose of these open-ended interviews would be to discuss the women’s housing histories, and to determine what impact ENF has had on their lives in terms of social and economic benefits. ifi. Goals of Research In conclusion, the goals for this research are to find out how alternative forms of housing, such as non-profit housing societies, meet the needs of single mothers, in addition to providing adequate and affordable housing. I hope to further advance research in this field to improve housing environments for single mothers. I aspire to accomplish this in the most sensitive manner possible, with the least disturbance to the lives of those who live in ENF. I am aware that a research project documenting the history of ENF has recently been done and I do not wish to disrupt tenants any more than they already have been. So, if I am granted permission to do this survey and interviews, please let me know if there are specific things that I can do to reduce further intrusion into the tenants lives. I would be happy to meet with any interested board members to discuss what methods could be used to minimize any disruptions that such research may involve.  117 Appendix B: Follow-up Letter to Board Members and Tenants of Entres Nous Femmes  118 Cheryl A. Mackniak 1581 Mariners Walk Vancouver, B.C. V6J 4X9 February 24, 1993 Dear Board Members and Tenants of ENF: Thank-you for granting me permission to carry out research with Entres Nous Femmes. My research, if you are not already aware, is focused on the extent to which non-market housing meets the needs of female single parent families. I feel ENF provides an inspirational example of what housing for female single parents can be when women have input in the development and management of their own housing. This research will provide ENF with a greater understanding of the degree to which female single parents feel that their housing needs are being met by ENF, as well as illustrate the additional benefits that this type of housing can bring. Hopefully this will be a valuable source of information for improving existing communities as well as those in the future. This research has been designed intentionally to minimize the impact that it will have on the communities. I have kept the survey short (one page), and the interviews have been structured to take no more than an hour of a participant’s time. Participation is voluntary and confidentiality will be respected at all times with no information identified with individuals. All information that is relayed to me will be incorporated into this research anonymously. Those who volunteer to be interviewed have the option of a phone or personal interview. In order to accurately recall the information communicated to me I will ask permission to audio-tape the conversation. If any-one feels at all uncomfortable with this the recorder will not be used, and certainly, it will be turned off at any time a participant chooses during the interview. The tapes will also be destroyed after the information is processed. I would like to especially thank Leslie Stern and Bernie Archer for their input and cooperation with me in this research. Their guidance has been a great help to me. I will continue to report to them as the research progresses. Thank-you very much for your time. If you should have any questions or comments on the survey, the interview schedule, or any other related concerns, please call me at: 731-8484 (or leave a message and I will get back to you) before February 22nd, so that I can respond to your concerns. I will proceed to distribute the surveys to the 5 Vancouver communities on February 24th with the help of the property managers (thanks!). I will then pick the surveys up on Monday March 1st. Any-one who is interested in being interviewed can call me at my number on the bottom of the survey and we will make arrangements at their convenience. Thank-you again, Cheryl Mackniak  119 Appendix C: Letter to Tenants of ENF Requesting Research Participation  120 University of British Columbia (School of Community and Regional Planning) Research Study: Housing for Female Single Parent Fsnnilies My name is Cheryl Mackniak and I am a master’s student in the faculty of Community and Regional Planning at the University of British Columbia. I am conducting research to examine how well alternative non-market housing, like Entres Nous Femmes, meets the needs of female single parents. The Board of Entres Nous Femmes has granted me permission to conduct this research, part of which involves a survey to evaluate your living environment in ENF. Your first hand knowledge in this matter would greatly assist my research and lead to a better understanding of appropriate housing delivery for female single parents. I realize the time constraints of a single parent so I have kept this survey short! (It should not take more than 5 or ten minutes to fill out). Although the questions are to be answered with a circle, or by filling in the blank, I welcome and encourage any additional comments which can be made directly below each question and/or on a separate sheet that is provided. If any-one is interested in aiding me further by contributing an hour of her time for an interview with me, I would greatly appreciate it. The interview would involve getting a sense of your housing history. Some of the things that I would be interested in discovering would be: what kind of housing did you live in before moving to ENF; has your life changed since moving to ENF, if so, how? This can be done either in person or on the phone, whatever is your preference. If you choose to be interviewed in person, and child care is an issue for you, I would be happy to make arrangements for this. The location of the interview is your choice, whatever is the most convenient for you. (It was suggested at the February 17th Board Meeting that the common space could be used, this is an option, if it is available.) I hope that you will all agree to fill out this survey and that many of you will agree to an interview. The higher the response rate the more accurate this research will reflect ENF’s communities. If you are uncomfortable with any of the questions in the survey or interviews feel free to omit answering them. Your confidentiality will be respected at all times with no information identified with you personally. All information that you and the other single mothers relay to me will be incorporated into this research anonymously. Thank-you for your time, your contribution to my research is invaluable. The results of this research will be included in my thesis which will be accessible in the Fine Arts library at U.B.C., and a copy will also be presented to ENF. If you would like your own copy this can be arranged as well. Please call me at 731-8404 (leave a message if I am not at home) if you are interested in helping me enrich my research with your insight through a personal or phone interview, or if you have any questions or comments. Sincerely, Cheryl Mackniak  121  Appendix D: Survey  SURVEY QUESTIONNAIRE  Yes  2 D. Is your housing close to other services?  4 C. How adequate are the facilities in the surrounding area for teenagers?  community for teenagers?  4 8. How adequate are the facilities in your housing  around your housing for your children7  4 A. How adequate and safe are the play areas  ie. without thoughts of eviction or unreasonable rent increas es’)  or  or  or  or  days,  or  No  No  No  No  weeks,  No  or  months  N/A (Not Applicable  year(s)  =!  NOT SECURE AT AJ]  REASONABLY ADEQUATE & SA 2=! NOT VERY ADEQUATE & SAFE 1 =T SAFEJ  =  I 4= COMPLETELY ADEQUATE 3= FREASONABLY ADEQUATE 2= [NOT VERY ADEQUATE 1 Ii  =  NOT ADEQUATE AT ALL 0= N/A  4= COMPLETELY ADEQUATE 3= REASONABLY ADEQ UATE 2= NOT VERY ADEQUATE 1= NOT ADEQUATE AT ALL 0= N/A  4= COMPLETELY ADEQUATE & SAFE  4=rc0MPLETELY SECURE 3= REASONABLY SECURE 2= NOT VERY SECURE 1  Yes  2 C. Is your housing close to stores?  Do you feel a sense of security of tenure in ENF7  Yes  2 B. Is your housing close to schools?  3  Yes  Yes  2 A. Is your housing close to work?  1 B. If so, How long did it take you to get accepted?  1 A. Were you on a waiting list to get housing in ENF?  Please indicate your answers by circling yes or no, by circling the number which most closely reflect s your response or by filling in the blank. Additional comments can be made directly below the question or on the sheet provided. Omit any questions that you feel uncomfortable answer ing.  Is your home in ENF easy to maintain’ Require minimal effort, time and money )  8 A. What level of privacy does your housing offer you and your family?  7 C. What do you use your common space for?  7 B. Is this community supportive of you and your family?  7 A.To what extent do you feel your housing environment provides a sense of community?  6  5 B. Do you feel safe in your surrounding neighborhood?  5 A. Do you feel safe in your housing?  4 G. Overall, to what degree do you think your childcare needs are being met?  4 F. Are there licensed child care facilities in your neighborhood?  4 E. To what extent is your housing community involved in informal child care arrangements?  4 D. Can you monitor your children, while they play, from your housing unit?  _____________________  or No  =  REASONABLY SAFE  =  I  NOT SAFE AT  NOT AT ALL  12= I NOT VERY SAFE 1  =  ALLI  i  =l SOMEWHj 2=1 VERY LITTLE  1 = N.OT ATALL  =  NOT SUPPORTIVE  4= COMPLETE PRIVACY 3= REASONABLE PRIVACY 2= VERY LITTLE PRIVACY 1 = NO PRIVACY AT ALL  4= COMPLETELY SUPPORTIVE 3= REASONABLY SUPPORTIVE 2= NOT VERY SUPPORTIVE 1  4= COMPLETE  —  4= VERY EASY 3= RESONABLY EASJ2= NOT VERY EASY 1 = NOT EASY AT ALL  i I 4= COMPLETELY SAFE j3= REASONABLY SAFE 12= NOT VERY SAFE 1= NOT SAFE AT ALL  4= COMPLETELY SAFE  4= COMPLETELY 3= REASONABLY WELL 2= NOT VERY WELL 1  Yes  4= COMPLETELY INVOLVED 3= MODERATELY INVOLVED 2= NOT VERY INVOLVED 1 = NOT INVOLVED AT ALL  4= COMPLETELY 3= REASONABLY 2= NOT REALLY 1 = NOT AT ALL  _____  SURVEY QUESTIONNAIRE  Yes  2 D. Is your housing close to other services?  4 C. How adequate are the facilities In the surrounding area for teenagers?  4 B. How adequate are the facilities in your housing community for teenagers?  4 A. How adequate and safe are the play areas around your housing for your children?  (ie. without thoughts of eviction or unreasonable rent Increases?)  or  or  or  or  days,  or  No  No  No  No  weeks,  No  or  months  N/A (Not Applicable  year(s)  ing.  4= COMPLETELY ADEQUATE 3= REASONABLY ADEQUATE I I J2= NOT VERY ADEQUATE 1 = [NOT ADEQUATE AT ALL O=_N /A  1 4= COMPLETELY ADEQUATE 3= REASONABLY ADEQUATE 2= NOT VERY ADEQUATE_Ii = NOT ADEQUATE AT ALL 0= N/A  4=[ COMPLETELY ADEQUATE & SAFj3= REASONABLY ADEQUATE & SAFE 2= Not VERY ADEQUATE & SAFE 1= NOT SAFE  4=fCOMPLETELY SECURE 3= REASONABLY_SECURE_2= LNOT VERY SECURE 1 = NOT SECURE AT ALL  Yes  2 C. Is your housing close to stores?  Do you feel a sense of security of tenure in ENF?  Yes  2 B. Is your housing close to schools?  3  Yes  Yes  2 A. Is your housing close to work?  1 B. If so, How long did it take you to get accepted?  1 A. Were you on a waiting list to get housing in ENF?  Please indicate your answers by circling yes or no, by circlin g the number which most closely reflects your response or by filling in the blank. Additional comments can be made directly below the questio n or on the sheet provided. Omit any questions that you feel uncomfortable answer  125  Appendix E: Interview Schedule  126  INTERVIEW SCHEDULE I. Housing Histories  1. As a single mother what kind of housing did you live in before moving to ENF? (rental, homesharing, co-op, etc.) 2. Prior to moving to ENF did you have difficulties finding adequate housing? If so, what were some of the obstacles and/or frustrations? 3. What were the conditions of your housing like, -how did it, or did it not, meet the needs of you and your family? 4. How did you find out about ENF? 5. When did you move to ENF? 6. What was it about ENF that attracted you to it? II. Current Housing Situation 1. What do you like most about living in ENF? 2. Is there anything that you are particularly unhappy with? 3. Do you feel that your child care needs are being met? If so how? If not, how do you think they could be? 4. Do you feel safe in your housing environment and your surrounding neighborhood? If not, why don’t you? If not, what do you think could be done to make it safer? 5. Are you close to schools, stores, work and so on? Do you have a car? If you don’t have a car, is public transit convenient easily accessible? If it is not convenient and accessible, do you feel this has limited your job choices? 5. Are there any design features that you feel help you in your parenting? 6. Are there any concerns about security of tenure? If so, what are they? 7. Are there any issues of privacy that you are concerned about? Do you feel that there is a balance between privacy and community in your complex? 8. Do you feel there is a sense of community where you live? Is this important to you? Is it facilitated by the common space? How often do you use the common space? What do you use it for? 9. How do you think that your housing could better meet your needs as a single parent?  127 10. Have you become involved in the community at any level? 11. If you have, has this involvement taught you any new skills- social, business or otherwise? 12. If you are involved and this involvement has taught you new skills, have these skills become useful to you, for example, in your current job, or in getting a job? 13. What changes, if any, have you perceived in yourself since you have been living in ENF? 14. Do you feel that your housing with ENF has empowered you to make changes in your life? (ie. has it enabled you to do something that you may not have considered previously) 15. What about the lives of your children, have they changed in this living environment?  


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