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Refuge : exploring the co-operative housing experience of single-mothers Nelmes, Sandra Kathleen 1992

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REFUGE: EXPLORING THE CO-OPERATIVE HOUSING EXPERIENCEOF SINGLE-MOTHERSbySANDRA KATHLEEN NELMESBA., The University Of British Columbia, 1982B.S.W., The University of British Columbia, 1984A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OFTHE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OFMASTER OF SOCIAL WORKinTHE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIESSCHOOL OF SOCIAL WORKWe accept this thesis as conformingto the quired standardTHE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIAAugust 1992Sandra Kathleen Nelmes, 1992In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanceddegree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make itfreely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensivecopying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of mydepartment or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying orpublication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my writtenpermission.Department of Söc.ial WorkThe University of British ColumbiaVancouver, CanadaDate &-\-DE-6 (2/88)iiABSTRACTThis study examined the views of eight single-mothersconcerning their living experiences in the Four Sisters Housing Cooperative. Such knowledge concerning the views of single—mothers asprimary housing consumers was thought to be essential for creatinghousing forms which serve their particular needs.Since there is a paucity of empirical data concerning thedesiderata of co—operative housing for single—mothers, this studyemployed an exploratory and specifically, qualitative design. In-depth, open—ended interviews were conducted using a generalinterview guide approach. The interviews were audio—taped andvaried in duration from three to four hours.The process of data analysis was guided by the techniques andprocedures of the Grounded Theory approach. Four main categorieswere identified: (1) Pre—Co-op Housing Problems (2) Security ofHousing (3) Supportive Community (4) Opportunities For PersonalDevelopment. The central theme of the study was the sense of refugeexperienced by single-mothers living in the Four Sisters HousingCo—operative.iiiTABLE OF CONTENTSAbstract iiTable Of Contents iiiList Of Figures vAcknowledgements viIntroduction 1ChapterI. Literature Review 7The Growing Incidence Of Mother-led Families In Canada 7The Economic Vulnerability Of Single-mothers 8The Housing Problems Of Single-mothers 8The Housing Needs Of Single-mothers 12Overview Of Housing Developments For Single-mothers 17Non-profit Co-operative Housing 20Review Of Research Re Co—operative Housing And Women 22Co-operative Housing And Single-mothers 27II. Methodology 29The Level Of The Research Design 29The Scale Of The Study And The Sampling Design 30Data Collection 34Ethical Considerations 41Data Analysis 44III. Research Findings 56The Central Theme 56The Main Categories 591. Pre-Co-op Housing Problems 592. Security Of Housing 653. Supportive Community 844. Opportunities For Personal Development 108IV. Conclusions 123Contribution To The Literature 123Limitations Of The Study And Future Research 125Implications For Social Work Practice 129Bibliography 134ivAppendices.139A. Interview Guide 140B. Agency Approval For Research 151C. Certificate Of Approval From The University Of BritishColumbia Behavioural Sciences Screening Committee ForResearch And Other Studies Involving Human Subjects 152D. Letter Of Initial Contact 153E. Consent Form 155F. Letter Re Study Completion 157G. Contact Summary Form 158H. Interview Excerpt 159VLIST OF FIGURESFigure 1: Relationships Between Central ThemeAnd Main Categories 58viACKNOWLEDGEMENTSFirst and foremost, I would like to express my gratitude tothe single—mothers of the Four Sisters Housing Co—operative whowith great thoughtfulness and insight, willingly shared theirfirst—hand knowledge as consumers of co—operative housing.Certainly, the example of these women has both inspired andeducated me.Secondly, I wish to thank my thesis committee members, Dr.Mary Russell and Dr. Catherine McCannell, for their expert guidanceand encouragement in every phase of the research process.Finally, I extend a heart—felt thanks to both my family andfriends whose unswerving support has sustained me through this andmany other challenges.1INTRODUCTIONThe word “home” is defined as “the place or a place where onelives—a house or other dwelling” (Collins English Dictionary, 1979,p. 701). But this common, everyday word is imbued with a meaningwhich extends far beyond that of a mere dwelling-place. Indeed, itis a word which evokes images of sanctuary, comfort, andcompanionship. Certainly, the time—honoured image of the home as asecure refuge is conveyed by such well—known expressions as “homesweet home”, “home is where the heart is”, and “there’s no placelike home” (“A place,” 1990, p. 5). While the word “home” isstrongly associated with such positive sentiments, the grim realityfor a significant number of Canadians is that the matter ofpossessing a home is more often a source of stress than a source ofsolace. In fact, the Canada Mortgage And Housing Corporation (1985)has estimated that of 8.75 million private households in Canada,33.8 percent of them experience at least one of three basicproblems: (1) housing that is physically inadequate since it lacksbasic amenities such as a piped—water supply and/or is in need ofmajor repairs (2) housing that is unsuitable because it is overcrowded and (3) housing which is not affordable inasmuch as itabsorbs thirty percent or more of a household’s income to occupy it(cited in Murray, 1990, p. 18). The adverse housing conditionsexperienced by some Canadians has been further delineated by theCanadian Council On Social Development (1987) which has estimatedthat in the period of any one year, a quarter of a millionH-P)‘..cH1)co0CDClClH-‘—0ctsi’•z()U)0•<pi<H—CflHçtCDCDC)CS)tCDHH-C)o<çt0HiCD0H1-CDo-CDSi5oH-ClCD00I_QCl)C)fThCDCl-CC)U)CDH- CDUiH-ClCDItiC)‘<oCS)C)ClH5CDClCS)CS.’Cl)H-3CDHiCl)oCl)‘°0IIr1Hi0CDCD1<SHCS)ClCDHH--FlCDHCDCDHH5cCDoCS):3CS)4CD-oC)I:CS)H-CDCl)FlC)çtCDCDSi:3FlClçtçtHHCl):3CDCD•.CDCl)(A)Fl0H-FlCS-’U)0t’JCS’CDCS0•CDHiHSi-Fl<FlCl)CDC)0CflCDCDCDCt•çtt-cQ3CS)Cl)H-CDHZctHCt•snHi5CDZU)CDC!)‘ri‘-<CDICDClClCD-CS-’0çtCtCS)ClHçtFliH-ClH-FlH-DCDHH-CD0CDCS)CDCDZ:3:3CS)0çt‘-QCDCDçtCDClU)CDU)CD0-CDi-zCDC))H-00CtSiCDCDFl-U)HC)H-CtH•“<CDCo0CtH-HiH-FlFlH-C)ClQk<0i’0CDCDcSiZFlCDHCl)Cfl:3C):3H-SiCl0CDCDSiS2oFl-CDU)H-HiCtHiCtCtCtZHSiCDpCD0FlHCtCtQjCDSi0H-CtCDHct2cnHHi0)cQClFl0HiU)crHi0C)H-HCtjctoHCt‘H-çtCDC)Ct:3CDCDCSCDCDCD0H-H--ClHiSi‘HiH-H-CtH0’C)U)H-()ClHHCDH-O13FlCl)Si0HCS’00CDCD0CtCl-0CDCDSHih50çt00ClçtS0CD30wHiC)CDçtHClCDcc)U)0wçt,•CoH-SH-CDCD-HiH-.-jCDH.QH0Fl-.H0CD13CDHHH-FlCtCD‘tiCDH-CD:3k<çt13ICt•ICnI‘-Q0CDH coCDCS,H0SiFlcc)Fl<ccSiFl0o0CDCoCl)FltY’—CDuiH-51,H:3‘-<CDdCt-5 U)HiC)H00‘tjH_coj-5h CDCD0cc•(tC)D’cnH00CCDCS)U)C)S<CDH-Cl),.U)H013rt‘OCD—H0ClCD-CDSi0)(-i•I.WLQo‘rjH-,o’CDFlU)CDCD‘CtClCl13U)3CloCtCDC)U)CDH-0 zH-ClFl0p,E0SiHiH-CD C)3CtCDCDCDH-Ct30H5IIU)CDH0i-s13HiC)“<0IFlCDH-CDCl,CDQCD0<H-CD0SiCDHi?CDI—”1-5CS)CtH-cQCDHCDU)HClClCDLc:)0)ctH-H0UiCDi-CDCtC)0U)H-SiCS’t-SiCtçtFlHiI-5p,,1-CDFlH-CDCtCDClCDCS)HiH-U)-<ctCt00H-CD-‘-<U)13Hi130::C-):3SiCS)CDFl13Fl0)0CS’ClHi‘<H‘.CS)0:3rtHU)LQcc)CDcoHiCS.’0H-H-oHClSi•Ct :3-CS)-CDCt,0S:3HU)‘-“CD U)00U)U):3CtH- :3Ct :3-CS)HCDCtCMCtFlCS)IIH-FlCDCl)CDCD Ct-çtU)U)Hi o-H-FlCS)Ct :3-CDCD0 Si CtCDCDFlCDCDCD-HH-çtClCDHCDFl:313‘-Ct-H-C)1:3-HiH-oH-CtSiCDCDU)ClClH-:3CS)H‘..QU)133on the one hand, many are financially unable to compete forsuitable housing in the private-sector but on the other hand,subsidized public housing which is affordable, often makes themfeel stigmatized and frequently leaves them without access toneeded community services such as public transportation and child—care facilities (Morisette, 1987, p. 7). The conclusion thatKlodowsky and other authorities have drawn from their research isthat the distinctive housing needs of female lone—parents have notbeen adequately addressed by either the private or the publicsector and that to—date, the voices of single—mothers as primaryhousing consumers have not been heard by Canadian housing policymakers (Klodowsky & Spector, 1985; Klodowsky, Spector, & Rose,1985; McClain & Doyle, 1984; Novac, 1990). This failure of privateand public—sector housing indicates a need to explore the potentialof “third sector” housing alternatives to serve as suitable housingforms for female lone—parents.The research study described in this paper centres on aparticular form of third sector housing, namely non—profit cooperative housing. The main objective of this study was toascertain the views of single—mothers concerning their livingexperiences in co—operative housing. In particular, this studyendeavoured to examine both the advantages and disadvantages forsingle—mothers living in co—operative housing. Such knowledgeconcerning the views of single—mothers, as primary housingconsumers, was thought to be essential for creating housing formswhich serve their particular needs.4The research was confined to a case study of the single—mothers living in the Four Sisters Housing Co-operative. Althougha case study limits the extent to which the findings can begeneralized to other housing co—operatives (co—ops), it doesprovide detailed and in-depth information about a particular cooperative housing setting. The Four Sisters Housing Co—operative istypical of other Canadian co—operatives in so far as it operatesunder the same federal legislation and C.M.H.C. guidelines as dothe majority of Canadian housing co—operatives. It does have,however, its own distinctive features. One of these features isthat it is an integral part of the larger community in which it issituated. The Four Sisters Co-op is located in an inner-cityneighbourhood, namely Vancouver’s downtown eastside. It wasdeveloped by the Downtown Eastside Residents’ Association HousingSociety and was opened in the spring of 1987 in direct response tothe needs of the downtown eastside residents many of whom weredisplaced by the upgrading of residential hotels specifically toaccommodate the glut of tourists expected to visit the 1986 Expo.The Four Sisters Co—op, consequently, houses a large proportion ofindigenous downtown eastside residents and it continues to have arecruitment policy which gives priority to applicants residing inthe downtown eastside. The Four Sisters Co—op which housesapproximately three hundred and twenty people, has been animportant demonstration project; it represented one of the firstinstances of permanent family housing to be developed inVancouver’s downtown eastside and it incorporated an innovative mix5of families, senior citizens, people with physical disabilities,and people from diverse cultural backgrounds. In addition, the FourSisters Co—op provides a home to many more low—income households(65%) than does the average housing co—operative (Green cited inFreedman, 1992). Finally, the Four Sisters Co—op which consists oftwo purpose—built apartment buildings and a renovated factorybuilding comprising one hundred and fifty—three housing units, hasbeen lauded as a successful inner—city housing development. Indeed,it is visited by international representatives, has won, in 1990,an urban planning award from the Urban Development Institute andwas one of five finalists for the 1991 World Habitat Awards-aprestigious international contest which recognizes the world’s topsocial housing developments.This research study attempts to document the experiences ofthe single—mothers living in the Four Sisters Housing Co—operativein the hope that the sum of their experiences will offer someinsights into the housing forms which accommodate their particularneeds. The central theme which emerges in this study is the senseof refuge experienced by single—mothers living in the Co—operative.The sense of refuge is echoed and re—echoed throughout theirdepositions and the elucidation of this theme forms the greaterpart of this paper.Chapter One reviews the pertinent literature concerning thehousing circumstances of single—mothers. It includes a descriptionof their income and housing problems and outlines the housing needswhich are commonly felt by them. It incorporates an overview ofP)bft.Qft0ftU)U)(0P1YHCDft0-h00ft0H-0CDiftHCDHP’ft0CD<U)ftHHftç).0CU)ftIIHCD<H-H-ftU)piH-ftCD0HH-00QCl)0C)çtC)bCDCDi-ipj;iCDHCDH-U)FctiQDU)HU)P’QC))HIHHCD‘rjH-:H-p0C)H-H-‘<i—’-0ftft•ftctYCDCDoCD0CDCD<HQ-JIICDHHCDoCDH-CDH-0CD0CDCDCDLQHH-ftCD0U)<0CD‘CD<H-H-H-CDftftCD0CDCDH-NC)-)0CD0CDctCDQU)HCDHtYftCDHi-CDU)H-CDQ-’HH0Cl)00CDCDCl)H-H-011H-Z)Q,<ftHtrj00H-U)ftU)Q-U)0C)’HCDftCD‘ftHrtCD1CD0H0k<CDH--hH-HftCDftH-U)H0ftU)CDH-ftp,CD‘1CDLQC))00U)0CDp,CDCl)CD3•C)’<CDCDCD<00ftC)’CDCD0H-i-hftQCD0CDI-h011C))ftCDH-U)CD0CuFlH-ftU)U)CDçtH000U)1CDCDCDU)HftDCH-Cl0,CDoH-0zCDCDCD0HH0-H-CD0i0FlClHLQCDU)ftH-CDQHCD_H-ClH-Cl)U)LQCD0.CDiCDftH-0H-j.H-ftH-<Ift0CDU)CDftCDQCDCDH-0HfrftH0ft0‘CDH-HHC))U)-ftU)0ftQC))H-H-ftCl)0H-ft,0ftftCDCDCDCDftCli-QQH-H-ClC))Cl)CDCDCDFlp,0FlFlCDiQC)’CDClC),•ftftft<00C))0U)U)p,CD0i-H-H-‘dI-hftCDftHCDp,C)’0HCD0Fl0FlCD 0H-C))CDCDCDCDFl0•0U)FlCDH-U)ftQClHU)ClCDijH-I-hCD0ClH0ft0Hft-<H-ft0U)H-<CD•0FlCDHCDClfrh0CDI-FlH-C),CD0CD00CDU)H-FlFlCDftU)CD•ICDC))ftftuU)ft0H-ZftCDCuClftC))-0ftH-Fli-3HFlFlftCDC),H-H-U)FlC)Cl0Cu0CDCDHI-ftZCDCDU)<ftHCDICDU)7CHAPTER ONELITERATURE REVIEWThe population of single-parent families in Canada has growndramatically since the country’s divorce legislation was reformedin 1968 (Klodowsky & Spector, 1988, p. 141; Moore, 1987, p. 32).Between 1966 and 1986, the number of single—parent familiesincreased by 130 percent in contrast to the number of husband—wifefamilies which increased by only forty-two percent (1986 Census ofCanada cited in Moore, 1987, p. 31). In 1966, single—parentfamilies represented eight percent of all Canadian families but by1986, this proportion had increased to thirteen percent (1986Census of Canada cited in Moore, 1987, p. 31). Overall, thesestatistics demonstrate that the single-parent family is asignificant and growing household form in Canadian society.Single—parents constitute a diverse population since there aremarked differences in their economic and demographic characteristics and in the circumstances which led them in lone—parenthood. Perhaps the most fundamental way in which they differ,however, is with respect to gender. According to the 1986 Censusdata, eighty—two percent of single—parents are women (cited inMoore, 1987, p. 32) which means that female lone—parents outnumbermale lone—parents by a ratio of five to one (cited in StatisticsCanada, 1990, p. 18). Furthermore, female lone—parents represent10.4 percent of all Canadian families whereas the correspondingproportion of male lone—parents is only 2.3 percent (1986 Census of8Canada cited in Statistics Canada, 1990, P. 17).The gender—distinction among single—parents has importantsocial and economic implications. Research conducted by theNational Council Of Welfare (1988) shows, for instance, that 56.0percent of families headed by a single—mother live in poverty ascompared to 22.9 percent of families headed by a single-father andit falls to 10.4 percent for families headed by two parents (p.31). In other words, single—mothers face twice the risk of povertyas do single—fathers and five times the risk of poverty as twoparents (National Council Of Welfare, 1988, p. 32). Emerging trendsdo not forecast, moreover, any immediate improvement in theeconomic plight of mother—headed families. In 1961, only 13.2percent of poor families were headed by single—mothers but in 1980,single—mothers accounted for 35.4 percent (National Council OfWelfare, 1988, p. 69). This trend peaked in 1985 at 36.5 percentand declined to 35.1 percent in 1986 (National Council Of Welfare,1988, p. 69). This tendency for woman and their children to form anincreasing large proportion of North America’s poor is a phenomenonwhich has been dubbed “the feminization of poverty”.The economic disadvantage faced by female lone—parents ispervasive in its effects but it extends particularly into the realmof housing. With family incomes averaging 38.6 percent of those oftwo-parent families (National Council Of Welfare, 1988, p. 89),most female lone—parents are not able to afford single family,owner-occupied homes (Klodowsky & Spector, 1988, p. 143). Themajority (72%) of female lone—parents, perforce, rent housing (19869Census of Canada cited in Moore, 1987, P. 35) and, consequently,they are vulnerable to the profit—motive and caprice of the privatehousing market. In particular, they are subject to rentfluctuations and the current real—estate trend towards“gentrification” which is manifested in the destruction of low-rental housing units and their replacement by strata—title luxurycondominiums (Klodowsky & Spector, 1988, p. 150). Faced with sucha dwindling supply of affordable housing, single-mothers frequentlyexperience difficulty in obtaining housing because theirdisproportionately lower incomes severely limit their ability tocompete in the rental housing market. In addition, their search foraffordable housing is complicated by the fact they are oftendiscriminated against by prospective landlords who are reluctant toaccept children (Breitbart, 1990, p. 19; Gurstein & Hood, 1975cited in Klodowsky & Spector, 1988, p. 150). Although manyprovinces including British Columbia, have passed legislation whichprohibits discrimination on these grounds, the frequent difficultyof proving alleged discrimination seems likely to limit itseffectiveness. Even when single—mothers do manage to obtainhousing, however, their problems do not abate. Rental housingoffers them little security of tenure and they are often compelledto pay rents at a level of expense which consumes a major portionof their incomes and leaves the poorest of them bereft of funds topurchase other life necessities (Klodowsky & Spector, 1988, pp.149—150). Indeed, thirty-six percent of single—mothers pay rentalcosts which exceed thirty percent of their incomes (Statistics10Canada, 1989, p. 2-1). Much of the typical rental housing such asmultiple—unit apartment blocks, moveover, is not designed withappropriate facilities for child—rearing (Klodowsky & Spector,1988, p. 151). Faced with the foregoing problems in the privatesector, some single—mothers elect to live in public housingprojects. While single—mothers tend to pay significantly lowerrents in public housing than they would in private-market housing(Ontario Ministry Of Community And Social Services, 1980 cited inKlodowsky, Spector, & Hendrix, 1984, p. 6), the literatureunderscores the associated down—side factors of public housing suchas limited availability due to high-demand, social stigma, andphysical isolation from social support facilities and adequatetransportation networks (2xnbert, 1980; Humphreys, 1980; O’Connell,1975; Ontario Ministry Of Community And Social Services, 1980;Social Planning Council of Metropolitan Toronto, 1975 cited inKlodowsky, 1984, pp. 5—7).Many notable authorities assert that the disadvantaged statusof single—mothers with respect to the provision of housing is anoutcome of the common propensity to view the mother—led family asan anomalous and temporary household form which the institution ofmarriage or remarriage can quickly normalize (Ahrentzen, 1989, pp.143—144; Klodowsky & Spector, 1985 p. 12). This viewpoint tends tomanifest itself both architecturally and politically in theprovision of housing forms which focus almost exclusively onaccommodating conventional “life—cycle patterns” (Hayden, 1984;Klodowsky & Spector, 1988; Leavitt, 1989). But, as Klodowsky and11Spector (1988) have pointed out, these conventional “life-cyclepatterns” are not congruent with the needs of the mother—led family(pp. 142-143). Commenting specifically on contemporary Canadiansociety, Klodowsky and Spector argue that much urban planning andhousing policy is predicated on the assumption that the majority ofurban—dwelling adults will move from the family home to a series ofapartments, then to a single-family home designed for childrearing, and then possibly back to a condominium or rentalapartment for the retirement years. As a result, the Canadianhousing market has resolved itself into providing two major typesof housing with one type catering to the needs of single adults andthe other catering to the needs of single nuclear families. Facedwith such a dichotomized housing market, single—mothers encountera fundamental problem which is centrally related to the fact thattheir incomes cannot compete with those of two—parent families;they typically cannot afford to purchase single-family homes and,therefore, are unable to take advantage of the type of housingwhich has been designed for child—rearing.Feminist writers such as Watson and Austerberry (1984) andFranck (1988) have advanced a more political version of Klodowsky’sand Spector’s thesis that single—mothers are marginalized in asystem of housing provision which tends to reflect conventionalexpectations about “life—cycle patterns”. They argue that suchmarginalization of single—mothers is a concomitant of the fact thathousing forms and policy not only reflect but, in turn, enforceconventional expectations concerning the traditional nuclear12family. They believe that ideological concerns which centre on thedecline of the nuclear family as the basic unit of social andeconomic organization are translated into forms which enhance andpromote traditional social structures; the dichotomized housingmarket is one of its manifestations. An outcome of the ideologicalconcerns, they assert, is the failure of society to legislate forthe distinctive needs of single-motherhood. Given this “socialconstruction” of the housing system, the disadvantaged housingstatus of female lone—parents can be understood in the context ofsocietal pressures on women to conform to their roles within thetraditional nuclear family, namely those of housewife and mother;the dominant position of single—mothers within their families andthe fact that they assume the traditionally male “bread-winner”role in addition to their mothering role clearly places themoutside of conventional thinking about the family and, hence, theirmarginalization in a socially constructed system of housingdelivery.In order to develop housing forms which are supportive ofmother—led families, Klodowsky and her colleagues (Klodowsky &Spector, 1988; Klodowsky, Spector, & Hendrix, 1983; Klodowsky,Spector, & Rose, 1985) and Leavitt (1984, 1985) assert that anyproposed solutions must recognize that single—mothers havedistinctive housing needs which are comprehensive in scope.According to these writers, the distinctive and comprehensivenature of singe—mothers’ housing needs is largely determined by thefact that they are required to perform solo the full range of13duties and activities involved in rearing a family without the fulleconomic capacities of two parents. Klodowsky et al. and Leavittemphasize the daunting prospects for single—mothers living in anera when two parents are required to mandate the expectations ofthe family by pointing out that there is an inherent conflict inthe dual responsibility for the financial welfare of the family andthe care of dependent children; not only do women tend to loseeducational and employment opportunities as a result of raisingyoung children, but when they do enter the labour market, they areoften restricted in the jobs they are able to take and the hoursthat they are able to work. It is the “role burden syndrome”(Mulroy, 1988, p. 145) in tandem with the reduced earning capacityof female lone parents which Klodowsky et al. and Leavitt believeis the primary factor which distinguishes the mother-led family andgives rise to its special housing needs. This “role burdensyndrome” (Mulroy, 1988, p. 145) creates, moreover, housing needswhich extend far beyond mere physical shelter needs. Indeed, thehousing needs of single—mothers include many housing—relatedsupport services which are of importance to single—mothers infulfilling their myriad of familial responsibilities. In effect,Klodowsky et al. and Leavitt view the integration of housing witha variety of support services as being pivotal in allowing single—mothers to balance their multiple and often conflictingresponsibilities. Leavitt (1984) refers to the need to integratehousing and service provision as “the shelter—plus issue forsingle—parents” ( p. 19) and she identifies the support services14typically needed by single—mothers as including assistance withchild—care, food preparation, overcoming adult isolation, reducingtransportation costs, and securing well—paying jobs” (p. 19).Likewise, Klodowsky et al. identify ten criteria that they use todelineate the housing needs which are common to all single—mothersirrespective of any differences in their demographic and economiccircumstances. These criteria were drawn from Klodowsky’s et al.extensive analyses of Canadian housing policy and statistical dataas well as from their reading of the social sciences literaturedealing with contemporary families and women and environments.Klodowsky et al. state that these ten criteria serve as a basis forexamining the inter—relationships among housing, the dynamics ofsingle—parent family life and family policy issues. Since Klodowskyet al. focus specifically on Canadian single—mothers, the criteriawhich they use to delineate their housing needs will be describedin detail as fo11ows1. Affordability:Above all else, single—mothers require housing which they canafford. Klodowksy et al. (1985) argue that the determination ofwhat amount single—mothers can afford to pay for shelter should notbe based upon the thirty percent ceiling stipulated by the CanadaMortgage And Housing Corporation but should rather be calculated byusing a “residual budget formula” (p. 12—1) which takes intoconsideration the major expenditures that are required of femalelone—parents such as the costs of child—care.2. Accessibility:15Mother-led families require housing which provides them witheasy access to a variety of community services including schools,child—care services, employment opportunities, and publictransportation. Klodowsky et al. emphasize that housing whichprovides access to a spatially concentrated set of services isespecially desirable to single-mothers whose mobility tends to berestricted not only by child—care responsibilities, but becauseapproximately half (47%) of female lone parents do not ownautomobiles (Statistics Canada, 1982 cited in Klodowsky & Spector,1988, p. 149). Single-mothers’ need for such a spatially—concentrated set of services explains the tendency for them toreside in relatively more expensive but service—rich urban centres(Klodowsky & Spector, 1988, p. 150).3. Availability:In order to overcome many of the barriers to obtaininghousing, such as competition and discrimination, that theyfrequently encounter under “tight” market conditions, single—mothers require an adequate supply of family—housing units.Klodowsky and Spector (1988) state the availability of affordable,family-housing units has tended to be limited by the fact thathistorically, there has been little incentive for the private—sector to provide housing to low and moderate—income families (p.144).4. Security Of Tenure:Security of tenure is important to single—mothers wishing toprovide both themselves and particularly their children with a16stable living environment and social network. Klodowsky and Spector(1988) point out that security of tenure is an especially importantsource of stability for those single—mothers who are “in theprocess of adjusting to significant events such as marriagedissolution, death of a spouse, or the responsibility of a newbornchild” (p. 144).5. Appropriateness Of Facilities For Children:Single—mothers need housing which provides safe and adequateplay areas for their children. Ideally, these play areas arelocated near the kitchen and other work areas so that mothers areable to supervise their children while simultaneously performingother necessary activities.6. Household Maintenance:Architectural design features which minimize maintenance andmaximize convenience are helpful to female lone—parents since timeand money are precious commodities in their lives.7. Opportunities For Sharing And Support:With the absence of a second adult in the home to providecompanionship and to share domestic responsibilities, single—mothers are vulnerable to social isolation. It is essential,therefore, that female lone parents live in housing where they haveaccess to a social support network. The need for single—mothers toreplace missing family resources suggests that shared housingarrangements might be advantageous for these families. Klodowskyand Spector (1988) state that “there are indications that sharedhousing arrangements help reduce housing costs, distribute various17household responsibilities such as maintenance and child rearing,and in some case, encourage emotional support from empatheticpeers.”(p.152).8. Privacy:Mother—led families need housing which accommodates theirneeds for privacy. In addition, Klodowksy and Spector (1988) statethat privacy “in the sense of environment that does not stigmatizethe household” (p. 152) is also a significant housing need ofsingle—mothers.9, Suitability For Transition:Single-mothers require housing which facilities theiradjustment to the exigencies of lone parenthood. Since women enterlone parenthood under very different circumstances, this process ofadjustment is likely to assume varying forms.10. Cost-Effectiveness In The Use Of Public And Private Funds:In view of the limited “public purse”, Klodowsky et al. assertthat efforts must be made to ensure that both public and privatemonies are directed towards financing the particular housingoptions which are most effective in meeting the needs of thesefamilies.Over the past two decades, an awareness of the distinctivehousing needs of female lone—parents has led to the development ofhousing projects designed expressly for this population (Ahrentzen,1989; Sprague, 1991; Wekerle, 1988c). These housing projects havearisen on both the European and North American continents and havemost often been sponsored by governments and/or non—profit, social18services agencies. They have taken the form of both transitionaland permanent housing and have a wide variety of mandates. Theseinclude: permanent housing designed exclusively for single—parents,transition housing for homeless women and their children,residential programmes for adolescent mothers and second—stagehousing for victims of domestic violence, In addition to theirvarying mandates, these housing projects also differ with respectto the type of building construction. The most common buildingtypes designed to accommodate single—mothers include the following:(1) detached houses which have been designed to serve as congregateor shared living quarters (2) joined houses such as duplexes ortownhouses (3) clusters or a campus of detached houses (4) multi—unit apartment buildings and (5) renovated structures (such asabandoned factories and schools) not originally intended forresidential use (Sprague, 1991). Despite their differing mandatesand type of building construction, many of the housing projects forsingle—mothers have common features which include child—carefacilities, play spaces for children, accessibility to communityservices including public transportation, opportunities for socialinteraction and social support and a combination of shared andprivate spaces (Ahrentzen, 1989; Sprague, 1991; Wekerle, 1988c).Many projects such as the “Nina West Homes” located in London,England, “Huvertusvereniging” in Mtsterdam, Holland and “WarrenVillage” in Denver, Colorado have addressed the critical linkbetween housing and service—provision by incorporating a variety ofon—site social services such as child—care, family counselling,19employment counselling, and educational services. Still otherhousing projects have incorporated special architectural designfeatures which accommodate the multiple roles of female lone—parents. In collaboration with the architect, Troy West, Leavitt(1989) has created, for example, two prototype housing designswhich through their incorporation of designated “work spaces”,offer the possibility of working at home and caring for dependentchildren. The development of these housing projects over the pasttwo decades furnish some evidence that the special housing needs ofsingle—mothers are beginning to receive recognition.Despite the fact that these housing developments were purpose—built to address the needs of single—mothers, the relative merit ofsuch specialized housing has been questioned by some authorities.McClain and Doyle (1984) contend, for instance, that specializedhousing for single—mothers militates against their interests in twomajor ways. Firstly, they assert that specialized housing tends tostigmatize single-mothers since it effectively pigeon-holes them asa “special needs” group which is non—normative. Secondly, McClainand Doyle believe that when specialized housing is viewed as thesolution to single—mothers’ housing problems, attention isdeflected away from the need to reform the gross inequities in thehousing system which are essentially the root cause of single—mothers’ disadvantaged housing status. In effect, McClain and Doyleview specialized housing for single—mothers as merely a palliativemeasure and one which ultimately serves to limit rather than toexpand their housing opportunities. Similar views are echoed by20Klodowsky et al. (1983) who assert that although specializedhousing provides single—mothers with “social services necessary totheir ability to cope and achieve independence”, it is “problematicin so far as it tended to remove single parents from thecommunity’s mainstream” (p. 5). In general, while the relativemerit of specialized housing for single—mothers remains a muchdebated issues in the literature concerning women and housing, thequestions raised by McClain, Doyle and Klodowsky do cast doubt onwhether specialized housing ultimately meets the needs of thispopulation.One form of permanent housing which does not in itselfconstitute specialized housing per se for single—mothers but,nevertheless, does appear well—suited to their needs is non—profitco—operative housing. The term “non—profit housing co—operative”refers to a type of third sector housing in “which a non—profitcorporation, owned by the residents, holds title to the project asa whole, and leases the individual units to its own members at noprofit” (Cameron, 1988, p. 39). In Canada, the majority of housingco—operatives are financed and operated by The Federal Co—operativeHousing Program which, in turn, is administered by the CanadaMortgage And Housing Corporation ( C.M.H.C.). This programme wasestablished by the federal government in 1973 and was intended toprovide an opportunity for low and moderate—income Canadians to owna home on a collective basis, without the equity requirements ofprivate home ownership, but with the security of tenure not foundin the rental market (Burke, l990b, p. 27). Monthly housing charges21were set at the “low end of market” rate compared with market rentsin the immediate neighbourhood (Wekerle, 1988b, p. 106). Thisprogram required that a minimum of fifteen percent of a cooperative’s housing units be targeted to low—income residents whowould not pay more than thirty percent of their family incomes forshelter (the Co-operative Housing Federation Of Canada, 1990, p.4). In addition to providing affordable housing and security oftenure, housing co—operatives operating under the C.MH.C. programare alleged to offer other benefits. Certainly, co—ops seek toprovide high quality housing both in terms of initial constructionand through continuing maintenance (the Co—operative HousingFederation Of Canada, 1990, p. 1). Also, the fact that housing cooperatives are democratically managed by the residents means thatindividual members have the opportunity to exercise some “say” overthe decisions affecting their housing (the Co—operative HousingFederation Of Canada, 1990, p. 1). Through their participation inthe co—op’s management, residents are further provided with theopportunity to develop a variety of skills including those relatingto “organizing, communication and handling business affairs” (Selby& Wilson, 1988, p. 21). Housing co—operative are intended,moreover, to accommodate a socio—economic mix of residents, therebyavoiding the “ghettos of the poor” which have tended tocharacterize public housing projects (Burke, 1990b, p. 27).Finally, co—operative housing residents experience a strong senseof community which is realised in the neighbourly relationships andsocial support networks which are known to develop in co—operative22housing settings (the Co-operative Housing Federation Of Canada,1990, p. 1; Selby & Wilson, 1988, p. 22). For the most part, thissense of community has its genesis in the fact that in assumingcollective ownership and management of a co—op, residents arerequired to engage in much collaborative work (Selby & Wilson,1988, p. 22).Although there is a paucity of research which has examinedhousing co—operatives in terms of the needs of female lone—parents,a noteworthy exception is found in the work of Klodowsky, Spector,and Rose (1985). As part of an extensive study which examined thehousing needs of single-parent families, Klodowsky et al. includedan evaluation of the housing co—operatives which were located inMontreal. This evaluation involved a secondary analysis of existingsurvey data and was guided by the same set of criteria that wereoutlined earlier. These criteria were: (1) affordability (2)accessibility (3) availability (4) security of tenure (5)appropriateness of facilities for children (6) householdmaintenance (7) opportunities for sharing and for support (8)privacy (9) suitability for transition and (10) cost-effectivenessin the use of public and private funds.Based on the foregoing assessment criteria, Klodowsky et al.reached the following conclusions regarding the suitability of theMontreal housing co—operatives for single—parent families, In termsof affordability, Klodowsky et al. found that housing costs variedconsiderably among the co—operatives. In addition, while most ofthe poorest single—parents benefitted from rent subsidies, other23low—income single—parents paid relatively high rent to incomeratios. Klodowsky et al. hypothesized that such low-income single-parents were willing to pay relatively high housing costs in returnfor other benefits such as security of tenure, which are offered byhousing co-operatives. Klodowsky et al. also found that theMontreal co—operatives varied greatly with respect toaccessibility, appropriateness of facilities for children,household maintenance, opportunities for sharing and support, andprivacy. The level of adequacy of these criteria often dependedupon the neighbourhood in which the co—operative was located and onwhether or not respective members had been involved in the originalplanning of the co-operative. Despite the variation among the cooperatives, Klodowsky et al. found that all of the co—operativesoffered security of tenure and were consistent in the philosophy ofproviding “a setting of acceptance and support for members”(Klodowsky et al., 1985, p. 9—42). The only criteria that theMontreal co-operatives definitely did not meet was that ofsuitability for transition. Klodowsky et al. discovered that theMontreal co—operatives were not suitable for families in transitionbecause prospective members usually faced lengthy waiting—periodsbefore admission and this forestalled any emergency placement. Themembers were also required to participate in the management of theco—operative and Klodowsky et al. anticipated that such involvementcould prove too onerous for families whose energies were alreadytaxed. Finally, Klodowsky et al. concluded that although housingco—operatives had great potential to be “cost effective”, their24efficiency has been hindered by bureaucratic restrictions; theyexplained that housing co-operatives have the potential to be“cost—effective” since all administrative and maintenance work isperformed free of charge by the members themselves. A seriousthreat to their “cost effectiveness” arises, however, when C.M.H.C.funding intended to subsidize low—income households becomesmisdirected as a result of a co—op’s failure to maintain thestipulated number of low-income households. To rectify thisproblem, Klodowsky et al. recommend that funding specifications bechanged so that instead of being allocated in the form of a lumpsum, C.M.H.C. funds intended to subsidize low-income householdsshould be distinguished from those intended to cover otheroperating costs.Further to the research conducted in Montreal, there isconsiderable indirect evidence which suggests the potentialsuitability of housing co—operatives for mother-headed families.Many studies have documented, for instance, the high proportion offemale lone—parents who live in co—operative housing. AcrossCanada, single-parent families comprise twenty—five percent of cooperative households (Klodowsky, Spector, & Hendrix, 1983 cited inWekerle, 1988b, p. 107) and thirty percent of co-operative families(1986 Census of Canada cited in Burke, l990b, p. 28). The vastmajority (92%) of single—parent families living in co-operativesare, furthermore, led by women (1986 Census of Canada cited inBurke, l990b, p. 28). These statistics would seem to indicate thatsignificant numbers of singe—mothers are attracted to co—operative25housing.While not pertaining directly to single-mothers, there aremany studies which demonstrate that co—operative housing offerssignificant benefits for women. Gerritsma (1984) interviewed tenwomen who had assumed leadership roles in a Toronto housing cooperative and found that the co—operative housing experience hadprovided them with a valuable opportunity to develop new skills andexperience in such areas as maintenance and finance which could beapplied in other more public areas. These women viewed theirvoluntary participation in the management of their co—operative asa means of exercising more control over their lives and theyconsciously used it to increase their self—confidence. The womenreported that it was the non—hierarchical and non—sexist atmosphereof the co—operative as well as the example of other women involvedin co—op management, which had encouraged them to assume theirleadership roles.Gerritsma’s conclusions are substantiated by Farge’s studies(1985a and l985b cited in Farge, 1986) of women’s leadership rolesin co—operative housing. Farge found that women provided much ofthe ongoing leadership both in Toronto co—operatives and in the Cooperative Housing Foundation of Canada. Their involvement inleadership roles is especially strong at the “grass—roots” leveland is most visible in their activity as committee members ratherthan in the executive roles of the governing Board. The women whowere involved in leadership roles, indicate “in overwhelmingnumbers that co—ops offer them an opportunity to learn, to develop26skills, to gain valuable experience and provide an important sourceof social and community support” (Farge, 1986, p. 14).More recently, Wekerle (1988a) conducted case studies of tenwomen’s housing co—operatives and discovered that women derivedmultiple benefits from their co—operative living experiences.Overall, the women expressed a high degree of satisfaction withtheir co—operatives. The security of tenure, sense of community,and control over housing were the most important reasons explainingtheir satisfaction with co—operative living. When asked what theyhad gained from moving to their co—operative, the women “spokerepeatedly about shared values, reduced isolation, mutual supportand opportunities for participation and control” (Wekerle, 1988a,p. 87). In addition, skill development was identified as a gain bythe majority or 66.7 percent of the women. The type of skillsgained were primarily social and negotiating skills, andadministrative skills such as those relating to budgeting,financial planning and property management. Wekerle found that, ingeneral, the women expressed relatively few negative comments aboutco—operative living. Some women did express, however,dissatisfaction with aspects of the neighbourhood and with thedesign of their units. What the women “liked least” about co-operative living were aspects associated with “the structure of thecommunity—the sometimes lengthy decision—making process,development of factions, and having to accept and implement theviews of the majority” (Wekerle, 1988a cited in Wekerle & Novac,1989, p. 238).27In summary, there appears to be a congruency between thereported benefits of co—operative housing and the housing needs ofsingle—mothers as identified in the social sciences literature.Certainly, with its provision of rent—geared—to—income subsidiesfor low—income households and “low end of market” housing chargesfor moderate—income households, co—operative housing would seemwell—suited to accommodate the needs of single—mothers foraffordable housing. Co-operative housing would further be able tosatisfy the needs of single—mothers for security of tenure sincemembership would automatically entitle them to occupy their homesfor as long as they wished. To a significant degree also, a single—mother’s need for “sharing and support” (Klodowsky & Spector, 1988,p. 151) could be met through her involvement in the communitieswhich are known to develop in co—op housing settings. Furthermore,since co—op communities are typified by a socio—economic mix ofresidents, they would provide a single—mother with a “normal” andnon-stigmatizing environment. Finally, co—operative housings’democratic management model would offer single—mothers theopportunity to exercise some control over the decisions affectingtheir housing and enable them to develop a variety of skills. Thisopportunity to exercise control over their housing and to developskill could prove to be an empowering experience particularly forlow—income single—mothers for whom the effects of poverty and the“welfare office experience” (Sprague, 1991, p. 1) can too oftenexact a heavy toll on their self—esteem, confidence, and sense ofpersonal power.28While on many accounts, co—operative housing seems well—suitedto meeting the needs of single—mothers, such a conclusion istempered somewhat by the current lack of empirical evidenceconcerning the desiderata relating to co—operative housing forsingle—mothers. In particular, a serious omission in the literatureappeared to be the lack of detailed evaluations concerning thesuitability of co—operatives from the perspective of residentsingle—mothers. In view of the foregoing omission, this study wasconducted specifically to ascertain the views of single—mothersconcerning their living experiences in one particular co—operativehousing setting. The methodology used to investigate this researchquestion will be detailed in Chapter Two.o0di.QDi.QDiH,0CtH-CD0CDU)Z<CtCtwCtoH-U)H-DiH-CD‘-1CD0H-FlU)H-0Cl)Cl)CDH,U)CtCDC’)I•-CtDiH-FlCtctiDi0 I-hCDCt0DlCDFlCDCDCDH-FlCtFlLQ0 Fl‘dCDCDCDDiCD0U)dFlCDctCDHCDClC)HCD0CDDiCDCDH,CtC)DiH-roCDçtH-FlFlDiC)Fl1sQH-Ct0Cto0:CDt3FlH-Fl0H-FlCDCDC)CDCtrFlClU)0CtDiH,FlzCD(toCDCc)H,ClFlCl-CtCDCDCDCDFlCDH-CtU)FlU)CDCtFlCt0CtDiZ-.H-H-Cl)CDoClCD‘dH-CtDiH,H-CtDiCt1CtL0DiCDzC)rt0Di0CtU)d0H,DiFlCDCtCDCDFlCDZCDCDU)dFl—‘0CDCDHH-oHCtCtCl‘-0LQU)CtCDHU)CDCDU)CD‘—-H-DiFlCDCDDiHCD0CDCtCtCtHiCtCi)JCDCt0CtCDH0Fl0CDCl00Cl<3H-FlU)CDH--CD‘-Q<CDClFlHH,Di0i-QHCDH0NCDCt-U)H,H-DiC)DCDH-CtH-aCDHH—CDCtCtClHDi0Ctc.’)Cl-CtCDH-DlHFl<TFlCDCtCtCDCDCl-QDiH-CD‘-aCtDiQ0tt:5C’)H-iFlDiDiH-Di,CDHjLQ(CtHCtCtCD0CDC’)H-oH-0HZ C)CDDiH,HCDClCtCDHClCtCtoCtH-ClDiU)U)CDCtFl CD2-DiCtCtC)CDQ,-QZH-U)CDDiDi‘<HCDDi‘<CtHH-H0CDHU)H-CtCDH-CtciDiCDI-HH,CDCtCDCDDi0H-FlCDCtH---CtCDFlCDZH-N0CtCDCtC’CtCtCDCCD00H-o‘t,zICtFlCDiCDCDQQC)DiH,H,tYCtH-H-ClFlCtHH-C)FlCDH-0CDCD<CDClZCDH,0CtCDCDCDC$CDDiCDCDdU)CtFlHHHDiH0ClFlCtFl‘-<CDCDH-H-DiCDFlU)<<CtClDlCDH-0Ct1U),<DiDi‘d0CD0H,C)CDCDH-Cl)C) 0H-‘HClCtQC)DlCDCDClçtCDk<Ct<DiCDCDHClDiCDHCDFl0U)0H-H-DiCD-QU)H,H-CDC)0•HCDFlH-HClDlHH,C)FlCt DiDiU)H-FlCtiCDiQH-DCtHiHCDCD:iIU)CDCD30ICtSH-lCl0H-0<CtH,CtCDCtZH-CDU)C)CDciCtDi‘ICDCtCtU)U)H-C)DiFlCtCtH-HH-H,CtCi,DiCtCtC)CiCD00DiClFlCDIH,(_o‘-ao oi-a0 I-<0‘-3 CD I:-’ CD CD H 0 H,‘-3 CD CD Cl) CD Di Fl C) CD Cl) HCl) H 0 CD Ct t3 CD Fl CD H- Cl) Dl Di Ci C) H Ct 0 I-h CD30participant’s own categories and, as such, furnish a source of“consumer information” which offsets the paucity of empiricalknowledge and provides a guidepost for the direction of housingpolicy and programmes for single—mothers.The Scale Of The Study And The Sampling DesignThe research was confined to a case study of the single—mothers living in the Four Sisters Housing Co—operative. This casestudy was intended to provide in-depth and detailed informationconcerning the experiences of single—mothers residing in aparticular co—operative housing setting. The Four Sisters Co-op waspurposefully selected for its typicalness of Canadian housing cooperatives; it operates under the same 1978 Federal Co—operativeHousing Program as do the majority of Canadian housing cooperatives (the Co—operative Housing Federation of Canada, 1990, p.4)A purposeful sampling procedure was also used to select thefemale lone—parents who became research participants. Morespecifically, the study included those female lone—parents who werenot living with a spouse or “partner” at the time of the interviewand who had at least one child under the age of nineteen livingwith them. There were twelve female lone—parents living in the FourSisters Co—op who met these criteria. Two of these women wereexcluded from the study in accordance with the Four Sisters Co-op’srecommendation; one female lone—parents was excluded because shedid not speak English and the employment of a translator would31almost certainly have introduced extra costs and complications; asecond female lone—parent was excluded because she apparentlypreferred not to be involved in the Four Sisters Co—op’s projects.Consequently, there were a total of ten female lone—parents whowere asked to participate in the study. Each of these women wasfirst sent a letter which outlined the details of the study. Eachof these women was subsequently telephoned by this researcher inorder to ascertain whether of not she was willing to participate.Of the ten female lone—parents who were asked to participate, tworefused for reasons which included a busy student schedule and anout-of-town work assignment which conflicted with the time periodallotted for the research interviews.The eight participants constituted a relatively homogeneousgroup of single—mothers. The majority were in their late thirties(thirty-five to thirty—seven years) with the only exceptions beingone woman who was aged twenty—nine and another who was aged forty—three. With the exception of one woman who was born in Germany, allof the participants had been born in Canada. Furthermore, all ofthe participants were Caucasians and they shared a common westernEuropean cultural heritage. Another common denominator of the groupwas that, with one exception, none of them owned an automobile. Inaddition, the majority of the participants were recipients ofincome assistance and, consequently, they had comparable levels ofannual income which ranged from approximately twelve thousand tofifteen thousand dollars depending upon the size of the family unitand other variables bearing on the family’s particular situation.32The two women who were not recipients of income assistance derivedtheir income from their employment salary which for one womanamounted to approximately twenty thousand dollars per year; theother woman chose not to disclose the amount of her annual income.The participants were somewhat more diverse with respect totheir marital status, family size, educational achievement, andtype of occupation. While five of the single-mothers identifiedthemselves as “never married”, the other three identifiedthemselves as either “divorced” or “separated”. Two of the womenhad only one child, another two women had two children, and theremaining two women had three children. Among the participants’children, three had “special needs” which included a learningdisability, emotional disturbance, and “gifted” intelligence.Although the majority of the participants were High Schoolgraduates, some divergency was shown in the variety of post—secondary education and training which they had undertaken; two ofthe women had completed the first part of an undergraduateuniversity degree programme; another two had taken further formaleducation in a college; one woman had attended an art college; andyet another three women had taken vocational training in the fieldsof early child development, business management/book keeping, andrestaurant management. While several of the women reported thatthey had no particular occupation, the majority reported havingoccupations which included those of child—care worker, restaurantmanager, art dealer, office manager, book keeper, music teacher,and clerical worker. Those women who reported having no particular33occupation stated that they had held a wide variety of jobs thespectrum of which extended from clerical work, factory work,battered women’s support services, bar tending, retail sales, andhousing programme co—ordination. At the time of the interview, twoof the women were employed on a full—time basis, three wereemployed on a part-time basis, and three were unemployed. Inaddition, three of the women were college or university studentswho were studying in the areas of education, music, and arts andcrafts instruction.Since the foregoing sample of female lone—parents waspurposefully—selected and small in size, it is not possible togeneralize the findings of the study to all female lone-parentsliving in co—operative housing. It does appear reasonable toconclude, however, that the study’s findings are relevant for thepopulation of female lone—parents who have demographiccharacteristics similar to those comprising the sample and who livein housing co—operatives which are comparable to the Four SistersCo—op. More specifically, it is very likely that the study’sfindings pertain to other female lone—parents who are alsoCaucasian, in their mid—thirties, of low—income status and who livein large, inner—city housing co—operatives having a socio—economicmix of residents and an affiliation with a “politically aware”organization (such as D.E.R.A.), and which operate under the 1978Federal Government Co—operative Housing Program.34Data CollectionIn—depth, open—ended interviews were used to collect the datain this study. Such an interview approach was chosen over the otherqualitative methods of data collection (namely written documentsand participant observation) for the following reasons. Firstly,there were no available written documents (such as writtenresponses to open—ended questions in questionnaires and surveys)which had specifically examined the experience of single—mothers inco—operative housing. Secondly, this study was concerned withascertaining the thoughts, feelings, and first-hand knowledge ofthe single—mothers and this kind of subjective material could notbe directly apprehended through participant observation; as Patton(1991) has noted: “We interview people to find out from them thosethings we cannot directly observe” (p. 278).The particular approach to qualitative interviewing used inthis study was that of the general interview guide. Patton (1980)has described the general interview guide approach in the quotewhich appears below:The interview guide simply serves as a basicchecklist during the interview to make surethat all relevant topics are covered. Theinterview is required to adapt both thewording and the sequence of questions tospecific respondents in the context of theactual interview. (p. 198)The interview guide approach was chosen in preference to theinformal conversation interview or the standardized, open—endedinterview for several reasons. The interview guide allowed for amore systematic collection of data than the informal conversationoH-HH-‘t50HoCDHiZIU)ftHftftoCDrtCDCD0HH-HIICDCDz<CD<<HU)H-H.H•HDiHCDCDCDCDctHHH-U)U)CDU)çtct•iQCDHcnCDHIIH0H<0CDCDH-HCD0CDCDDi-zCDCDHHDiH—H-DiCDCDU)CDHi0Di1CD0CDft0CDDiHftHiCDHH-HHiyCDHftCDH-H 0riDi0CDCDftHCDjU)DiftH HioHri-0HiCDCD0CDHi‘1ftftDi‘CDCD0oHDi0ftHftDiCDftCDftHH0HH-HDiH-ftftCDHiDiH-ftCD HDiftH<ft0<0H-HCDH-HiCDCDçtHi:DiHiCDftDiCDft0CDcQHftHCDHr1HDiDi0Di0HiCiHCDCDHH-ftH-HiH-QCDH-Hi0ftCDH-HiCDCDHdHiCD0HftCDDiCDCDHiHH-0H-CD0ftCDLQH-ftCDH-CDU)HU)-ftft‘-0CDH-DiDiHDiCDZ0HH0U)HHftH-0CDH-0H-CDCD<H-01U)HH-H-HU)Di0LQftH-•HictDlctDiDiZ0CDDiHft U)i..Q0ft0H0H-U)Di0CDDiHi0H-00HH-0‘dCl’CD0DiCDXHft0H-ftHCD0H-HiDi0H-HH-H0H0ft0‘-0H-CDCDft0CDU)0U)<--HiCD,Hift piH-‘•ftDlCDCD0CDClCDC.1CDH CDHiDi00H Di0H‘0CDH-U)0HU)H-H-iQDiftHQ0H-U)HH-0CDDiftCDHftp,ft0ftCDU)Hi00HClCIçtftçtCZH-H-0H-‘10DiCDDiH-ftU)ftClftCD<U)H0CDft<HftftH-ft0CDCDH-DiDiCDU)HH-H-U)ftCDH-,QiH-ClftCD00H-CDftCDU)H-HCDU)HiHftDlH-<H-ftCDH-0H-ftYDiCD0-CDHU)U)U)‘dH-ftDiHiDiftHiH-Di0HHCDZ1ftDi0CDCD0HftftCDft0<HCDH-HHH-CD0CDH0<ftClI—’Di,H-H-DH-H-DiCT)HHCDCDH<HftCDDi‘-0H-CD0CDH-ftClCDHiCDftHft‘-<0CD-ftDiCDftU)0 DlClCDH8<HClHCDCD0CDDiCDp,0HH-ftDiftcOH-ftU)do<<0CDDiH-CDHCDH-H-CDHU)ClHHCDCl)U)U)DiU)0‘d-ICDHH-ftCDHCDftCDH-H-HHDiQH0Cl<Di‘—3H:iHDlHCDCDDiH--ftftCDCD0wft•H--CD0H-H-HiII<-ftDiHCDCDftCD HU)CDCD<DiDim—H-CDftCDCDH---000H-00U)H-DiDiHiHCDQ0HitYU)HiH-CDCl0H-0CDClH0H0H0CDDiDiHftCDCDH-HCDo-DiH00ftH-0DiH-U)DiH--H-HH-CDU)0ftHCDH-HCDHi Di0CD<ft<1DiHiDi<H-00U)COU)ClH-CDH-0H0ftH‘1CDyCD U)0D’H-iQCDClftCD0CDDiDiftft0F-’-H-ftftftLQ0ftH-<0CDCDCDCDCDCDftU)CD‘-0HClU)CflH,CflDiDiDiC)—5HH,H-Q.çtH-C)H-H-H-I-f-i-5H-0Did<H,0HCDCDCD3H0CDDiCfl5DidDiH,5çtçtH-ri-CDci-ci-cci-cnci-XCDC)H-11tIH-0Coci-DiCDCDCl)CDDiCDCDHCDCDCDH-Cl)C:C)HH-0HH-UiH-DiHht‘‘1ci‘1Di[15ci(fl0Dici--QCD<5i—3H<II<H-H-Cl)C!)-LQ-cDiH-ci-H-0‘<H-H-H-C)H-N0H--Cl)H-H-b0CDH-HCDSci-CDCl)0DiDiHH-C)0H-Cl)CDCDCDDiCDJCDCDCl)CDci-H-HCl)DiC:CDDiDiCDCDtiCDciZciCDci-H-ciDiHCDCl)ci-11ii--‘-<ci-Cl)DiIC:H-ciDiCl)CDCDDi0Cl)HH,CDCDk<0CDH-CDHH-<ciC:H,CDrt(flDici-CDCD1-pXHCD00CDDiZ0C)CDCDCDCDH-H-CDH,0HCDZciDiCDCDCDDiCDci-i-*i-Cl)HH-0Cl)Cl)0ciH-H-0LOrJH,Cl)CDC:CDCDDiH-1H-C)0i-0ci-HCDZC:CDC!)H-CDCl)Cl)Cl)H-C:H-HH-CDH-Di0ZciHCD•L<IIciH-0DiHCflHCDci-CDCDzCDH-Di0Z<C)H-H-H-ciCDCDH,cii-CDrtCDci-zCDCDHciH,ciCDti•H-LQ<H-HC:Di--ciDiC:0ciC:iciQi-DiCDDiSci-DiCl)-..DiH5C)ci--CDci-CDH,H,DiCDZCDci-DiC)-CD5H,0HDl0H,H-0ctCDtiH-5HHH-Cl)0‘HC)C:tiDiLQrCDCH0C:C)Z0ci-C)C:DiH-H-C1H-5CDzC:rtC)—cici-CDjDiCDHCDDici-<ciCDCD0F-C:H-00‘CDci--H-H‘-a-cciCDDiCDH-H,CD‘cCDH-HH-DiH,C)DiCDi-H-DiH,DiH-i-H0HciCDH-t-H,CDCDCDCDDiDiH-ctHCDCD1-i-H-0tQCl)t-<C)‘CDCl)Cl)ci-C:DiCDCD0‘<H-CDCl)‘.<CDCDCDH-Ci-0CDHH,H-CD-.0ciCDtHci-H-H-C)ciCDC:H-zHHC)HCD010ciCDCl)Cl)‘-gC)Ci-H-H-CDk<CDDiCDCDci-‘<HH-ci-CD0H-CDDiciH-Cl)ci‘0DiCDC)CDCi)HrtH-ZC)CDCl)DiCDci-ciCD0DiHciCD0ciH-ci-0H-ciDiC:H-Dii-cCitHHH-CDCl)Cl)C:Ci-t-CDH-H,Di<CDCl)c-i-DiCD-ci<CDH-ci-H-CDi-cCDDiCl)0cibflHci-‘<H-ci-CDCDHftCDDiQH-Cl)H-Di<H-ftDi•HH-CDH,0ciC)Ct0ZH-0::0HH-0ciCl)tiC:C)0ci0C:LQCDCr3H-c-i-H,CDCl)PiCDciciIIHC:C:cnH,wCl)•hCDiH,CDDiC:C)C:Cl)dCflHH-CDci-t--ti0ti5Cl)H,tiCDciH-0HH-ftci-ci-tici-H-C:0H0CDCl)CDCl)L<LOci-H-‘<0DiDiDiH-‘-15C)Di-‘-—ci-QCDI•CD-H,Cl)CDHri-CDCl)‘0037Sisters Co-op including the Housing Co-ordinator, a member of theBoard Of Directors, and a single—mother who acted as a contactperson throughout the research process. These discussions providedvaluable information about co—operative housing in general andabout the Four Sisters Co—op in particular. These discussion,especially those with the single—mother contact person, alsoprompted suggestions of specific interview questions such as thosepertaining to the socio—economic diversity of the Co—op’s residentmembership, a member’s opportunity to initiate a new Co—op service,and the views of a member’s family and friends concerning her Co—opresidence.In its final format, the interview schedule consisted offifteen sections each of which focused on a different aspect of theco—operative housing experience. These fifteen sections were asfollows: (1) Pre—Four Sisters Housing Circumstances (2) The ProcessOf Joining The Four Sisters (3) Affordability (4) Suitability ForChildren (5) Access To Services (6) Architectural Design Features(7) Participation In The Four Sisters management (8) Social ContactAnd Social Support (9) Privacy (10) The Public View Of The FourSisters Co—op (11) Security Of Tenure And Suitability For FamilyTransition (12) Influences And Changes Arising From Life In The Coop (13) General Satisfaction With Life In The Four Sisters (14)Demographic Material and (15) Conclusion. Each of the foregoingfifteen sections, in varying measure, consisted of the five kindsof qualitative interview questions identified by Patton (1991, pp.290—291). These included: (1) “experience/behaviour questions”38aimed at eliciting a description of the participants’ “experiences,behaviour, action and activities” ( Patton, 1991, p. 290) (2)“opinion/values questions” concerning the participants’ thoughtsabout specific issues (3) “feeling questions” directed towardsunderstanding the participants’ emotional responses to their Co—opexperiences (4) “knowledge questions” posed in order to ascertainwhat factual information the participants had and (5)“background/demographic questions” concerning the identifyingcharacteristics of the participants.During the design phase, the interview schedule receivedconsiderable modification in response to feedback from a number ofsources. The first draft of the interview schedule was perused, forinstance, by the Four Sisters Co—op single—mother who acted as acontact person. She suggested several amendments which included theincorporation of some additional questions, the re—wording of somequestions to clarify their meaning, and the deletion of onequestion which she felt could be invasive of the participants’privacy. In addition, the interview schedule was pre—tested by twosingle—mothers who lived in housing co—operatives other than theFour Sisters Co—op and who were personal acquaintances of thisresearcher. These pilot interviews revealed some seriouslimitations in the format of the interview guide and, consequently,some substantive revisions were made; while the original interviewschedule contained both open and closed—ended questions, it wassubsequently modified such that all of the questions were openended and this effectively changed the design from a being a hybrid39of survey—qualitative to being purely qualitative. A final sourceof feedback came through the thesis committee members. In additionto recommending the aforementioned open—ended wording of all of theinterview questions, they also suggested re—writing a morecomprehensive introduction to the interview schedule and theinclusion of some additional questions concerning the Four SistersCo—op’s architectural design features, the forms of mutual aidengaged in by the participants, and the “special needs” of theparticipants’ children.In order to maximize the validity of the participants’interview responses, consideration was given to any influences thatcould possibly cause a participant, whether intentionally orunintentionally, to bias or censor the information she gave. Inthis study, five possible sources of participant bias andcensorship were identified. These included the following: (1)worries about exposure especially with regard to personallysensitive information (2) the desire or need for a researchparticipant to conform to the researcher’s expectations (3)perceived pressure from other Co—op members to describe the FourSisters Co—op in positive terms and (4) perceived pressure fromsociety to describe their experiences in terms of conventionalexpectations of women (Anderson & Jack, 1991). In order to reducethe data—confounding potential of the foregoing, a number ofstrategies were adopted. This researcher sought to alleviate theparticipants’ worries about exposure, for instance, by assuringthem of the confidentiality of their responses and by restricting40the number of interview questions which enquired about personal orsensitive matters. In an effort to dissipate the participants’worries about interviewer judgement and to circumvent anyconformity to perceived expectations, this researcher sought toadopt a non—judgemental stance with respect to the information thatthe participants shared with her. In addition, this researcherattempted to pose the interview questions in a “truly open—ended”(Patton, 1991, p. 295) manner so that they conveyed no hints as towhat might be considered a desirable or appropriate answer.In order to record the verbatim responses of the participants,the interviews were audio-taped. It was thought that audio-tapeswould not only ensure the accuracy of data collection by recordingthe exact words spoken by the participants, but would also permitthe researcher to attend more fully to the interview processitself. After being informed of the reason for the audio-taping,the confidentiality of their responses, and their right to stop thetaping at any time, seven of the participants consented to theaudio—taping procedure but one elected not to have her interviewaudio—taped. Given the seemingly open and easy expression on thepart of the seven participants, it was assumed that the audiotaping did not inhibit or hinder their responses and, consequently,did not compromise the quality of the data. In the case of the onewoman who requested that her interview not be taped, the researcherrecorded her responses by taking written notes during theinterview. Such note—taking meant, however, that it was notpossible to record her information with the same degree of accuracy41or precision.Ethical ConsiderationsThe ethical framework underlying this study was informed bythe feminist values of co—operation, affiliation, and equality(Miller, 1986 cited in Walsh, 1989, p. 436). In accordance withthese feminist values, this study was conducted in a manner whichwas intended to be validating and empowering of the participants.In particular, this researcher sought to recognize the integrity ofthe participants by fostering a research relationship in which theparticipants were regarded, not as research “subjects” from whomdata could be extracted, but as knowledgeable “participants” whowere willing to share valuable information in collaboration withthis researcher.The foregoing ethical framework was instrumental in guidingthis researcher’s attention to the five major ethical issues whichwere raised by this study. The first ethical issue was that ofinformed consent. Each participant was informed about the natureand purpose of the study as well as about the conditions of herparticipation including her right to refuse or withdraw herparticipation, without penalty, at any time. A participant’sinformed consent was subsequently obtained by requesting that shesign a printed consent form before engaging in the study. Thisconsent form specified the aegis under which the study was to becarried out and included an assurance of confidentiality besidesinforming the participant of her rights throughout the study.42Before a participant signed the consent form, this researchersought to ensure that she fully understood the purpose and intentof the study, and was fully aware that her participation wasentirely voluntary. This consent form is presented In Appendix C.A second ethical issue raised in this study involved theconfidentiality of each participant’s interview responses. Suchconfidentiality was maintained by ensuring that nothing aparticipant said would be identified with her personally. To thisend, neither the name nor the address of any participant was usedin this study. In addition, any information that a participant gavewas incorporated anonymously with that given by the otherparticipants. Throughout the research process, moreover, only thisresearcher had access to any data which personally identified theparticipants. All of the audio—tapes of the interviews as well asthe original interview transcripts were destroyed following thecompletion of the thesis. A third ethical issue centred on thepotential risks that a participant might experience as aconsequence of her participation in the study. It was anticipated,for instance, that a participant might experience somepsychological stress response to the audio—taping of her interview.This concern was addressed by informing each participant that shecould request to have the taping stopped at any time. Thisinformation was conveyed on repeated occasions including theinitial letter of contact, the consent form, and several timesduring the actual interview. Yet another potential risk identifiedby this researcher was that a participant might experience some1’()H-txj0Q.rt0ctCDCl)t-H-ç-çtEn(1‘d0H-CDçto0H-F-CD1t3PH-CDCD9’IH-ctCDCflH-CDC)EndHiC)9,0’CDCDIIdCDEnCDEnEn00CD9)C)CDEnEnrt00CDçtr-rtC)rt00’H-‘dfrHciH-CD----.i--I-çj-F-oCDH9)Cl)En1r1<(1)C)HiC)C)rtHH9)LQ•CDC)Z3H--Q0(rthH-rCD-r)0CD9)H-0-LC)1-19’CD‘<En0Hi)Cl)CDH-EnH-0H-HiHoH-CDEnC)H-09)HHctgiI<CDH-CDçtIci-Hi9)ci-HctH-HoCDCDrjCDH-HiEnH-•ci-0CDH-Cl)EnCDH-ZEnHiçtCDEnH-EnEnCDZçtEnCD9))00HH----3H-EnCDCDbQnCDEnCDHi 0ci-En•H-<CDHci-C)çtH-CDF9)9)En:3-Enci-9’H-H-EnCl)EnC)CDCDEnCD0,H-00CD.oCD‘-Q0EnrtçjH-HHiCD9,0H-CDci-•0HiIICD9,CDCDH-0H-P4H-ci1jH-0H-H-C)--<F4CD0)0EnCDHiCDCD‘tiCDII1CDCDHiC)ci-9’Hii-H-EnCDoQ.En9’CDQ.CDCDH-9)Cl)CDCD0ci-En-ijci-CDEnci-HiEn0ç-j-CDHH-[1HrjHH-U)0’oEn0CDCDH-9,0’CD9’HiH-ClIoi-CDCDHCl)CDEnci-rt0HHiH-ci-El)Cl)EnHiH-HCDrCD9,0’ci--z-iCDi-H-CDgClCDi-•0HZCDCDCDEnI-’ci-CD1CDEnCD“<En‘t-9’<ClH-ci-CDHHiEnCDwHi9,H0CDCDEnCDHCDH-HictH-0Cl)‘-<CDCDCDH9)H-1HEnEn9’i-CDCl)9’00’EnH-rti-HC)CDClCl)HiCD0H-EnCD0h‘t519’CDCDH-H-09,En--t-’CDCD)i-0C)‘tjci-0HiH-ClCDH-CDct0CDH-9Cl)H$)4gClCDCDci-•9)CD‘<H-HCDEn00,Hi0ci-EnEl)H-CDci-Hi9)CDCDCD0)0H-•Eni-0)i-C)C)HCD9)0)HCDC)CD ‘-iiCDrtIt,9)-HiHCDi-EnCDri-HH-0HiHiH-EnII0‘Itici-CD0)CDH-CDbCDEn1I-xj9’CDH-ct0CDIIII‘QClHZCDHi-00II,ci-ci-9)9)Hici-H-H-H-H-H-EnH-0Cl)HEnH-h-ci-H-H-CDH-H.i-CDC)CDHiH-H-C)H9)j-H-<EnCDC)EnEl)H-00HiCl)cti-HZ-CDH-ciCDEi-jC)9’H0HioCD9)l-CDCD9’CDCD•0H-EnClH---CDCDH-j-.0’CDCDci-i-Ici-9’CDHCDEn0El)ci--ci-CDCDCtClClCDctCt0I-zjCDEn<CDCDCDrtci-1EnC)ct0EnCD0)Ctci9)iiroci-ci-ci-ct0ci-H-0’0C)ci-0)0)5’ci-EnCDHiCD•-00ICD-IIEnEnHici-EnEnCtCDCDCD‘-<044the thesis will serve a valuable educational purpose. The actingHousing Co-ordinator of the Four Sisters Co-op further anticipatedthat the research findings could be used as support—evidence by theDowntown Eastside Residents’ Association in their lobbying of themunicipal government with respect to developing more family housingin Vancouver’s downtown eastside neighbourhood.Data AnalysisThe process of data analysis was guided by the techniques andprocedures of the Grounded Theory approach (Strauss & Corbin,1990). This approach is characterized, for the most part, by aninductive style of analysis which means that the importantanalytical dimensions are allowed to emerge from the data itself asopposed to being specified prior to data collection and analysis.This inductive style of analysis is in accord with the purpose ofthe Grounded Theory approach which is not to “prove” theory, but to“generate” theory based on concepts derived from the systematiccollection and analysis of data pertaining to a given topic.Strauss and Corbin (1990) have described the Grounded Theoryapproach as “...a qualitative research method that uses asystematic set of procedures to develop an inductively derivedgrounded theory about a phenomenon” (p. 24)..Although the analytic procedures of the Grounded Theoryapproach were utilized, this study did not constitute an example ofGrounded Theory research. Grounded Theory research requires a highlevel of data conceptualization to achieve its theory-building45objectives: this study required only limited conceptualization andinterpretation of the data to achieve its goal of identifying themain themes. Since only limited conceptualization andinterpretation was called for, this study did not complete theentire set of analytical procedures which are involved indeveloping a Grounded Theory.The process of data analysis began during the data collectionphase. Following each interview, this researcher completed a“Contact Summary Form”, a copy of which appears in Appendix “E”.The completing of this form required this researcher to evaluatethe quality of the data received and to identify the main themesand/or issues which had emerged in a participant’s interviewresponses. The information recorded on the “Contact Summary Form”not only provided initial analytic insights which were important inguiding later stages of the data analysis, but it also gavefeedback useful for guiding the ongoing process of data collection.Certainly, the evaluation of the data’s quality allowed for theidentification of any problems which were occurring in the datacollection process and this, in turn, afforded the researcher anopportunity to correct these problems and, thereby, improve thequality of the data received from subsequent interviews. Inaddition, an awareness of the main themes and/or issues that wereemerging in the interviews allowed the researcher to explore thesetopics with other participants even when these themes and issueswere not specifically covered by the original interview guide.After the data collection phase had been completed, four of46the seven audio—taped interviews were chosen for transcription.The reason for this was two-fold. Firstly, each audio—tapedinterview took approximately thirty hours to transcribe and,therefore, the transcription of all seven audio—taped interviewswould have proven either too expensive had someone been employed totranscribe the tapes, or too much of a time commitment for thisresearcher given the time constraints imposed by this study.Secondly, it was thought that four interview transcripts wouldprovide sufficient material upon which to base a determination ofthe major themes and issues occurring in the participants’collective interview responses. This researcher anticipated,moreover, that the three audio—taped interviews which were nottranscribed could be adequately analyzed by listening to the tapesand ascertaining whether the themes identified in the fourtranscribed interviews had congruency. The particular fourinterviews chosen for transcription were those which offered themost detailed, complete, and clear accounts of the participants’co—operative housing experiences. In addition, the interviewschosen for transcription were those which represented the spectrumof opinion about the Four Sisters Co-op which, although allpositive in evaluation, ranged from being unreservedly positive tomore qualified in tone.The process of data analysis continued with the “open coding”of the four interview transcripts. Strauss and Corbin (1990) havedefined “open coding” as “the process of breaking down, examining,comparing, conceptualizing, and categorizing data” (p. 61). In47accordance with this definition, the first step in “open coding”was to translate the participants’ words into the language ofconcepts. To accomplish this, two of the interview transcripts wereread on a line—by—line basis and each discrete incident, idea, orevent that was related by a participant was given a conceptual nameor label. As an example of this coding step, one participant statedthat prospective landlords had often been unwilling to rent her asuite because she had children; her statement was conceptuallylabelled as “landlord discrimination against children”. This line-by—line conceptual labelling of the data was conducted with onlytwo of the four interview transcripts because this extent ofanalysis was thought to be sufficient for identifying the majorconcepts expressed in the collective interview responses.After the conceptual labelling of the data had been completed,the concepts were classified in order to develop a system ofanalytical categories. Given the proliferation of concepts, it wasnot practical to attempt a categorization whereby similar conceptswould be grouped and labelled according to their commondenominators. Instead, this researcher used “the overview approach”(Strauss, 1987, p. 31) which involved examining the entire set ofconcepts and then identifying “impressionistic clusters ofconcepts” (Strauss, 1987, p. 37). In identifying these“impressionistic cluster of concepts”, this researcher was assistedby the list of main themes and issues that had been documented onthe “Contact Summary” forms. This categorizing process resulted inthe discovery of four analytical categories which were named as48follows: (1) Affordability (2) Children’s Needs (3) Social ContactAnd Social Support and (4) Opportunities For Personal Development.These four categories were provisional in nature since they weresubject to modification in the later stages of data analysis.In naming the various concepts, categories, and themes thatemerged during the process of data analysis both at this junctureand during later stages of analysis, a number of resources weredrawn upon. This researcher sought whenever possible, to use theconcepts which had been articulated by the participants themselves.These concepts are termed “in vivo” codes (Glaser, 1978; Strauss,1987 cited in Strauss & Corbin, 1990, p. 69) and in this studyincluded such concepts as “a sense of community”, “kid—oriented”,and “a sense of refuge”. Another source of names came from theconcepts which the researcher had learned from her reading of thesocial science literature, especially the body of literaturedealing with single mothers and their housing needs. Examples ofthese “sociological constructs” (Strauss, 1987, pp. 33—34) were“mutual aid”, “social support”, and “empowerment”. In addition tothese two sources, many of the names were concepts that werecreated by this researcher based on her personal interpretations ofthe data. These created names included such concepts as “acceptantcommunity”, “basement suite syndrome”, and “privacy—maintainingstrategies”. In contrast to the “in vivo” codes which wereinductively derived, both the “sociological constructs” and theresearcher—created concepts were deductively derived. The“grounded” approach to using such deductively derived concepts49required that they be regarded as provisional “directions alongwhich to look” (Blumer, 1969 cited in Patton, 1990, p. 391) andthat their existence be inductively verified by the actual data.Certainly, such a verification process was engaged in for thepurpose of establishing both the validity and the completeness ofthe provisional set of categories. This verification process beganwith a colour coding procedure which involved carefully readingeach interview transcript and highlighting—with a different colourfor each category—the sections in the interview transcript whichcorresponded to each of the four categories. In colour—coding eachcategory, the aim was to ascertain whether the section of dataunder examination was accurately and meaningfully represented bythat particular category. After each category had been colour-codedin this manner, the set of provisional categories were tested fortheir completeness or capacity to encompass the data. By looking atthe data which had not been colour-coded, it was readilydiscernible which portion of the data remained unassigned to anycategory. This uncoded data were subsequently examined in order toascertain whether any new categories should be developed or whetherthe provisional set of categories required revision in order thatthey would better fit the data. As a result of this colour codingprocedure, much evidence was found in the data to support thevalidity of each of the four provisional categories. The colourcoding procedure revealed, however, that the set of four categorieswas not inclusive of a significant portion of the data. Given thelarge number of categories that would have been required to 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CDft 0ft CD0YCDCD H o ..CD ft CD CD z CD C) Di ft CD‘-0 0 H- CD EnftEnEn-3ZcDir CDCT)0CDCDpi0ftCDPjCDXII‘d0H-ft0CDDiEn0ft•CDHift0Di 0)H-CDft0EnHft•.DiDiH-HiftCDHMCDHiftEnft -ftCD IICDCDCD<tiCDEnH 0DioCDHDi ft CDftCD‘-0<oCDH-HH-0CD EnHHiCDHC)iDOCDftH 0(1)CD0H-H-H-ft•.Cl)0H-0Hift‘-CD0C) H-ftCDftftDiHDiH-0H-‘--HCD1CDHiCDftC)()C)0DiDiEnH-ftOjftftHCDEnOiLQCl)ftI-I00DiCDh0CDH-H-Hi-CDDiEnCl)Ho 1Cl)CDH-CDQHCDH‘do H-IEn00‘0 CDCDCDCDCDCDClCDftCDEnCl)H-CD <DiwHC)I-csftftCDH-‘1CDCD‘1CD‘00I0‘1Di EnDiH CDEnH-CDEn‘0DiC)0EnHiDi ft0CD 0HiHi0Cl)CDHiHiCDl)i00HHCDEnClEnofrIHH-HiHiCDCDH H-ft0CDH00HiCDçDiEn‘01H-DiDiCDHZH-•<LQ0‘0 ZCDCDII1Di1H00HODiH-CDftCDCDftH-H-I-IFl<0ftftCDH-H-oClEl)CDCDHiCl)Cl)H-HDiCl)CDo<EnDiCloCDClH-HC)00ClClFlHFlFlHiCDCDCl)CDEnHCl)0tiDi0C)En0ftC)H-H-H-H-Di0CoDiHZH-HEnCl)‘0Cl)Cl)C0ClHiHd0ftCD0 hI-Z CDEn H.•0H-Cl)ClCl)CDH-H•CT)0:‘HrEn0ClDiCDo0ClftFlCDHH-oCDH Dift CDt%)CD‘1H HEnCD Cl0 Hi0 H 0 En CD ft 0 Cl H- Cl) ft Di ft 0 Di CD H54(II) Supportive Community:- A Sense Of Community- An Acceptant And Child-oriented Community- Social Relationships And Social Support(III) Opportunities For Personal Development:— A New Impetus Toward Self-actualization- Skill Acquisition— PoliticizationWhile the foregoing new categories delineated the context ofthe central theme, the open coding process had generated nocategories which specified the central theme in terms of theremaining four paradigmatic features. Since this study was notconcerned with the building of theory, however, this researcher didnot think it necessary to specify the central theme in terms of allfive of the paradigmatic features. It was, nevertheless, thoughtthat it was essential to include an analysis of the causal orantecedent conditions that had precipitated A Sense Of Refuge. Toaddress these antecedent conditions, a new category was createdwhich outlined the housing problems which the participants hadexperienced before moving to the Four Sisters Co—op. The inclusionof this category was intended to add meaning to the central theme;it was thought that the Sense Of Refuge that the participantsexperienced in the Co—op could be fully understood only when viewedin contrast with the adverse housing conditions which they had55frequently endured before moving to the Co—op. This new categorywas labelled as Pre—Co—op Housing Problems and consisted of threesubcategories. Each of these subcategories, in turn, was furtherdeveloped in terms of their properties and dimensions. The newcategory and its subcategories are presented below:Pre—Co—op Housing Problems:— Access Problems- Affordability Problems— Substandard Housing ProblemsThe final stage in the process of data analysis involvedverifying whether the new set of main categories, the centraltheme, and the proposed relationships between the main categoriesand the central theme were supported by the data. To this end, thefour interview transcripts and the one hand—recorded interview werere—read and re—colour—coded using the same procedure as wasdescribed earlier. In addition, this researcher carefully listenedto the three audio—taped interviews which had not been transcribedand attempted to evaluate whether the participants’ experienceswere meaningfully and accurately captured by the conceptualframework of categories, central theme, and analyticalrelationships. The process of data analysis came to an end when theforegoing conceptual framework was found to be corroborated by theactual data.C)C)U)U)‘jHçtU)H-çtU)U)10C)CDV‘0V0U)HCDZVctCDiiiO’0><Vcl-ICDVr<C)CD3’C)CD0HIVCDCD0C)V‘1--H-P)U)H0CDVI-VH-0CDCDH-0I-h1crCDU)CDCD0C)-IiCDCDhpiH-ri-HCDH-U)C)H-H-I-hH1CDCiCDCD,_.ctC)ri-jCS)pj0I--H-CDCDCDVCDctH<0•CD1<U)ctU)CDH•DCDCDQH00V•t-.xjHI-I-‘.OIICD0H-V0C)0H00<0-C)HCl)‘—3ViH-0biHr1CD00H-tiHIICD.HiCDI-hCDI-VHiCDCD11çtCDCD HiH-H-çtCD•U)H-1CDHCDHC)0HU)H-çtU)H-CDCDctctIH-0CDCD0-QCDI-I-U)CDçtCDCDI-hIICDI-CD0CD0V01VU)H-CflU)H-00HU)0I-U)V‘-iH,CDCDCl)LJCDCD-0HII()CDiVcttZjH-H-H-•CDU)CDHiC)VQU)ctCDCDCDVC),,0CDCDCDHçtCDCDVC!)‘Cl)I-hI-H-CDHIIH-H-H-CDcn<H-CDHC)U)“U’Cl’iVCD‘ioU)CD0CDU)CDU)HCl)VVU)jH-CD,CDH-0FC)CD-QI-ICD0,CDI-hCl)0CDCDHU)1C!)H-U),CDH-ClCl)(tCDC)I-hCD0HHC)U)H-I-H-H-ICDHCD<VH-H-,0VCDI-hVHCD00‘<U)tiCl’0U)CDI-hU)U)c-I-H-VVHH-CDCl,I-CDHC)CD?.c-I-CDU)H-II0CDCl)CDc-I-H-CDH-CDH-HCDc-I-HC)C)‘<U)-CDVCDH-c-i-VCc-iCDCDCDH-(DCD0c-i-c-I-VCDIVH-CD0H-,-jc-1IIH-I-H-0CD,0i-I-hU)U)U)I-C)c-I-c-i-ctCDc-i-0VCDCDCDCD-0CDH-0CDCDc-i-I-0CDrtii-CDC)HI-hCDCl)ZCDC)H-H-CliH-c-I-U).00U)H-CDC)HCDU)0QClH-C)JU)U)0I-hZ‘-QQ-CD•H Vc-i-CDI-h1-3c-i-—H-I—’U)I-hCDc-t-C)Cl)CDCDp,II0H-Hrtt))CD0H-c-I-c-iH-H-IIIICl)CDc-i-c-I-H0CDH-0U)iCDc-I-U)CDHCDQ0U)‘-<‘<‘-<U)II‘QCDHci-Qj00)H-ci-ci-ci-crCDCDCD00)CDCD13CD13Cl)1DHci-U)(I)<CiU)H-Hci-H-CD13CD13ci-C)‘-<CDU)ci-C)C)CiU)CDClLQITCDi-HH-H-h130LQci-‘C)C)CDCDHCDCDH-013C)H-CiCDC)1CD0CCD13bCD‘-QI-i-U)•CD00)l0IQ.H-*ci-H-13ci-z0ci-HH-ci-3i-CD0)H-1130C)CD0)0-’‘-CD3CDLQCflCDci-13C)‘d0)CD13QCDcici-CDU)H-‘tici-HH-,CD?i-‘tS•0h0)ClHc-i-Ci1QU)HQU)0H-’H0ci-130)HCD0U)ci-ci-ci-CD0c-‘-rjCT)H-çtH-CD13CDciCD00HCl)CDH-CDU)0CDCD lClci-CDci-ci-CDU)i-frU)0)C)0ci-H-H0H-i-10)jCD0CDi-CD-Cl0ci-tYCiH-000)ci--hii-QC)CiCDCDH0)H-CDCD13Clci-00)H13CDhi13H-H130)><)H1)H-U)CDHH-C)Cl0)ci-CDCDC)-hi13CDCflH-130CDci-ci-13ci-Hhi0i-<CD0-1C)-CDCD13Cl13-CDCici-hi0)C)H-c-i-CD-QU)ci-U)013i-hci-CuCDCDuiCDCDH-i-hCDHCDci-CDCDClCDci-C)-‘<i-h•ci-><0)C)30ci-13‘QC)PClCDHClc-i-Cl)ci-00)çtHCl)CDCic-i-H-hihiI-hCfl13H-HCDHHCD00p,ci-•,.0<10ciCDU)0CDH00CDHI-IenCD0H-ClCDi-hCD ‘1hihihi‘H-CDClci-U)0)ci-o;CiCDCDIIH-H0)ci-HU)ci-H-i-ji-i-13130)H-,Clci-C)CD( 0CD0H-H-13CDC)ci-C)ci-00ClU)‘.Q13H-CDci-Cl)<CDCC)CDClUCl)00U)H-‘rJC)çtCDU)hi13H-CDCDCDCDCDClCDCD0-’hiH-H-0U)Hi-H-CliQ0H-ClC)H-H-CD0)i-i,‘<H-ci-CD00•C)•U)U)13I-ijCD13hi‘tihi0)ci-130)ciCDCDC)CDH-,C)CDhiC)0-ClCiClC)U)ClCl00I-h0)CuU)ci-Hi-c-i-ci-c-i-c-i-dU)13CDCDCDCDH-H-CDCDCDH‘tihici-ClH-frCD0CDCl)k<CDci-CD0ci-13H-CDU)U)‘<Cl)H-CDi-ClCDClC)<H-0c-i-H-1:3-1313çt0C)H-ciCDCflCDC)0)0131300CD0ci-00H-1:3-Clci-1:1CDHi-hCD0)U)IHU)•0H-,H-,ci-CD58CENTRAL THEME: A SENSE OF’ REFUGEI1Causal Conditions ContextPre—Co-op Housing Problems—Access Problems—Affordability Problems—Substandard Housing Problems_ISecurity Of Supportive OpportunitiesHousing Community For PersonalDevelopment—Affordable -A sense of —A new impetushousing community toward self—costs actualization-Security of -An acceptant —Skilltenure and child- acquisitionorientedcommunity-Control over —Social -Politicizationhousing relationshipsand socialsupport—Personal safetyFigure 1: Relationships Between Central Theme And Main Categories59The Main CategoriesPre—Co—op Housing ProblemsDuring the interviews, the women were asked about the housingconditions they had known before joining the Four Sisters Co-op andwhether, as single—mothers, they had ever experienced anydifficulty in obtaining housing. As noted earlier, two of the womenhad not been single—mothers prior to living in the Four Sisters Coop and, hence, they had no history of housing problems intrinsic tosingle—motherhood. In contrast, all six of the women who had beensingle—mothers prior to living in the Four Sisters Co-op reportedthat they had experienced various housing problems directlyattributable to their status as single—mothers. These housingproblems have been categorized as follows:Access problems.Five of the six single-mothers stated that they hadexperienced difficulty in obtaining housing. When asked to explainthe nature of this difficulty, one mother of two children respondedthat expensive rents had presented her with a obstacle to housing.In particular, she commented on the dilemma created by not beingable to afford housing which would have accommodated the size ofher family:Finding housing was really difficult too...Imean the newspaper was of no help to me at allin finding housing cause there was nothing init I could afford.60For me to have a three bedroom, I mean threebedrooms are, in Vancouver are one thousand totwo thousand a month you know. I mean I don’teven have, you know. I mean my basic income isprobably only around twelve hundred amonth.. .Yeah. I couldn’t [afford a threebedroom suite]. And then a lot of people[landlords] won’t allow you to move intoplaces that are smaller you know. And also, Ihave a girl and a boy six and a half yearsapart. It’s pretty hard to put them in thesame room. In fact, it’s impossible. I can’tdo it.Three of the single—mothers mentioned that landlorddiscrimination had made it difficult for them to obtain housing.Their common complaint was of discrimination against children butone participant reported that she had also been discriminatedagainst as a recipient of income assistance:Oh, yeah. The two, two boys well, I guess it’stwo any little children. A lot of people don’twant to rent to you. A lot of people don’twant to rent to you cause you’re, you’re onwelfare. I mean that’s really steady incomebut people don’t... I don’t know. They think.I don’t know what they think like you’re notgoing to pay your rent on time or something.So, it was a hassle finding a place. Usuallywe, we got basement suites.Well, they’d just say, you wouldn’t even haveto go see the place. You’d just mention thatyou had kids sometimes and they’d go oh well,no kids here you know.Even the woman who reported that she had never experienced anydifficulty in obtaining housing mentioned the problem of landlorddiscrimination and considered herself “lucky” to have been immunefrom it. She explained her non—exposure to landlord discriminationin terms of her employed status and her “respectable” appearance.In explaining her immunity from landlord discrimination it is61perhaps also significant this woman had only one child whereas thethree victims of discrimination had several children (two, two andfour children respectively). Her views on landlord discriminationare related in the following quote:No, I’ve always, it’s always been okay. Urn.Whenever I’ve applied for apartments, I’vealways had jobs and urn you know. I hate to saythis but we are, we, I guess we look clean andwhite and respectable so you know landlordshave always been okay with having a child youknow. But, I know of other people’s situationswhere it hasn’t been okay you know and urn.But, we’ve been lucky.Affordability problems.All six of the single-mothers said that they had experienceddifficulty in affording their housing expenses prior to living inthe Four Sisters Co—op. They complained that rent payments hadconsumed the major portion of their incomes and had left thembereft of funds for other expenditures:But I was always paying much more rent then Icould afford. It seemed like everything I hadwent into the rent. The rent was really hardto accept as well.. .That was ah, it sort ofate into the rest of our money but ah at thetime, I thought I was doing well. I thought itwas good you know.While this theme of financial drain was expressed by all theparticipants (including one employed participant), it seemedespecially dire for those in receipt of income assistance. Theconsensus of opinion was that the maximum amount of incomeassistance allotted for housing (shelter allowance) wasinsufficient given the reality of rent costs in Vancouver. In order62to meet their rent payments, these women were ,therefore, requiredto spend some of the support allowance (i.e. funds for food andother basic living expenditures) of their income assistance onhousing. The total amount of the support portion, however, wasbarely sufficient to purchase food and other basic necessitiesbefore any was spent on housing. As one recipient of incomeassistance explained:They [Ministry Of Social Services And Housing]give you a shelter portion and a food portionyou know. And if your shelter portion, if yourrent is more than your shelter portion, youhave to pay that out of your food. And youdon’t get anything else. Then, when you don’tlive in a co—op, that’s what happens you know.So, you don’t have enough money. You don’tactually. The food portion isn’t enoughanyways. It’s not enough to feed you anyways.In addition to financial drain, one participant spoke aboutother problems she had experienced in her efforts to pay forhousing. She noted, for instance, that rent increases had been theusual reason for her frequent housing moves:When we split up, it was, I was rentingapartments urn from and, and I moved it seemedalmost every six months urn for one reason oranother. Um. Usually because the rent went upyou know which was hard to deal with sometimesyou know. . .Well, rent going up at such anerratic pace and, and by such a large amountthat when you considered four hundred dollarsfor two bedrooms in a basement suite as a dealyou know and then six months later it’s youknow four hundred and eighty, it doesn’t seemso attractive and you figure there must bebetter deals around. So, urn I moved around alot because of [that].Further to precipitating frequent moves, these “erratic” andsubstantial rent increases contributed to a sense of insecurity:63Yeah, it [rental housing] was reallyunpredictable and I never felt secure, youknow, in terms of urn of what my situationwould be. I mean urn my rent could go up atremendous amount but my salary wouldn’t youknow and everything else seemed to be going upbut my salary wasn’t.Substandard housing problems.In speaking about their pre—Four Sisters Co—op residences,five of the six single—mothers mentioned that they had, at somepoint, lived in substandard housing. One woman said that, in herformer residence, she and her children had lived in overcrowdedconditions (i.e. a one bedroom suite for a family of three) in anapartment building which was “infested” and lacked basic safetyfeatures. Several of the women noted that they had lived inbasement suites which had been dark and damp. The most commoncomplaint, however, was of run—down housing in need of majorrepairs. These women’s various complaints are reflected in theinterview excerpts below:And the house, you could it was nice but ahwhen you neglect it. I mean the roof leaked.Every time it rained, we had five buckets inthe living room and stuff. The kind of stuff.The plumbing was a, a shambles ah you know.Everything like that. You know when you don’tkeep up a place and it’s old and you do sortof Micky Mouse patching up. The wiring wasshot. None of the outlets worked hardly. One Ithink. Hardly none of the light switchesworked.One participant offered some possible explanations as to whysingle—mothers often end up residing in substandard housing. Shesuggested that landlord discrimination against children blocks64single—mothers’ access to quality housing and, consequently, theyhave no other option but to accept substandard housing. Sheexplained:If a place was half—way nice, it was no, howold, [ are your children] well, forget it youknow. That was the most. And, but except forthe really lousy places, you know, they’requite happy to rent you, rent you really lousyplaces because I guess in the end what are yougoing to do. You’re going to put some kind ofroof over your heads so you well, you end,this is why we end up taking places inbasements that are way, the ceiling’s way toolow you know. They leak and they’re reallyquite substandard but it’s better than nothingyou know. You’re caught in a real bind.Although it was not noted by this particular woman, otherparticipants indicated that the low-income status of many single—mothers is also a significant factor in limiting their housingoptions.Not only do single-mothers’ limited housing options force themto resort to substandard housing, they also render them vulnerableto landlord exploitation. Two of the participants suggested thatmany landlords charge unreasonably high rents for substandardhousing because they know that single—mothers are essentiallycaptive tenants who feel powerless to take any recourse:Because the other thing is, if you don’t havehousing, I mean what are you doing to do withyour kids? Yeah. So, you really, I think, Ithink a lot of landlords really take advantageof that, you know, really take advantageespecially in areas like Mount Pleasant youknow. They know, they know how much shelterportion [is] and they gear the rent to that ora bit more. And they know they don’t have tofix anything. They know you’re not going tocall the health department or the cityinspector. I mean, cause the last thing you65really want to do is to make trouble you know.It’s gouging. It is. It’s exploiting you know.It is. It’s, it’s gearing it to the lowestsort of common denominator that you can getaway with because you know the otheralternative is sleeping under the bridge.Security Of HousingAll of the single—mothers spoke repeatedly about the securityof housing that the Four Sisters Co-op afforded them. For thesewomen, security of housing was found in the Four Sisters Co—op’sprovision of affordable housing charges, security of tenure,control over housing, and personal safety. These four components ofsecurity of housing were valued very highly by all eightparticipants and they were obviously significant in fostering theSense Of Refuge that the single-mothers found in the Four SistersCo—op. Each of these four components will be discussed in turn:Affordable housing costs.The participants were asked to give their opinions of thecosts that were involved in living at the Four Sisters Co-op. Inparticular, the participants were asked to comment on howaffordable they found the Four Sisters Co—op’s costs given boththeir income levels and the comparative costs of other availablehousing.The participants clearly viewed the Four Sisters Co—op asbeing “affordable housing’ and attributed this to its system ofhousing charges. They explained that in contradistinction tomarket—rental housing where a tenant pays a flat rental rate, a co—66op member pays a housing charge which is geared to his/her incomelevel. The general rule is that a co—op member pays twenty—fivepercent of his/her income up to a maximum amount which isequivalent to the low—end of market rates (assessed by C.M.H.C.)for the neighbourhood. A Co—op member who is in receipt of incomeassistance, however, pays a housing charge rate which is slightlylower than the maximum shelter allowance they receive. Thedifferential between the Co—op housing charge rate and the maximumshelter allowance permits the member to pay for some of his/herutility bills.The participants identified a number of financial advantagesthat they derived from the Four Sisters Co-op’s system of housingcharges. The six women who received income assistance thought thatthe Co—op’s system of housing charges protected them from theproblem that female lone—parents often encounter in rental housing—namely that of having to allocate some of their support allowance(i.e. “food money”) for rent payments. In the words of oneparticipant:Well, of course when you’re on welfare and ina co—op, the two of those items together workagainst that happening. Cause you’re given acertain amount of shelter portion and youcan’t live off your shelter money anyways. Andwhen you’re living in a co—op, it means youcan’t spend more than your shelter portiontowards your shelter whereas mothers rentinghouses and so on sometimes have to spend, youknow, more than they’re given for shelter. Idon’t know how they make it.The financial advantages derived from the Co—op also extendedto the two participants whose main source of income was their67employment. One woman’s housing charges were subsidized by the Coop so that she was not required to pay any more than twenty—fivepercent of her income (i.e. twenty—five percent of her income wasan amount below the low—end of market rental rate). She reported:I get a bit of subsidy from the Co-op becauseI don’t work for much money. So, that’s good,you know.The other woman also paid twenty—five percent of her incometowards her housing charge but she received no subsidy because herhousing charge was equivalent to the low end of market rental rate.Although this woman was paying a low end of market rate, shethought, nevertheless, that it was still affordable since the FourSisters Co—op’s low—end of market rates were much lower than thecomparative costs of other available housing. She noted, however,that because twenty—five percent of her income was equivalent tothe low end of market rent, she was not reaping the same financialadvantage as those Co—op members whose twenty—five percent of theirincomes were either higher or lower than the low end of marketrent. In short, she suggested that the financial advantage of theFour Sisters Co—op’s housing charges was greater for some membersthan for others.Irrespective of whether they were recipients of assistance orfull-time employees, the participants all thought that the FourSisters Co—op’s housing costs were much more affordable than thehousing costs they would be expected to pay in private-markethousing. The following quote is representative of their viewpoints:Affordable-highly affordable. Anybody thatlives here I think would agree to that. Well,68even if, if I had to pay full low—end ofmarket rent, I’m still not paying a lot ofmoney. I’m still not paying as much as I wouldin other parts of the City. It would still bea really affordable place to live. . . In rentalsituation or certainly in a mortgagesituation. Yeah. It’s, it’s cheap rent.Oh, it’s much cheaper.Well, in rental housing, I would pay a lotmore.The costs are really cheap compared toanywhere else.Many of the participants thought that the Four Sisters Co—op’scosts were especially low given the quality of the housing that wasprovided. For these women, the Four Sisters’ Co—op offered highquality housing at bargain rates:We’re getting a deal here okay. There’s nodoubt about that. If this was real marketrent, I’m not talking about C.M.H.C. marketrent but real market rent, we wouldn’t be ableto look at these places right. I figure easylike three bedroom, what do you think? Maybenine hundred dollars maybe you know.Oh, I think it’s high quality housing and thecosts are, are low compared to the quality ofhousing particulary when we live in a concretebuilding in this building. Concrete buildingsare rare and generally are reserved forexpensive co—ops. I mean expensive urncondominiums. You pay a lot more money outthere in the market place to buy into aconcrete building than you would into a woodframe. So, for me, I couldn’t ask for better.In speaking about the Four Sisters Co—op’s comparatively lowhousing costs, several of the single—mothers mentioned that theyperceived co—operative housing to be their only affordable option:69I look through the papers, the classifiedsjust for fun and ah we couldn’t affordanything that I see in town. Ah. We couldn’teven, a two bedroom, we couldn’t really affordit right. I don’t, I don’t know what we’d doif we weren’t in a co—op.I mean I think I’m forced to live in cooperative housing. I don’t think I have anychoice.. .1 mean, I feel lucky to get into cooperative housing because I know there’s a lotof people that need it but aren’t in it but atthe same time, I also feel trapped in it... [I:You don’t feel like there’s any otheroptions?) In Vancouver there are no otheroptions you know. [because of] The costs.Implicit in these women’s statements is the notion that theFour Sisters Co—op offered protection from the unaffordable housingcosts they would otherwise have experienced in the rental market.For one of these women, however, such protection was not entirelya positive experience since it was also associated with a sense ofinevitability, of no real choice in the matter.Yet another financial advantage that the majority of theparticipants mentioned was that of “economic security”. With thehousing charges geared to their income levels, the participantsfelt secure knowing that, regardless of how their financialcircumstances might change, they would still be able to afford tolive in the Four Sisters Co-op:So, it’s not like rental because your housingcharge can vary according to your income. Youcould be working at a very poor job and pay alot less and then next year, all of a suddenyou find a new job and you make a lot moremoney so you pay more you know. So, it does.Ah. Well, it enables you to live here even ifor you know it’s before people move in andthey’re making very good money and then oh,all of a sudden for whatever reason they’re70not any more. Well, you don’t have to pack upand move at that point. So, it, it giveseverybody security, you know, whether you’remaking a lot of money or not. It [housingcharge] fluctuates with what I make you know.When I’m making more money I’m sure it will goup. Which is fine. I have no problem withthat.Given the foregoing financial advantages, it is not surprisingthat many of the participants thought that their general financialcircumstances had improved since moving to the Co—op. They spoke ofhaving more disposable income and relief from financial worries:You do have a bit more disposable income.You’re not spending it all on housing.. .Ratherthan juggling all of your payments you know itah. It makes it easier and less stressful toyou know pay your bills you know when you knowthat you’re not spending all of your money onhousing. I mean all my money doesn’t go torent. I mean Im financially, I’m better offhere—until I’m making better money.Although all of the single-mothers viewed themselves as beingbetter of financially by living in the Co-op, two of the womanreported that they still experienced some financial deprivation.Both women maintained, however, that this financial deprivation wascaused by the punitively low rates of income assistance and was inno way a reflection on the affordability of the Four Sisters Co—op.Security of tenure.All of the single-mothers thought that their tenure was verysecure in the Four Sisters Co—op. They reported that theirmembership in the Co—op assured them of permanent residency as longas they abided by the “house rules” which Co—op members hadcollectively formulated, and cited the history of Co-op action in71such contingencies which demonstrated that the Co—op evictedmembers only in cases of severe transgression. Typically, suchtransgression was characterized by behaviour which threatened thesafety and/or well—being of other Co—op members. Their viewpointsare reflected in the following two quotations:You have a right to residency here as long asyou abide by the rules that you agreed to andthen you have full security. I mean short oflike burning the building and ah doing youknow a lot of destructive things you know. Imean, if you’re not hurting anyone, then youhave the rignt to stay here you know.Several of the single—mothers noted that the Co-op offeredthem much greater security of tenure than did rental markethousing. They stated that, as members of the Co—op, they were notsubject to any landlord and, consequently, they were affordedprotection from landlord—imposed evictions. One single—motherasserted that security of tenure is an inherent feature of cooperative housing (i.e. “the co—op idea”) whereas in rental markethousing, the terms of tenure are largely determined by thelandlord. These viewpoints can be heard in the following quotes:Well, the co—op idea is that you have securityof tenure. That your landlord can’t evict youbecause they bought the building or they soldthe building and they’re going to turn it into condos or what have you. Nobody can takethis urn because it’s not really rented. Aslong as I’m living here and I’ve paid myshares, this actually belongs to me you know.Like forever until I die. And like after Idie, I can leave it to a family member. Sothat’s pretty permanent.One woman pointed out that the Co—op offered security oftenure, not only through its actual tenure form, but also through72its “right” to self—government. She explained:But there again, all co-ops have the right towrite their own rules and the Boards have theright to make decisions based on the good ofthe people and not some arbitrary rule thatcame from outside of their (Co—op) community.So, you do have security of tenure as long asyou’re, you know part of the (Co—op)community.Four of the single—mothers expressly stated their appreciationof the security of tenure that they had found at the Four SistersCo—op. One woman said that obtaining security of tenure had beenher major priority in joining the Co—op. She valued having securityof tenure because she wished to provide her children with a stablehome, neighbourhood, school, and network of friends:I think what I wanted most is to, is thesecurity. To know where I was living urn Icould stay. I, it wasn’t, when you live insomething rented, there’s always thepossibility the rent’s going to be raisedbeyond you or um the place is going to be torndown or get sold or whatever. You don’t have afeeling of permanence. . .But I really wantedwith the kids to have urn when they started theschool, that we would stay. And we only movedonce when I was a kid. My dad built a newhouse, and it was horrible. I remember howhorrible it was. You had to move out of yourneighbourhood and away from your friends and anew school. And I thought, I’d really like tohave that choice—that we move somewhere and wecan stay here now. Cause I think that’s reallyimportant.Similarly, the other three single-mothers found that throughits security of tenure and affordable housing costs, the Co—opprovided them with a much needed source of stability as well asfreedom from housing—related worries. The following quote istypical:73Well, unless I did something completelyoutrageous, that I wouldn’t get booted out.And that’s for me, when my life has been soincredibly up and down since I got pregnant,that’s a very good thing. Urn. So, it means alot to me. Before I came in, [to the Co-op] Icouldn’t afford to live anywhere and I wasworking and you know long shifts and it was areally emotionally trying time. So, it meant alot to me to move into a place and not have toworry about it. .. .1 know when I first movedin, I felt this tremendous sense of relief. Itwas really important. Well, at least I had onearea in my life that I didn’t have to worryabout. Everything else was up in the air. Soit was really important in that way.While the single—mothers had security of tenure within the Coop, they all indicated that changes in their family compositioncould affect their right to occupy a particular suite. One single-mother explained that a family could be required to vacate itssuite if a change in its composition placed it in violation of the“over and under housing rules” imposed by the C.M.H.C. ( i.e. rulesgoverning the number of people who can occupy a certain suitesize). Despite having to conform to these “over and under housingrules”, most of the single—mothers agreed that the Co-op tried tobe flexible in accommodating the changing needs of its members.Certainly, the single—mothers pointed out that the Co—op madeprovision for an additional adult to join a family. They referredto this provision as “associate membership” and explained that itessentially involved the newcomer adult making formal applicationto and being screened by the Co-op’s Membership Committee. Thesingle-mothers also pointed out that the Co-op providedopportunities for members to move to different—sized suites withinthe complex. The Co—op’s flexibility in accommodating changes in a74family’s composition through suite transfers was seen as beinglimited, however, by the fact that there were no suites larger thanthree bedrooms. Another limiting factor was that a family oftenfaced a long waiting period before a suite, of the desired size,became available. The single—mothers’ views regarding the Co—op’sflexibility in accommodating changes in family composition areexpressed in the following passages:.you can move your unit size up or down ifyou need to... It’s, the policy has alwaysbeen to accommodate. . .And you do have to waituntil one’s available. I mean if for somereason I wanted a two bedroom and moved intotwo bedroom and then went oh, this is toosmall, I mean no one is going to get kickedout of their three bedroom. I could end beingstuck there for a good long time until onebecomes available.So, because people’s needs change too. So, youdon’t have to move outside of the Co—op tohave your needs met. . .All the families thatI’ve known, we’ve all moved at least oncesince we’ve moved in here because of ah thesize, the family has increased or ah you knowsometimes the family has gotten smaller. Theolder kids like have moved out you know and ahyeah. So, there’s been a lot of that which isreally good you know because sometimes theycan’t always do that in an apartment building.Control over housing.For all of the single-mothers, the opportunity to exercisesome control over their habitation was a distinct advantage toliving in the Four Sisters Co-op. This opportunity was ascribed tothe fact that the Co—op was democratically managed by its members.The single—mothers explained that, under this democraticmanagement system, all members were given an opportunity to have a75say in the operation of the Co-op. Further, the members had faiththat any decisions made in governing the Co—op, reflected theircollective interests as opposed to those of a landlord. Evidencethat the single-mothers felt that they had a say in the managementof the Co-op-both as members of the collective and as individualmembers is found in the following quotations:Everyone has a vote. And ah and if a persondoesn’t agree with a decision that’s beenmade, they have an opportunity to present, youknow, their opinions you know. We have severaldifferent meetings throughout the year and so,if there is something that you want or needyou know, you do have a chance to ah to letpeople know how you feel about something.I like the way that things work here, that wecan sort of shape how, how we live. . .Well, Iguess cause we’re, it’s our, our decision andour responsibility and it’s, doesn’t come fromon high. It’s been hammered out. You know,people talk till they’re blue in the face overit and. It’s, I don’t know. It comes from usyou know. Yeah. Even though it doesn’t comefrom me necessarily, it comes from us andthat’s good enough for me you know.The participants further reported that their participation wasnot confined merely to the decision—making process but extended tothe actual labour involved in the Co—op’s operation. Thecomprehensiveness of their participation is particularized asfollows: (1) attending “general meetings” where they participatedin discussions of important issues, solved problems, and voted onmajor decisions (2) sitting on the Board of Directors where theyassumed responsibility for directing the management of the Co—op(3) participating on volunteer “committees” where they wereinvolved in such activities as financial planning (the Finance76Committee), membership selection (the Membership Committee),building maintenance (the Maintenance Committee), gardening the Co—op grounds (the Gardening Committee), producing a Co—op newsletter(the Newsletter Committee), developing the common spaces (theCommon spaces Committee), representing the children’s interests(theChild Care Committee) (4) performing “maintenance chores” (e.g.vacuuming a common hall—way) (5) filing formal complaints with theGrievance Committee (6) making suggestions to the Board/committees.Many of the participants emphasized that the amount of “say” thatthey had in the management of the Co-op was indirect proportion tothe amount of their participation they essentially saw a Co-opgiven opportunity which was incumbent upon them to exercise:Either use it or lose it. You don’t sayanything, you don’t have a say. If you saysomething, then you know you have aparticipation. . .1 feel that I’ve had a lot ofinfluence around here ah but that’s becauseI’ve made an effort to participate and I’veproved myself to have you know, responsibilityand skills and so on. So, you know, I getinvolved.An obverse perspective came from another woman who said:.1 just sign into meetings and just leaveright and then if something happens in ameeting that I don’t like, well, I figure toobad “X”, you know, you, you had theopportunity to be there and speak to it and ifI didn’t, well.While the majority of the single-mothers thought that eachmember had an equal opportunity to participate and to have a say inthe Co—op’s management, two of them did not. These two womenmaintained that the Co-op’s management tended to be dominated by afaction of highly involved members with the consequence that some77members were eclipsed:The problem I see happening in this Co-op,maybe it happens in every co—op, I don’t know.You get these over—zealous members that are onevery committee, that are doing everything andthink that nobody else, they kind of start tolook at everybody else as incapable becausethey’re these workaholics who are doing itall, right. But they’re usually really hardpeople to work with. They usually, I meanthere’s people on committees here that peoplewon’t join the committee they’re on becausethey’re so overpowering. And they reallyinvalidate any one else’s capabilities. Yeah.So there’s that. That is a problem. Urn. Thatthey dominate.One woman further commented that the domination of thecommittees by these factions was an especially critical problemsince the committees wield considerable power. She explained thatthe committees were essentially the “brains” of the Co—op sincethey developed the proposals which then become subject to theapproval of the general membership:Like decisions are usually made by committeesand then put to the general membership. Andsome committees are really run by thepersonality of one person and theydominate. . .You’ve got maybe sixty peoplecoming to, forty to sixty people coming to ageneral meeting and voting on a proposalthat’s already been passed by a committee. So,that doesn’t always reflect the majority viewat all.Many of the single—mothers reported that they derived a senseof security from having the opportunity to exercise control overthe Co—op’s management. They explained that, as a result of havingthe opportunity to be a party to any decisions that affected them,they had both foreknowledge of and an influence over any changesthat might occur. Of equal importance, they knew that any such78changes would be made for explicable reasons. In this regard, theywere protected from landlord—imposed decisions which could bearbitrary, unpredictable, and potentially motivated by the self-interests of the landlord. In a corporate sense, they were theirown landlord. This freedom from external control and itsconcomitant sense of security was a common theme and is exemplifiedby one woman who said:And being a single—mom, it’s [having a “say”]good. You have a bit of control and you’re notat someone else’s whims—like a landlord andwho may decide to change things on youovernight. You have no say at all. You have norights. Whereas here, you do.Personal safety.All of the participants reported that they and their childrenfelt safe within the confines of the Co-op complex. They attributedtheir sense of safety to various features of the Co—op—a discussionof which will follow.The majority of the participants thought that the Co-op’sarchitectural design served to ensure their personal safety. One ofthe participants appreciated, for instance, that her suite entrancewas not accessible from the street:It’s the security.. .1 like, I like having thecourtyard gates. I like having to be buzzed[on the intercom]. I like the fact that evenif you get into the courtyard, you still haveto get into the building before you get to mydoor. I wouldn’t want my door to be accessibleto the street you know, just like that.Seven of the participants noted that the open-air, interiorcourtyard provided a very secure play area for their children. In79the words of one participant:This courtyard is safe. The police have toldus that this is probably safer than anyone’sbackyard in the City. Because I mean it’spretty hard for a kid to be out there and notsomebody looking out the window. I mean, itwould be pretty hard for a kid to be stolenfrom here.Three participants described how the situation of their suites(i.e. overlooking the courtyard) encouraged an informalsurveillance system among their neighbours and, in addition,facilitated the supervision of their children’s courtyard play. Oneparticipant remarked:Whereas here, all the three—bedroom suitesface into the courtyard and you can look out,you can see, you can hear the kids. They’rereally visible....because for one thing,you’re much more open to your neighbours. Imean the way it’s set up, the windows alllooking inward and at each other you know. Imust say, the non—privacy appealed to mesafety—wise.Many of the participants noted that the Co—op’s provision ofan effective security system further helped to promote theirpersonal safety. They explained that the Co-op had a securitycommittee which was responsible for patrolling the buildings andwhich the members could call on a twenty-four hour basis if theyhad any security concerns. In connection with this, several of theparticipants mentioned that the Co—op had sometimes experiencedsuch security problems as burglaries and vandalism but that thesehad been effectively dealt with by the security committee. Thesense of safety that the participants’ derived from havingthe security committee is expressed in the following quotes:80We do have people that actually you know doactually look out for the physical security ofthe Co—op. And I feel really good knowing thatthey’re here and knowing who they are. Likefor me, if I see something going on in thecourtyard or something at night, I can’t goout and deal with it because I have a daughterat home and I’m not going to walk out of thisapartment and leave her. So, I’ll callsecurity and report it and they’ll go and takecare of it which is great.The social atmosphere of the Co—op was yet another featurethat afforded a sense of safety for many of the residents. Two ofthem found that the mere presence of people in the Co—op complextended to be reassuring. One of these women remarked:I feel safe here, I go to the laundry room oror put out the garbage which is in the parkinggarage any time you know. I feel pretty safeand maybe that’s sort of being naive but Idon’t know. There always seem like there’speople around so I feel okay.Two other women stated that they derived a sense of safety forboth themselves and their children as a result of knowing the otherCo—op residents:Cause now we all know each other. I mean ifthere was screaming or fighting like thatcoming out from my suite anyone around wouldknow that this is not me. There is somethinggoing on you know.It’s been a really safe environment you knowand like even if I’m not looking out formyself, other people are looking out for me.In discussing their sense of safety, many of the participantsremarked that the Co—op had been successful in eradicating thesevere security problems that had occurred during the beginningyears of its operation. The participants ascribed these earlysecurity problems to the presence of a few anti—social members and81explained that the Co-op had taken appropriate action to have themevicted or transferred to more suitable housing. In theirdescriptions of the Co—op’s success in eliminating these earlysecurity problems, it was apparent that the participants’ viewedthe Co-op as having proved itself able to protect the safety andwell-being of its members. Their confidence is exemplified by thefollowing quote:So, they [D.E.R.A.] were busily housing peoplethat weren’t really Co—op material. And so wewere filled to the brim in so many respectswith people that just couldn’t function here.Now fortunately, Tallia Tower opened not toolong after we opened and so we were able tomove out a certain contingent of senior singlepopulation that wasn’t right for the Coop...That helped a lot. That you know everylittle bit helped taking the pressure off andbringing in new people and so on. So, over theyears we’ve evolved into you know, quite astable community.While all of the participants valued the sense of safety theyhad as a consequence of living in the Co—op, it seemed especiallyimportant to those who had experienced child and/or spouse abuse.Indeed, one woman commented that:Well, the thing for me was ah, safety was areally big thing because I come from ah abackground where you know I’ve seen a lot ofabuse.Yet another woman maintained that moving to the Co-op hadactually ended a very distressing cycle of harassment from heralcoholic ex—husband. She explained that both the architecturaldesign and the social atmosphere of the Co—op had been instrumentalin ending this cycle of harassment. The high value that she placedon having protection from her ex—husbands’ harassment is expressed82in the following words:You know, I was getting quite harassed [by herex-husband] and urn that had to cut-out when Imoved here. It just wasn’t possible to do thesame kind of things. Like come up and bang onyour door and stuff. It just was not possible.So, I really did like that and that is one ofthe things that keeps me here.In contrast to the sense of safety they felt within theconfines of the Co—op, all of the participants expressed someconcerns about the safety of the neighbourhood. Mainly, theirconcerns were for the safety and emotional well—being of theirchildren. The participants clearly considered their pre—teenagedchildren to be at risk when engaged in play or travel in theneighbourhood unless they were under adult supervision. They feltthat this supervision was warranted even though it tended toinhibit the children’s social experience and limit the growth oftheir independence. The particular safety threats they identifiedincluded the heavy traffic, the high crime rate, the inadequately—serviced population of mentally ill people, and the substanceabusing habitués of the neighbourhood. The participants’ concernfor the safety of their children as well as the extent to which theneighbourhood safety threats limited the children’s independenceare evident in the interview excerpts below:It’s a tragedy that I can never think ofsending her to the corner—store on anindependent basis and in some neighbourhoodsyou can when they’re old enough. I would neverlet her go to the corner store down here onher own until she was a teenager. Cause it’sfar too dangerous and you’ve really got tohave street smarts around here.And I don’t know when I will think my boys areold enough to walk that [that distance to the83And I don’t know when I will think my boys areold enough to walk that [that distance to theStrathcona Community Centre] themselvesbecause the neighbourhood outside these gatesis ah I think your kids are at risk you knowah just well, traffic wise and like withpeople being dumped out of Riverview.Although all of the participants shared a common concern forthe safety of their children, they held divergent views regardingtheir own sense of safety in the neighbourhood. While some of thewomen felt very disturbed, the other women felt relativelyimpervious to the neighbourhood’s social problems. Thesecontrasting views are exemplified in the following two interviewexcerpts:There’s a lot of um mentally ill people onthis street and sometimes that is reallyscary. Most of them are harmless you know butthey’re also really scary for children. Andsome of them scare me. I mean there are somethat are dangerous and they’re out on thestreets...I noticed when I first moved in herethat every time I left the courtyard, my bodyjust tightened up and it was like I felt like,I, I felt like I had to be on guard. And now,I don’t notice it but I’m sure I do thatstill.And yes, I’m aware of the type of clienteleand people that walk up and down theneighbourhood and so on but that in itself isnot a problem. I don’t mind the rubbies. Youknow, they’re, they’re harmless. They’re dirtybut you know they’re poor.. .There’s, there’ssome pretty violent type crazies walking alonghere and so on but myself, I’ve travelled alot independently and I know how to look aftermyself. I know how, you know, to watch out forapprehensive situations and avoid them and umso you know, I’m not worried. Yeah. You knowthere’s, there’s no actual real threat.84Supportive CommunityIn addition to having security of housing, the single—mothers’experience of a supportive Co-op community was highly influentialin engendering the Sense Of Refuge they found at the Four SistersCo-op. In describing this element of supportiveness, the single—mothers spoke, in particular, of experiencing a sense of communityas well as opportunity for social contact and social support. Theyfurther viewed the Four Sisters Co—op community as being supportivesince it was child—oriented and provided an ethos of non—judgemental personal acceptance. What follows is a more detaileddiscussion of the foregoing.A sense of community.All of the single—mothers spoke about the sense of communitywhich they had experienced at the Four Sisters Co-op. They remarkedthat there was a solidarity and level of relationship among the Coop members which was typically absent among tenants in market—rental housing. Most of the participants associated this high levelof solidarity and relationship with the Co-op’s democraticmanagement structure which required members to work together insharing the responsibility for the Co-op’s operation. Two of theparticipants maintained that the Co-op’s architectural design alsocontributed to the development of relationships among members sinceit provided them with venues (e.g. common courtyard with visualaccess from the interior suites) for social contact. Two otherparticipants asserted that the solidarity among the Co-op members85was attributable to the co—operative housing lifestyle since ittended to attract like—minded people with similar needs and values.The sense of community that the participants experienced at theFour Sisters Co—op is epitomized in the following quotes:It’s a community. People know a lot about you—more than they would if you lived in anapartment building cause a lot of yourstatistics are made available to other peoplebased on need. Um. And you have to worktogether. You have general meetings where youhave to vote on issues. You work on committeeswhere you know, you have to bend to you know,to get along with people and you know, letsome people do their thing their way and youdo your thing. And it’s you know, it’s aworking out of human relationships..[in an apartment building,) you’re lucky ifyou say hello to your next door neighbour. Ifound that was a very common thing. That ahyou know, that there’s very few people thatreally you’re going to know and make friendswith in your apartment building unless you’rethe manager. . .but you see, that situation doesnot call for that kind of kinship. . .1 meanthere’s no common bond which attracts them tothat one particular building whereas this iswhat you’re going to get here in the Co—op.So, you know that the reason they’re living ina co—op is, is ah for a lot of the samereasons you’re living there. So, already youhave this one thing in common.. .And urn yourneeds are going to be similar. So, it’s nothard to get along with people who have similarneeds and values.Many of the single—mothers experienced a sense of communitynot only within the Four Sisters Co—op itself, but also in thewider neighbourhood. They observed that there was a strong sense ofcommunity in the Downtown Eastside (D.E..) and perceived the FourSisters Co—op as being connected to this “D.E.” community throughits association with the Downtown Eastside Residents’ Association86(D.E.R.A.). In speaking of this affiliation, the participants notedthat a significant number of the Co—op’s current members wereformer “D.E.” residents and that the Co—op continued to serve the“D.E.” community by giving priority to “D.E.” applicants. Theyfurther noted that the Co-op had played an important revitalizationrole in the “D.E.” by attracting families to live in theneighbourhood. Given the Co—op’s connection with the “D.E.”community, it is not surprising than many of the participants spokeof having an affinity for the D.E. community. Their affinity wasevident in their expressed pride in and loyalty to the “D.E.” aswell as in their support of D.E.R.A.. The sense of community thatthe participants experienced in the “D.E.” is evident in thefollowing interview excerpts:There’s an incredibly strong community downhere. Not just in the Co-op but in this areaas well.But, it’s kind of like, you know, if you livein the Four Sisters, this is who we are.You’re part of the Downtown Eastside,.it [the D.E.] is trying really hard to be aneighbourhood, you know, to the people that,you know, that care about it. So, ah yeah, itis a loyalty [I feel towards the D.E..] andthat’s something I never felt before. So,that’s a change.The opportunity to experience a sense of community was valuedvery highly by all of the participants and their appreciation wasmanifested in the community spirit they expressed. According to M.Scott Peck (1987), community spirit is present when members of agroup ‘.. .take pleasure—even delight—in themselves as a collective”and “...know that they have won something together, collectively87discovered something of great value, that they are ontosomething’” (p. 73). This “delight” and sense of collectiveaccomplishment is exemplified in the following passage:The Co-op is highly respected and quite famouswith the fact that D.E.R.A. has, well, the Coop has won design awards for architecture. TheCo—op has won tons and tons of publicity fromthe mayor who originally opposed theproject...And it’s because we pulled it off.And that’s great you know. And we’re proud ofthat living here. That you know, it does workand that we are making a difference in agreater sense. I think that means a lot to us.Further indication of the participants’ community spirit wasevidenced in their expressed commitment and desire to serve thelife of the Co-op community. The following two quotes arerepresentative:It was a good time for me to use my skillsto work with the place to make it work cause Iwant, you know, this is my housing anddaughter’s housing. I want it to be as good aspossible. So, it was worth the investment ofenergy to me.I’m expected to vacuum my hall—wayperiodically and to wipe finger marks but youdo, you tend to do a little bit more causethis is where you live. . .You sort of feelwell, if you want it to look nice, you helpout right. Yeah. You care about it right.Although we don’t own the suite, I, I tell thekids we have a share in the whole complexright. So, it’s all our responsibility.The major advantage that the participants associated withexperiencing a sense of community was that of reduced socialisolation. In contrast to the social isolation they had encounteredin market-rental housing, the majority of the single-mothersreported that the Co-op community had afforded them a sense of88belonging and of togetherness. In the words of two of theparticipants:I feel less on the outside of, of everythingright. We, we have in common this place thatwe live in and the fact that we do care aboutit and care about each other.I think without a co-op situation. . .you wouldreally be you know on your own. Here you arebut you’re not really you know. There areothers. You don’t feel like you’re the onlyperson in the world who’s in this situation.A loss of privacy was the only disadvantage the participantsassociated with community—living. They tended to view this loss ofprivacy as an inevitable concomitant of living in co—operativehousing and as a trade—off which they were willing to make in orderto realize the social advantages of community life. Thesesentiments are expressed in the words of two women:Well, the drawback is you know, that it is acommunity so, well, village life you know.We’ve...(laughs), you do give up some privacy.It’s a trade-off, you know. I’m willing tomake that trade—off. You know, you do give upsome of it, I mean the other part of havingpeople being involved with people and havingsome concern and care going on is giving up acertain amount of privacy.So, there is a little bit of privacy that’slost but that’s to be expected you know whenyou do live in a co-op.. .If I’ve lost a bit ofprivacy, I’ve gained a few extra friends andI’ve got a support group or network of peoplethat I can rely on if I need to, you know. So,what little privacy I’ve lost, has not beenthat big of a deal.Many of the participants felt that they had been able minimizetheir loss of privacy by adopting certain strategies. Thesestrategies included the following: conscious reticence regarding89personal information, distinguishing between confidantes andgossip—mongers, avoidance of the Co—op’s gossip grapevine, andmaintaining a friendly detachment from other Co—op members. Theseprivacy—maintaining strategies are described in the followinginterview excerpts:I think you learn early on not to say anythingyou don’t want to have repeated. Unless Imean, there’s a designated three people that,that I know I can say anything to and that’swhere it stays.I don’t want to become part of the gossip. So,I try and just, you know, be friendly butaloof as much as possible.. .1 participate on aco—op level and as a good neighbour as much aspossible but you know, I try and maintain myprivate life outside of it as to a degree.An acceptant and child—oriented community.Many of the participants spoke of the features of toleranceand non—judgmental acceptance which informed the ethos of the Coop. They explained that the heterogeneity of the Co—op members wasinstrumental in creating a community in which human differenceswere appreciated and all types of people found both acceptance andrespect:What we learn most of all here, living withsuch a mixture of people, is probablyacceptance and tolerance, more than anythingelse.There’s such a, a mixture of people livinghere too that ah I think we have a bit morerespect than ah, you know, than when you havesegments of society that are all pretty wellthe same and really competitive. We’ve got,you know, a varied mixture of people so, it’s,I think there is more respect.90Three of the participants remarked that the Co-op’s ethos oftolerance and acceptance extended, in particular, to its low incomemembers. These women said that the nature of the Co_opts politicalideology ensured that no social stigma was directed towards itslow—income members (including those in receipt of incomeassistance). Indeed, two of these three women maintained that theCo—op tended to have a very compassionate attitude towards its low—income members and a somewhat critical—if not contemptuousattitude—towards its more affluent members. Given the Co—op’spositive attitude towards its low—income members, it is notsurprising that two of the women, who were in receipt of incomeassistance, expressed great appreciation for the degree ofacceptance which the Co-op had afforded them:If, if single—moms on welfare were all of asudden considered welfare bums and they hadspecial privileges for market renters orsomething like that. If the political slant ofthe place [the Co—op] was to changedrastically, then I guess I’d considermoving.. .1 feel comfortable. I don’t feel likestigmatized here [at the Co—op] because I’m onwelfare you know. . .1 don’t expect to be onwelfare for, forever, but I know I will below—income forever, you know. So, I wouldn’twant to be surrounded by people who had anattitude about that..here [at the Co-op] it’s okay to be onwelfare and like there’s sort of an acceptanceof that as a good lifestyle. Whereas my own, Ihave a judgement of it not being a good way togo. But, at least there’s support for that asan option which is important. So, it gave methe freedom to take a year off work and justget my stuff [emotional health] together.While the foregoing quotes attest to the benefits that low—income members derived from the Co—op’s political credo, two of the91participants noted that it had a potentially negative obverse side.They believed that, in so far as the Co—op tended to uphold a low-income lifestyle as being “politically correct”, it tended todiscourage members from seeking to change their socio—economicallydisadvantaged status in society. As one of the participants said:But there’s this kind of undertone in this Coop, it’s like.. .they’re screaming out thatpoverty is bad and that they’re treateddifferently and yet they want to be inpoverty... There’s sort of, ah, [this viewthat I the rich guys are the bad guys and thepoor guys are the good guys kind of thing.Yeah. So, there’s that and that really bothersme you know.. it’s self-defeating you know. Itkeeps that poverty consciousness alive in alot of ways and it doesn’t help people getout. . . If you think of yourself as being poorand if that’s the right, politically correctway to be, then are you going to get out? No.Then you’re just, you’re upholding some kindof image that keeps you stuck there.The participants also reported that the tolerant and caringtone which pervaded the Co—op community in general found particularexpression in the context of its resident children. For themajority of the participants, this tolerant and caring dispositiontowards children was evidenced in the various ways in which the Coop had striven to create a child—oriented residential environment.One of the participants noted for instance, that the Co-op had apolicy of recruiting members who expressed a liking for children.In this regard, five of the participants stated that they hadobserved many of the Co—op members taking a genuine interest intheir children. They noted, in particular, that there was a groupof single men who contributed much time and effort to interactingwith their children and who, in this capacity provided their92children with positive male models. The following quotes areindicative:• . . first of all the people who move into coops are very family—oriented... On the wholethat’s what I’ve noticed. Even the singlepeople that move in here are like very family-oriented.• . .there’s a lot of like good, really positivemale role models here. . .A lot of the maleshere like really help out a lot with a lot ofthe kids. There’s a lot of single guys thatlive here and ah men who are like, are thathave like teaching skills who that maybe workwith ah, ah children as a profession. So, likethey bring that into the Co-op you see.In further describing the ways in which the Co-op hadcreated a child—oriented residential environment, three of theparticipants cited the Co-op’s establishment of a special committee(the Child Care Committee) to serve the interests of the Co—opchildren. More specifically, they reported that the Child CareCommittee had organized a variety of children’s social events(e.g.”sleep—over” parties) and had implemented a number ofchildren’s programmes/services (e.g. a summer day camp). Inaddition, the Committee had developed common spaces whichfacilitated safe and interactive play (e.g. the courtyard’s playequipment and “rules” of use) and besides acted, on occasion, as amediator in resolving conflicts arising from the children’sbehaviour. Two participants said:I think the Child Care Committee is a valuablecommittee. They sort of advocate for kids asfar as getting play equipment in that’ssuitable and, and sort of seeing that money’sspent sort of, of making things better for thekids here. They also sort of have taken on tosome extent urn, urn resolving things here in93the Co—op when, when there’s been someproblem.There’s a lot done here for the kids, youknow, there’s a lot of activities. In thesummer, there’s a day—camp and at Christmastime, they have Christmas parties and there’sHalloween stuff and you know, there’s a lotfor the kids to do. Urn. There was, at onepoint, organized sleep—overs every couple ofweeks, which was great.The only dissident to the general view that the Co-op provideda comprehensive child—oriented community was voiced by one single—mother who thought that the Co-op did not offer adequaterecreational services for the teen—aged children. She said:...like at about 8:30 to 9:00, the kids aren’tallowed to play in the courtyard cause it’stoo noisy. Well, where are the older kidssupposed to go? It’s not like they have aneighbourhood they can go out in. So, in away, we’re forcing them out into aneighbourhood that isn’t a goodneighbourhood. . .1 mean, we have a Big KidsRoom here but it’s, urn, it’s for nine tofourteen. And I like the nine year olds areway too young to be hanging around with thetwelve and, you know what I mean? They’re justinto different things. . .We have a lot of stufffor little kids. . .but urn, we don’t have a lotfor the older kids. So, I think that’s a bigproblem with this Co-op.In addition to the recruitment of a child—oriented membershipand the provision of various children’s services, the participantsnoted other advantages that their children had derived as a resultof living in the Co-op community. Two of the participants reported,for instance, that by living in the Co—op community their childrenhad experienced a sense of being cared for not only by their ownfamily, but also by other Co-op members. They said:94I think they [her children] get a sense offamily, a sense of community, you know. Otherpeople care about them too. I think that they[her children] feel that they’re surrounded bypeople that one way or another care.Three of the participants maintained that the heterogeneity ofthe Co-op community had afforded their children an opportunity tobecome acquainted with a wide variety of people; they thought thatthis opportunity had helped their children to become more tolerantand knowledgeable with respect to human diversity. In the words ofone participant:And the other thing I think that’s a realbenefit is they [children] get to know a realvariety of people too which is really nice.They get to see different, different ways ofcoping in the worlds.. .It’s made them[children] more tolerant. It’s opened theireyes. It’s been like educational, you know,instead of just seeing the same thing. I thinkit’s given them a wider view of the world andmade them realize that there’s differentpeople and it’s fine to be different.Three of the participants mentioned the sense of independencethat their children had enjoyed since living in the Co-op. Theysaid that since they and their children were familiar with theother Co—op residents, they felt secure in allowing their childrento roam the Co—op’s common play areas without adult supervision:I think it’s great because there’s securityhere. My daughter can play outside right now.I can sit up here and I know she’s safe andsound. You know your neighbours. I know whoshe’s playing with.. .it gave her a bit offreedom you know .. . it gave her time alone toah develop her own social skills with otherkids without having someone there all thetime.Six of the participants reported that the Co-op had provided95their children with considerable opportunity for peer interaction.This latter feature was attributed to the Co-op’s housing of alarge population of children (i.e. approximately sixty) which, inturn, meant that their children had a readily available source ofplaymates. They further stated that the presence of on—site commonplay areas had encouraged their children to congregate and tointeract with the other Co-op children. Two of the participantsfurther commented that by sharing the common play areas thechildren had developed the social skills prerequisite for cooperative play. The following interview excerpts arerepresentative:They [her children) don’t have to leave thegrounds [of the Co-op) to find friends becausetheir friends are right here.Well, because you have the courtyard spacethat must be shared, you’re sort of forced to,ah certainly forced to know more people. But,but knowing more people, they play with morepeople. So, they have more friends.. .1 thinkthey, it was a big adjustment for them to haveto share that space, that outdoor space withpeople whether they liked them or not. Notjust kids they’d invited over, but kids thathad every right to be there. . .And learningsharing isn’t going to kill you, right. So, Ithink it’s been difficult for them, I thinkbut it’s, I think it’s been in the mainpositive.Two of the participants remarked that not only had the Co-opprovided their children with considerable opportunity for peerinteraction, but the relationships they had developed with theother Co-op children tended to be characterized by close-knit andstable bonds. They believed that such bonds had been forged becausethe Co-op children had daily contact with each other (often in the96same school) and had known each other for a period of severalyears. In the words of one participant:The kids they know, they go to school with.Well, some of them go to other schools but Imean, they, they see them every day. They havebirthdays with them. It’s not this move in,move out, transient, you know.. .they makefriends and they remain friends. And I noticedat my other place too, your kids would make afriend and three months later they’d be gone.They would have moved elsewhere, never to beseen or heard from again. So, this, it’s, youknow, a sense of continuity.Although the participants identified many advantages thattheir children had derived from living in the Co-op, they alsonoted some disadvantages. One of these disadvantages was discussedin a previous section (Personal Safety) and involved the possiblerisks that the neighbourhood’s social problems posed to thechildren’s safety and well-being. Another disadvantage mentioned bythe majority of the single-mothers was the lack of neighbourhoodservices for children. They complained that since the neighbourhoodservices tended to be oriented towards the “traditional” clienteleof the Downtown Eastside C e.g. elderly single men and “families incrisis”), they were not suited to the Co-op families. Theyemphasized, for example, that the nearest recreational services(e.g. community centre and swimming pool) were not within walkingdistance of the Co—op and this inaccessibility was magnified by thefact that few of them owned automobiles. In describing the lack ofchild/family oriented neighbourhood services, many of the womenexpressed optimism that more child/family-oriented neighbourhoodservices would be provided in the near future given the burgeoning97population of families establishing permanent residency in theDowntown Eastside. When asked what particular neighbourhoodservices they would like to see implemented, the majority of thesingle mothers cited: a local swimming pooi, ice—skating rink,community centre and/or neighbourhood house. A few of the single—mothers also perceived a need for more neighbourhood child—careservices. The following quotes are representative:I would like to see more outside the Co—op forkids you know, in the local community, but,you know, this is still, I mean the communityis in such a period of change right now. It’salways been waterfront and then Skid Row and,you know, urn, it’s only in the last few years,that there’s been families down here, youknow. So, in the next little while, you know,hopefully maybe it will change. . .It would benice to have a neighbourhood pool, you know,or a skating rink or something. Yeah. Askating—rink or swimming pool or communitycentre other than, you know, Carnegie is allright, but I don’t really think it’s, it’scentred towards kids, you know. It’s more tothe single adult, you know. The older, youknow, the older single men...Yet another disadvantage for children which was noted by twoparticipants involved the presence of a few Co—op children whopurportedly displayed “violent” behaviours. The two participantsexpressed concern that their children could be negativelyinfluenced by possibly witnessing or even worse having to defendthemselves against such “violent” behaviours. One of these womensaid:Definitely, I wouldn’t want to be here [theCo—opi on a long term basis for one very majorreason and that is there’s a lot of reallyviolent children. I have strong disagreementswith how some people leave their childrenunsupervised and there’s some boys, in98particular, that are very aggressive with theother children... There are, there’s like fiveor six or seven, seven kids maybe that I’d putin the category of behaving very strangely outof sixty odd that live here.. .But, the sort ofprevailing opinion is that, you know, they’reall going to have to learn to live with itand, and parents either seem unwilling orunable to urn constrain their kids, you know.So, I have real reservations about that beinga good environment for my son.Social relationships and social support.The participants were asked to describe their relationshipswith the other Co—op members. In particular, they were asked tocomment on whether they had developed any friendships, what (ifany) social support they had received from the other members, andthe significance of their Co—op relationships in comparison toother relationships they had with people living outside of the Coop.All of the participants reported that their relationships withother Co—op members were an important source of social contact andof social support in their lives. They pointed out that they haddeveloped some close “friendships” which had afforded themcompanionship and emotional support. In addition, they hadestablished a network of “neighbourly” relationships through whichthey shared resources, exchanged services/information, and engagedin some informal socializing. These two types of Co—oprelationships, will be discussed in turn.Seven of the single-mothers reported that they had developed“close” friendships with a few of the other Co—op members. Theyclearly distinguished these “close” friendships from their99“neighbourly” Co—op relationships and explained that the formerwere select Co—op members with whom they were much more intimatelyinvolved. The following account is typical:They’re a few people I’m really close to.Like, I’ve made some good friends...I’d saythere’s about, I’ve got about three differentunits that I’m very close with.. .1 mean, lotsof the mothers I know you know. I might go andhave tea or something with them occasionally.But, then there’s some people that I seealmost every day.The single—mothers mentioned a number of bases for their“close” friendships. Five of the single—mothers stated that theyhad developed “close” friendships with other single—mothers andmarried mothers since they shared similar parenting needs andinterests. They reported, moreover, that friendships between theirchildren had drawn them into contact with each other. The followingquotes are indicative:[I’ve befriended other Co—op mothers] Fromhaving to supervise the kids in the courtyard.When they were really small, we spent a lot oftime out there. I felt that I had to be outthere all the time they [the children] wereand ah I guess other moms felt the same waymaybe...Kids can draw you into relationshipsright. They’re good ice—breakers..there must be about seven to ten families.Anyway, we always seem to gravitate aroundeach other. And urn, we all have children youknow, about, we all have young children, likeunder thirteen or twelve. Yeah. So, that keepsus closely bonded together cause the kids allgo to the same school and you know, our needsare really similar.Six of the single—mothers maintained that some of their“close” Co—op friends were people whom they had known prior tomoving to the Co—op. Two of the six single mothers had “close”100relationships with extended family members (one woman’s sister andher family and the other woman’s son and daughter-in—law) who alsolived in the Co—op. For five of these six single—mothers, a formeracquaintanceship had provided a basis upon which they hadestablished a “close” relationship. As one single—mother reported:Well, I met her before I moved into the Co-opthrough urn, through my boyfriend. But, it wasbasically just really casual. We’d beenintroduced once or twice but it was, you know,somebody that you never really connected withor knew or you know. But, after I moved in, itwas almost immediate, our connection, and itwas good, you know.While the proximity of family members formed a basis for twosingle—mothers’ Co—op relationships, one of the single—mothersasserted that the absence of their extended family in BritishColumbia had motivated many Co-op members (including herself) toform friendships with each other. In particular, she stated thatthe absence of extended family had enabled her to developrelationships with some of the single men. She explained:I think it’s [the formation of Co-opfriendshipsj got to do with, urn, I guess it’sgot to, you know what it’s like quite often inB.C., everybody’s come from else where andtheir families are all living here and there.So. I guess it comes from not having yourfamily around.Finally, two of the single—mothers reported that they haddeveloped “close” friendships with their immediate neighbours whileyet another had befriended two homosexual couples as a result ofworking with them on various committees. The latter woman remarked:So, we just got to know each other through thegardening committee.. .And then, since then,he’s had a room—mate move in with him and so101on and so we’ve developed a friendship withthe both of them, And the other household, Igot to know him through working with him on acommittee situation and we just developed agood friendship thorough urn working togetherquite a bit and it’s just continued on fromthere...It was definitely though committeeinvolvement that drew us together.When asked about the significance of their Co-op relationshipsin comparison to other relationships they had with people livingoutside of the Co—op, the single—mothers gave varying responses.One of the single—mothers maintained that her strongest ties werewith those “close” friends who lived in the Co-op. She explainedthat she had only two “close” relationships with people who livedoutside of the Co—op and that her needs for social contact andemotional support were well met by her Co—op friends:They [“close” relationships”] all live in theCo-op. Yeah. The only other people I’m closeto outside the Co—op is one sister and onefriend that I study music with. And that’s it.There’s absolutely nobody cause there’s noneed, you know, because I find ah all my needsare met here right.Three of the single-mothers responded that, although they hadmore “close” friends who lived outside of the Co—op, theynevertheless felt that their strongest ties were with their Co-opfriends. They explained that they tended to see their Co-op friendsmore often, and on a more spontaneous basis, and that they weremore likely to approach them for emotional support. The followingquotes are representative:Well, not counting my family, my mom and mysisters, now, my closest ties are with peoplein the Co-op...And to keep in touch with them[Co—op friends] is much easier too, you know.They come to borrow a cup of sugar or can you102look after “X” [my son] while I go to thestore. So, you see, you see each other moreand it’s easier, much easier to maintain. It’sso natural right.I have a couple of close friends here [in theCo—op] that I talk to...I mean a couple ofthe, the people [Co-op friends] I’m closewith, they know me, they know, you know, mysituation I mean, you know. So, and not thatthey’d be more objective but, you know,they’re closer to, to my situations than someof my friends outside of the Co-op, you know.So, yeah, I normally would go to them [foremotional support].In contrast to the foregoing, the remaining two single—mothersreplied that their strongest ties were with friends living outsideof the Co-op. One of these single-mothers explained that she hadnot established any “close” friendships with other Co—op membersmainly because she felt they were not like—minded. She chosetherefore, to socialize with her friends outside of the Co—op andto turn to them for emotional support. The other single-mother saidthat, although she had two “close” Co-op friendships, she tended tobe more involved with her friends who lived outside of the Co-opand she was more likely to turn to them for emotional support. Thelatter woman remarked:Well, my closest friendships are definitelyoutside the Co—op but we do have some closefriends inside the Co—op that we socializewith...I have a car and I have a life outsideof the Co-op. I go to a church and I havefriends that, you know, are, are of familyfeeling from my church. And they’re longstanding friends from before I moved in hereand since I’ve moved in here. So, my liferevolves around other people [people livingoutside of the Co—op].In contrast to the lack of neighbourliness they had103experienced in market—rental housing, the participants stated that,Co-op living meant that they not only know their neighbours wellbut frequently involved them in various forms of mutual aid. Theneighbourliness that existed among Co—op members and, inparticular, their orientation towards helping each other isdescribed by two single—mothers:You know your neighbours much better. You havemuch more contact with them.. .There’s somesort of idea of shared urn resources orinformation you know that tends to get passedaround a lot more than it would probably inprivate housing..shortly after I moved in here, I sprainedmy ankle and I couldn’t walk for about threeweeks. And I had people coming by, going andbuying my groceries and really helping me outwhich never would have happened if I had beensitting in some house on some street that Ididn’t know the neighbours you know. So, inthat way, I mean, you know, if we know thatthere’s people here that need help, then oftenthey get that help.In further describing the orientation of mutual support whichexisted among Co—op members, the participants outlined theparticular forms of mutual aid that they had engaged in. The mostcommonly exchanged goods and services included food items, varioushousehold items (e.g. cork screw), children’s and adults’ clothing,children’s toys, information about community events and governmentprogrammes, and errand—running (especially on behalf of the elderlyCo—op members). The exchange of meal preparation and the practiceof eating meals together was reported by only two of the women. Theparticipants further stated that they seldom loaned or borrowedmoney and that they assisted each other with transportation only on104an occasional basis. Concerning assistance with child care, themajority of the participants stated that the single-mothers rarely“baby—sat” for each other mainly because they already felt taxed bythe demands of their own children, Many of the participants added,however, they did employ teen—age Co—op members as baby—sitters fortheir children.In delineating the particular resources and services whichthey exchanged with other members, many of the single—mothers madespecial mention of the qualities of reciprocity and equatabilitywhich characterized such exchanges:...if you feel you’ve borrowed too much, youknow its going to come back.We’ve traded off dinners you know. um. Thegirls down the hail needed a corkscrew, youknow, and then I needed a corkscrew...I hadone neighbour across the hall and we werereally close. We’d borrow and lend money andthat was you know that was fine.I never ask people [for car rides]...Becauseit would be like a one way street. It would belike you asking them for stuff all the timeand them not having as many needs as, as you.Although much of the mutual aid took places on an informalbasis between individual members, some of it was orchestrated moreformally by the Co-op’s membership. The participants reported, forinstance, that the Co—op had implemented a “Free—box” system inorder to facilitate the exchange of clothing among its members. Oneof the single—mothers described the “Free—box” as:...that’s a traditional system in a lot of coops I think is to have a Free-box. And it’sjust a, an area, usually in the laundry—room,cause that’s kind of a central spot that youdeposit things that you no longer want and105someone else can rummage through it and takewhat they want.The participants also mentioned that the Co—op’s provision ofcentral notice boards in the lobby of each Co-op building hadencouraged members to exchange information, goods, and services. Inthe words of one single—mother:From time to time, I’ve seen you know,somebody stick-up coupons on the, the bulletinboard for something that they couldn’t useand, and notices go up for different what haveyou, different causes and different activitiesand different items for sale. It’s, it isexactly what it is and it’s a centralinformation board. It’s a form of networking.Yet another instance of a Co—op orchestrated exchange of goodsamong members was the flea market which was held for the first timein 1991 but which the participants anticipated would be held as anannual event in future years.The network of “close” friends and “neighbourly” relationshipsthat the participants had developed in the Co-op was viewed asbeing mainly beneficial to the participants’ lives. Certainly, allof the single-mothers were highly appreciative of the high level ofsocial support that they perceived themselves as receiving fromthis Co—op network. Indeed, the single—mothers were unanimous instating that the receipt of social support was a major advantage(if not the main advantage) that the Co-op offered single-mothers.The following quotes are indicative:• . .and that is probably one of the mostimportant things that I’ve benefitted, is theah the support, okay, they support, theemotional support that I have received fromother Co—op members, you know, who arebasically going through a very similar thing106than, you know, than I was going through. . .andah, before I moved in here, um, that’s what Ilacked the most in my life I think, you know.There was just nobody there for me.I think it’s excellent, you know. I think aco—op situation for a single—parent is idealanyway you know. I’ve got several friends inother co—ops you know and there is a readybuilt neighbourhood for you. . ,because there isthe support that, you know, that you’re notgoing to get from any other housing, youknow.. .It’s not just housing. No, it’s asocial structure. Itss ah, you know, you’regetting friends. You’re getting support, youknow.One of the single-mothers further remarked that what sheappreciated, in particular, was the security she derived frombelonging to a social network in which she could count on othersfor help should the need arise. For this woman, having such asupportive network not only provided her with a sense of beingvalued but it also helped to alleviate much of the stress she hadpreviously experienced as a result of shouldering her parentingresponsibilities by herself. She said:It [the receipt of social support) makes youfeel like sort of valued and, and like it’snot all on my shoulders. Like I know I,there’s sort of a real willingness to help ifI’m really stuck.. .1 used to worry whathappens if I plug in the vacuum cleaner and Ielectrocute myself. What will happen to thekids right. . .but when I came in here, I alwayshad people like buzzing or knocking or callingout from the courtyard or something. I wasn’t,it broke the isolation right. So, I felt likeI’m not the only person in the world that’shere for these kids. There’s other people aswell.In addition, another three of the single-mothers reported thatthe Co—op’s social support network helped them to compensate for107the “sense of family” and the social support they did not receivefrom their natural families as a result of their families’ physicalabsence or psychological dysfunction:And a lot of us don’t have our families hereso it’s really important to have other peoplearound in your kids’ lives so you’re notisolated. I think they [children] get a senseof family...You know, the sad thing is that I’ve gottenmore help from my Co—op members when I was indistress than I did from my family because. . .1come from a very dysfunctional family where,and I think this is very common, where yourfamily can’t help you because they’re not welland not in a programme and so they’re stillstruggling. Struggling, you know, with theirfamily so, they can’t be there for you.While social support was a major advantage that the single—mothers derived from their network of Co—op relationships, theyalso perceived a number of drawbacks to their involvement in thisnetwork. Some of these drawbacks were discussed in previoussections and included loss of privacy and pressure to conform tothe Co-op’s political ideology. Another drawback was mentioned byone of the single—mothers who experienced considerable“frustration” and “tension” as a result of feeling obliged toparticipate in involuntary relationships with the other single—parents who lived in the Co—op. She said that, as a result ofliving in the Co—op, she was required to interact with single—parents whom she would otherwise prefer not to associate with. Shesaid:The single—parents are entangled through theirchildren you know. I mean, they are single—parents in here that I wouldn’t communicatewith, I wouldn’t have anything to do with but108I have to. Yeah. And I think in some ways,that there’s a frustration that goes withthat, you know.. .So, it, I think it causes acertain amount of tension. . .Yeah. You’re kindof forced to. Yeah, you are, you’re forced tolive together.Similar views were expressed by another three participants whostated that their Co-op residency required them to live with somepeople with whom they were not amicable. For these women, however,these involuntary relationships did not appear to be a source ofdistress. Rather, tacit in their comments was an acceptance ofhuman differences and of the flexibility required for dealing withsuch human differences. The following quote is indicative:I mean there’s people that your ideas mayclash or you just don’t totally agree withthem or you know, you can’t likeeveryone.. .And the people I don’t reallyappreciate or I don’t get along with you know,I still extend, acknowledge them, still extendmyself, say hello, you know and ah leave mypersonal opinions to myself.Opportunities For Personal DevelopmentAll of the single-mothers reported that they had undergonesignificant personal development as a result of living in the FourSisters Co—op. They spoke, in particular, of sensing a new impetustoward self-actualization, an impetus which, hitherto, had beenstifled by their day—to-day struggles in meeting basic shelterneeds in market-rental housing. They spoke further of theempowering influence which participation in the Four Sisters Coop’s management had infused into their lives manifesting itself inan increased sense of confidence, responsibility, and of self—109esteem. They mentioned the wide repertoire of skills which they haddeveloped as an outcome of their participation in the Four SistersCo-op community. And finally, they spoke of the marked sense oftheir politicization. All of the foregoing observations will bedefinitively examined in the sections which follow.A new impetus toward self—actualization.Seven of the participants spoke of sensing a new impetustoward self—actualization as an outcome of living in the Co—op.Self—actualization as defined by the Collins Dictionary (1979) is“the process of establishing oneself as a whole person, able todevelop one’s abilities and to understand oneself” (p. 1322) and,in this sense, the definition was manifested in their strongcommitment to and proactive stance toward bringing about positivechanges in their lives. This commitment and proactivity weretypically indicated by their participation in such activities aspsychotherapy/support groups and in their active pursuit of chosencareers which frequently involved the upgrading of their educationand/or participation in vocational programmes. The participantsstated that prior to living in the Co-op, they had been unable toengage in such personal development projects because their energiesand resources had been almost entirely consumed by their day—to—daystruggles in meeting basic shelter needs in market—rental housing.In this regard, the participants’ statements provide a testimonialto Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (cited in Schultz, 1981, pp.244-250) which posited that a person’s basic needs (physiological110needs, needs for safety, and needs for belonging and love) must besatisfied before s/he is able to address his/her needs for personalgrowth. From the participants perspective, the Co—op’s provision ofsecure, affordable housing as well as a supportive community helpedthem to meet their basic needs and in doing so, allowed them anopportunity to address their needs for personal growth. Thefollowing quotes are representative of the participant’s views:• .it’s been clearly evidenced in the timethat we’ve been living here to see people, youknow, what appears to me to have improved...their quality of life.. .And that’s got a lotto do with the affordability, you know, that,that the housing charges are equivalent to theshelter payment that they receive so that theydon’t have to worry about that aspect of theirlife. And it’s really clean, decent living andit’s decent neighbours and no landlords and,and so you haven’t got a lot of extra stresseson you to start with and so people feel betterand they feel safer and start to feel a littlebit more friendly and less threatened and sothen they learn to relax and then they canstart to think about getting their livestogether cause they’re more relaxed andthey’re feeling in a more positive frame ofmind. So I think it’s a good place for single—moms.So this, this [living in the Co-op] has givenme the opportunity to do so much. To get backinto my music [pianist career], you know, togo into the healing [participation inpsychotherapy], to deal with a lot of familyissues that, you know, that have been theresort of all of my life...and now because Ihave the security here, I can do all of thesethings that I couldn’t do before because I wasalways at that survival level, you know. Likeif you’re forever being evicted, finding a newplace, moving, you know, then you can’t workon personal growth.While a new impetus toward self—actualization was thought tohave been engendered by the Co—op’s provision of a secure homeillbase, four of the participants identified additional features oftheir co—operative housing experience which had further encouragedtheir self—actualization process. Two women mentioned, forinstance, that they had been inspired by the example of other Co-opmembers who were engaged in activities which promoted theirpersonal development and realization of potential:And, and then you see people around you doingstuff like that right. So and so going toschool and so and so taking a course to be aprinter and somebody else getting a job theyreally like and still managing financially andstuff.I’m getting more inspiration, not from theother single-moms. . .but from the people thatare at school and are kind of using this [theCo-op] as a way to do that. I’m more inspiredby that than anything else I think.Another two women opined that participation in the Co-op’sdemocratic management system had helped to stimulate the self-actualization process of all Co—op members since it provided themwith opportunities to lead more active and extroverted lifestyles.They remarked that participation in the Co-op’s management wasespecially important for single—mothers who were not employedoutside of the home, given their propensity to lead a morecircumscribed and socially isolated lifestyle. In the words of thetwo women:And also, the committee aspect, the, therequired maintenance and the, the you know,the hopefully required participation incommittees and so on is good cause you can usethat to build yourself up. That’s a step tobecoming involved again and working towardsbecoming, you know, an employable type ofperson if that’s, you know, how you can seeyourself getting back to. Yeah. Yeah. You know112and, and there’s that kind of nudgingmotivation to, you know, draw you out ofyourself and out of your home. So, those aregood things.And I mean one thing kids, smaller kids do,when they’re really small, they narrow, youknow, they really narrow your world. Andliving here [at the Co—op] has just kind ofbroadened things out again is what’s it’s donewhich I think is really necessary. . .becauseyou forget there’s a world there. So, I feellike doors have been opened for me. I feelmore able to, to get involved in different,different things, volunteering my time, youknow. I feel like I have this opportunity now.Finally, two women thought that the self—actualization processof Co—op members had been encouraged by the sense of personal powerwhich the Co-op had infused into their lives and which manifesteditself in an enhanced sense of responsibility, achievement,confidence, and of self—esteem. The women attributed thedevelopment of this sense of personal power to the Co—op’sdemocratic management system and, in particular, to theopportunities it afforded members to exercise some control overtheir dwelling’s management. They reported that as an outcome oftaking responsibility for and exercising some managerial controlover their habitation, Co—op members had developed an increasedsense of personal responsibility and confidence in their ability toexercise control over their general life circumstances. As one ofthe women stated:• . .if you feel in control of your housing, youfeel like maybe you can get control of otherthings too. . .You know, it, it’s [control overhousing] the start of control over somethingthat really affects you that, that sort ofopens it up for you. Oh, And I can take chargeof this aspect of my life too or and that and113that , you know, it just spurs you on is whatit does.While an enhanced sense of personal power was thought to becentral to the self—actualization process of all Co—op members, thetwo women thought that the Co—op’s empowering influence wasespecially important for those particular members who wereeconomically or otherwise disadvantaged. As an illustration of thispoint, one woman noted the particular case of Co—op members whowere recipients of income assistance; she maintained that the Coop’s empowering influence helped them to counter the sense ofpowerlessness they often experienced in the face of the highlyregulating and controlling bureaucracy of the government’s incomeassistance system. The women’s views are expressed in the quotesbelow:...in this Co-op certainly, [many] people movein from a less—than situation and .. . But theyhave never been, I suspect, been given theopportunity to take any real responsibilityfor their lives and so living in the Co-op,they’re asked to, you know, participate andmake decisions and work with other people andtake responsibility for their life and otherpeople’s lives. And I think that’s a growingsituation where, you know, you’re expected tobe responsible rather living in, you know,expensive housing that you can’t afford andyou’re scraping by and so you’re feeling, ohpoor me. Yeah and the landlord’s going to lookafter it and ah I have no control. Well.people have control here. And we try and makepeople realize that they have control. Thatsomebody else isn’t controlling their lives.They’re controlling their lives.Because I mean when you’re living somewherewhere your really your, your money is comingfrom Social Services so you’re really quiteunder their control, you know. This, you get Xamount of dollars so you’re very limited in114what you can do. Even to what groceries youcan buy, you know, what clothing you can buy.So, that’s kind of limiting.. .And I think thataffects your outlook. If you feel thatpowerless, then it’s like oh, what can I evertake charge of. And so, when you do findsuddenly you’re in control of your housing andyou can make decisions. . .it does, it gives youa feeling like if I can take charge of this, Ican take charge of other things. I can do thatif I want to. I can do this. It gives you, ah,just that confidence to make things happen inyour own life and a lot of us have. A lot ofus have made real, major changes in our ownlives. Sure, once you get a little taste offeeling empowered, well, whose to know whereit will stop, you know.In further speaking about the various ways in which the Co-ophad promoted the self—actualization process of its members, two ofthe women emphasized that this empowering influence was unique toco—operative housing. As one woman said:And I’m very angry that the government won’tkeep up its commitments to co-op housing. Itreleases so few dollars to it. And I can’tunderstand why, you know. They’ll put up moremoney for social housing than they will forco—op housing but co—op housing encouragespeople to get their life back into order andget back into the workforce whereas socialhousing doesn’t have that same encouragingfactor because it hasn’t got the urn, it hasn’tgot that system of, of being responsible foryour lives and to your neighbours and so on.Only two participants identified a feature of their cooperative housing experience which had discouraged their self—actualization process. This feature was previously discussed underanother section and involved the Co—op’s political credo; these twothought that in so far as the Co-op tended to uphold a low-incomelifestyle as being “politically correct”, it tended to inhibitmembers from striving to change their socio—economically115disadvantaged status in society.Skill acquisition.All of the single—mothers reported that they had developed awide repertoire of skills as an outcome of living in the Co-op.These skills have been classified into the following threecategories:1. Manual And Occupational Skills:Four of the single—mothers reported that they had developedskills of a manual and/or occupational nature. These skillsincluded physical building maintenance, gardening, interior design,and computer operation. The women said that (with the exception ofcomputer operation> the foregoing skills were developed as resultof their participation in the Co—op’s various committees and wereoften taught to them by other Committee members more knowledgable.The one exception (computer operation skills) had been developed asa result of the woman having the use of the Co—op Office’s computerwhich was equipped with a self-teaching soft-ware package. Thefollowing interview excerpts are indicative:[I learned] it’s a big undertaking this youknow, the three buildings, there’s a lotinvolved in keeping them clean and ah safe.. .1learned how to turn on a big, you know, bigresidential hot—water heater. That’s somethingI didn’t know before.I’ve learned a lot about gardening though(laughs). Because I didn’t know anythingabout gardening but, you know, and I’d neverdone any gardening. I’d had an interest init. So, that’s probably one of the morebeneficial things. And also, the interiordecorating.1162. Administrative Skills:Seven of the participants claimed that they had developedvarious administrative skills as a result of their participationin the management structure of the Co—op (the Board Of Directorsand the committees). These skills included those pertaining todecision—making, policy formation, financial management, andmeeting facilitation. These skills are described in the quotesbelow:[I learnedi tough and responsible decisionmaking.I learned quite a lot. Reading statements andmortgages and ah any number of things Ireally didn’t know anything about before. So,it was really educational.. .Well, I gained ahRobert’s Rules of Order. Robert’s Rules OfOrder? You know, the rules, the meetingrules, the seconding and the and I learnedhow to take minutes and I learned how tochair a meeting. And ah yeah, I think Ipicked up quite a few skills, you know. LikeI don’t mind putting the time in because Ifeel I’ve benefitted. I’ve picked up a fairamount.I know how I like a meeting to go, you know.and I know that some people are really goodat chairing a meeting so there is a realconsensus from a group whereas other peoplecan really, ah, a meeting can run smoothlybut people don’t have input.3. Social Skills:Seven of the single-mothers stated that they had developedmore sophisticated social skills as a concomitant of living in cooperative housing. These skills included those pertaining tosocial outreach, social responsibility, tolerance, co—operation,sharing, and respect for others. The women said that they had117developed the foregoing social skills through both teamwork andday-to—day neighbourly exchanges with the other Co-op members. Thefollowing quote is typical:I’m more willing to share than I was threeyears ago, you know.. .I’m more outgoing toother people, not just from the Co-op but,you know, in the outside world. . . Just beingput in the situation where, you know, you ah,you’re all sharing the same space anyway soyou may as well do it, you know. Ah. Whereasbefore, I was sort of anonymous, you know,you get on the bus and you don’t acknowledgeanyone, you know. Whereas now, you know,[I’ve learned] you can acknowledge peoplewithout actually knowing their life history,you know. So I’m more open that way.Many of the women noted particular benefits which they hadderived from developing the aforementioned skills. Two womenmentioned, for instance, that they had developed greater self—confidence:I think it gave me more confidence in being aperson who can sit on a Board and make thosekinds of decisions. It’s given me a lot moreconfidence, you know. Even just gettingestimates for the equipment and, that we’vebought. It’s given me more confidence. Iguess just acting on, like behalf of the Coop ah. Yeah. I feel a lot better able to oh,it’s given me a lot of confidence, you know.Two other women said that their participation in the Co-op’smanagement structure had afforded them an opportunity to challengecertain aspects of their personality traits. One woman said thatthe teamwork required by committee participation had challengedher usual propensity to work independently of others. The secondwoman said that the experience of sitting on the Board hadpresented her with the challenge of maintaining her objectivity118and setting limits for herself. In the words of the two women:I’ve always been an independent um I’ve notliked working in large, group settings and soon. I don’t like taking orders from people.I’ve never liked being an employee where, youknow, you were told what to do and you wereexpected to do it and you got very littlefeedback for doing it. I’ve never enjoyedthat working situation. And I much preferredworking independently which I did. So, I’velearned to work with people on a committeebasis.Like I found sitting on the Board that wasah, that took a big toll urn because I have adifficulty, that’s my own thing, divorcing myfeelings from sort of intellectual stuff anda after about a year, I sort of phew I can’thack another Board meeting right. . .Butthere’s an opportunity also to learn how tonot be like that. There’s enough committeemeetings around if you’re feeling like oh, Ineed to work on this you can, you can do it.You can work on it right. So, it’s anopportunity to make changes for yourself too.Yet another two women stated that their participation in thecommittees had allowed them to discover fields in which they hadsome interest and aptitude. One woman said that having theopportunity to decorate the Co—op’s common rooms had allowed herto realize a long—standing interest and aptitude in interiordesign. The second woman said that having the use of the Co-opOffice’s computer had inspired her interest in computers—aninterest which she planned to pursue by taking training in therepair of computer hardware. The two women said:And also the interior decorating. I’d neverdone interior decorating. I was capable ofdoing it. I had interest in it but I neveractually had an opportunity to, to do anyreal, you know spending money and doing it.So, that was a good, a good benefit. . .And thefeedback has been very good for what I’ve119done. It’s worked out to everyone’sadvantage.I did make use of the computer. That’s whatgot me interested in it [computers]actually.. .Really, you know, I had a certainfear of them [computers]. There’s tutorialson the Office computer and I just kind of gotover my fear of it [computers]. When I goback for retraining this is what I’d like toget, some computer retraining.. .So, then I’vetaken V.V.I., ah, the technicians’ course iswhat I’d like to do, you know, the repair.I’dlike to do, you know, the repair.Politicization.Five of the participants reported that they had beenpoliticized by the experience of living in the Co-op. Morespecifically, the women spoke of having developed greater“political awareness”, more impassioned political views, and anenhanced sense of political power. These viewpoints are reflectedin the following interview excerpts:And I guess what living here, here has donefor me too is made me urn more politicallyaware. I’m much more politically aware. Well,I mean landlords exploiting and poverty as anindustry and that kind of thing. The realsort of need we have for, for change—socialchange and things that are, are given ashand-outs and take this and shut-up and begrateful you, you lazy person. They’rerights, you know. I’ve come to think no, theyare a right.I think living here [in the Co—op, I’verealized more how much political power thateach of us has...I wasn’t as aware of it[before] because I, I was sort of aware of itbut I hadn’t experienced it, that’s all...Yeah and I think it’s a pretty empoweringexperience when you go and realize you thatyou have an effect. It’s a lot different thanknowing that you could have an effect.120The participants attributed their politicization to variousaspects of their co—operative housing experience. Two of thesingle-mothers thought that they had been become more “politicallyaware” as a result of living in the secure, affordable, and“decent” housing provided by the Co—op. One single—mother saidthat the security of housing and the supportive community hadacted as catalysts in raising her consciousness about what housingcould be like and caused her, in turn, to question why such securehousing was not available on a more universal basis. The secondwoman stated that her experience of the Co—op’s favourable housingconditions in conrtast to the adverse housing conditionsexperienced by some of her friends living in market—rental housinghad deepened her awareness of social inequalities. The two womensaid:I don’t think I really imagined, I mean I’veread utopias and stuff and okay this is notutopia but I don’t think I ever imagined urnwhat a relief it would be to have securehousing. I couldn’t picture it until Iexperienced it. I didn’t know what it feltlike. What a weight it was off my shouldersand stuff. And, and I know it was missing butI didn’t know quite what it was, that senseof community which I’d never had, youknow...and if you’ve never had it, you can’timagine until you experience it either. So,part of what this does is, is ah, ahbroadens people’s urn view of things can be. Imean if they can do this for us, why isn’t ithappening in more places and what can we doto make it happen.Well, after I’d lived here for a while andsort of taken charge, it was, it was going tosee some friends who were still living inthese horrid basement suites and that and Ithought this, this is not right, you know.121Two of the participants stated that they had been influencedby the cross-fertilizing of ideas which they had gained from otherCo—op members who were active in various political organizations.They explained that the Four Sisters Co—op tended to attract alarge number of such politically-minded members given itsaffiliation with the Downtown Eastside Residents’ Association(D.E.R.A.) which acted as a powerful conduit in the transmissionof political ideas. In the words of one participant:I hated politics before I moved to Vancouverbut now I find I have no choice.. .because I’mright in the middle of it now. So, we’regetting all this information and, you knowwith people being so politically active hereand being so aware, if you’re sitting therelistening you have no choice but to, tolearn, you know, because you’re going to heara lot of this.Another participant attributed her politicization to hergrowing identification with the Downtown Eastside (D.E.)community. She said that as a consequence of living in the “D.E.”,she had become increasingly concerned about the plight of the manydisadvantaged people who lived in the “D.E.” and this hadeventuated in her developing more impassioned political views:But urn because we’re sort of down here [theD.E.j, I’m more adamant about how I feelabout certain things, you know, aboutpolitical decisions, about government, youknow. I’ve always had an opinion, but nowit’s stronger.. .I’m more emotional of how Ifeel ah, you know. And I, yeah, maybe itsbecause there are a lot of little guys downhere.One woman claimed that she been politicized by the experiencewhich arose from her lobbying of the municipal government on122behalf of D.E.R.A.. She said her participation in lobbying themunicipal government had given her a sense of political powersince it had allowed her an actual experience of exercising someinfluence over public affairs. She said:One time Jim Green [Director of D.E.R.A.J gota whole bunch of single—parents together andwe went up to City Hall and spoke on behalfof housing in this area [ D.E.]...So, thatwas kind of a powerful experience in justrealizing that we could go out into thecommunity and make a difference.123CHAPTER FOURCONCLUS IONSContribution To The LiteratureThis study offers a two—fold contribution to the socialsciences literature. Firstly, it serves to confirm existingempirical knowledge concerning the co—operative housing experienceof Canadian women. Secondly, it provides some new insights into theco—operative housing experience of a particular group of Canadianwomen, namely single—mothers. These two contributions will bediscussed in turn.In general, the findings of this study corroborate theconclusions of previous studies which have examined the cooperative housing experience of Canadian women. Certainly, thefindings of this study substantiate the conclusions reached byFarge (1986), Gerritsma (1984), and Wekerle (1988) concerning theopportunity for skill development which is afforded to women whoparticipate in the management of their housing co-operatives; thesingle-mothers reported that as a result of their participation inthe management of the Four Sisters Co—op, they had developed manualand occupational skills, administrative skills, and social skills.The findings of this study also support other major conclusionsreported by Wekerle (1988). As was noted in the literature review,Wekerle found that women evince a high degree of satisfaction withtheir housing co—operatives and that the security of tenure,control over housing, sense of community, and social support were124the most important reasons explaining their satisfaction. Echoingthese findings, this study found that the single—mothers spokeabout the Four Sisters Co-op in overridingly positive terms andthat the security of tenure, control over housing, sense ofcommunity, and social support were among the features most valuedby them. Further echoing the findings of Wekerle, this studydiscovered that the only disadvantages mentioned by the single-mothers involved certain aspects of community—living ( e.g. loss ofprivacy) and of the neighbourhood (e.g. children’s safetyconcerns).In addition to confirming the findings of previous research,this study offers some original contributions to the socialsciences literature. Whereas other studies (Farge, 1987;Gerristsma, 1984; Wekerle, 1988) have examined the co—operativehousing of women in general, this study maintains a specific focuson single—mothers. Unlike the aforementioned studies, moreover,this study is qualitative in design and, hence, it providesinformation which quintessentially expresses the voices of single—mothers as primary housing consumers. This study also offers somenew insights since it elaborates upon certain features of cooperative housing which appear to have received only limitedattention in previous studies. This study emphasizes, for instancethe sense of refuge that single—mothers experience in the FourSisters Co—op. Such an emphasis helps to illuminate the fact thatthe appreciation of co—operative housing by single—mothers receivesits context from the comparison of their previous experience with125market—rental housing and public housing projects and from theiranticipation of what it would mean to return to their formeradverse forms of habitation. In addition to the refuge theme, thisstudy elucidates more fully the personal development potential ofco—operative housing. Previous studies have documented theopportunities for skill development and for exercising controlwhich are afforded by the democratic management model of co—ophousing but this study further delineates the new impetus towardself—actualization and the politicization which the single-mothersexperience as an outcome of living in the Four Sisters Co—op. Thisstudy reveals, furthermore, that the empowering influence of cooperative housing is attributable not just to the democraticmanagement model, but also to many other features of co—operativehousing. Finally, this study points out that, to a significantdegree, the personal development potential of co—operative housingrepresents an opportunity which is incumbent upon single—mothers touse. In other words, the single—mothers were able to achievepersonal development only because they proactively took advantageof the opportunities afforded to them by the Four Sisters Co-op. Inthis sense, this study is a testimony to the courage and impressivepersonal strengths of the single—mothers who as a result of makingconstructive use of their Co—op given opportunities, were able toeffect positive changes in their lives.Limitations Of The Study And Future ResearchThe major limitations of this study suggest four priorities126for any future research into the suitability of co—operativehousing for single—mothers. The first priority centres on the needto examine other co—operative housing settings As was noted inChapter Two, the findings of this case study have relevance onlyfor those housing co—operatives which are similar to the FourSisters Co—op. Thus, there remains a need to examine other cooperative housing settings which are distinct from the Four SistersCo—op especially with respect to its inner-city location, itsaffiliation with a “politically aware” organization, namelyD.E.R.A., its socio—economic mix of residents, and its operationunder the 1978 Federal Co—operative Housing Program. Moredefinitive conclusions regarding co—operative housing, in general,could be made if, in future studies, the scale were to be expandedto include more than one case study. From the viewpoint ofquantitative research, the greatest potential for securingconfidence in the area of generalization would be achieved byfuture researchers if they employed a randomly—selected samplerather than the purposively—selected case study as represented inthis study.The second priority concerns the need for comparative studies.Since the research was confined to one case study, it did notilluminate the advantages and disadvantages which accrue to theFour Sisters Housing Co-operative relative to other types ofhousing co—operatives or other types of housing developments. Forexample, the advantages and disadvantages of living in a mixed coop community as opposed to a homogeneous co—op community could have127been more clearly identified had the Four Sisters Co—op beencompared to the Sitka Co—op which houses only women. Further, therelative advantages and disadvantages of co—operative ownershipwould have been more clearly elucidated if the Four Sisters Co—ophad been compared to, for example, Entre Nous Femmes—a housingdevelopment for single—parents in which residents have tenantstatus, These and other comparative studies should be the focus offuture research.The third priority concerns the need to examine the cooperative housing experiences of various groups of female lone—parents. As was mentioned in Chapter Two, the findings of thisstudy have relevancy for a particular group of female lone—parents—those who are Caucasian, of Western European heritage, in theirmid—thirties, and have a low—income status. Given the particularityof the research findings, there is a need to examine the cooperative housing experiences of groups of female lone—parents notrepresented in this study. The need to distinguish among groups offemale lone—parents is consistent with the assertions of Klodowskyand her colleagues (Klodowsky, Spector, & Hendrix, 1983; Klodowsky,Spector, & Hendrix, 1984; Klodowsky, Spector, & Rose, 1985) whopurport that demographic differences among female lone—parents havesignificant implications for their housing needs and preferences.Based on their extensive research, Klodowsky et al. have determinedthat gender, income level, and marital status are the most criticaldemographic characteristics which differentiate among single—parents and they have identified four major groups of female lone—128parents which include: (1) young, never—married female lone—parents(2) separated female lone—parents (3) married female lone—parentsand (4) widowed female lone—parents. In addition to considering thefour groups identified by Klodowksy et al., future research shouldalso study a variety of cultural groups. Since the value placed onprivacy and community differs among cultural groups, the particularcultural group to which a female lone—parent belongs couldinfluence her satisfaction with the communal environmentexperienced in co—operative housing.The fourth priority concerns the need for further researchinto selected aspects of the experiences of single—mothers livingin co—operative housing. This study was comprehensive in its focussince it examined many aspects of the participants’ livingexperiences in the Four Sisters Housing Co—operative. To somedegree, however, this comprehensive focus limited the extent towhich any one of these aspects could be studied in-depth. Thereremains, therefore, a need to supplement this research with otherstudies which focus specifically on the salient aspects of single-mothers’ co—operative housing experiences. Based on the themeswhich emerged in this study, some of these salient aspects wouldappear to include the supportive communities which develop in theco—operative housing settings as well as the opportunities forpersonal development which are offered through the democraticmanagement model.The fifth priority involves the need to examine the consumerpreferences for co—operative housing of single—mothers who are not129already resident in this type of housing. By virtue of being co-opresidents, it can be assumed that the participants in this studyrepresented a group of single—mothers who were positively disposedtowards living in co—operative housing. But as many of theparticipants remarked, co—operative housing is not suitable foreveryone. Indeed, they stated that residency in co—op housingrequires participation in management and a level of sociabilitywhich not everyone is willing and/or able to do. Future researchshould, therefore, assess the extent to which co—operative housingwould appeal to those single—mothers who have never lived in cooperative housing.While the foregoing reconunendations for future researchpertain specifically to the topic of co—operative housing, it isimportant to point out that the housing problems of single-mothersand the social inequality that underlies them point to a need fora broad research and social policy agenda. Such an agenda shouldconsider not only housing needs but also the associated needs forimproved educational and employment opportunities, acceptable andaffordable child—care services, and reformed income assistancepolicies which recognize the value of women’s unpaid labour in thehome.Implications For Social Work PracticeThe social work profession has an enduring tradition ofconcern for the well—being of the individual and for theenvironmental factors which affect that individual. Indeed, it has130been noted that “If the purpose of social work is to matchindividual and environmental needs and resources through thefunction of mediation, the focus of social work is on the person—environment transaction” (Anderson, 1981, p. 13). Certainly,housing constitutes an environmental factor which exerts asignificant influence over a person’s well—being. In an elementalsense, shelter is a basic human need, the fulfilment of which isnecessary for health and human development. But housing is morethan shelter. It is a basic underpinning of our lives affectingsuch diverse aspects of our lifestyle as convenient access toemployment and community services, the ability to perform domesticwork, social relationships both within the home and the community,the capacity to care for children, and personal safety/security(Novac, 1990, p. 53). It is the profound and pervasive impact thathousing can have over an individual’s well—being, that warrants theattention of social workers to the housing needs of clients andwhich provides a mandate for social workers to intervene in linkingclients with housing forms which accommodate their needs.The mandate of social workers to consider the housing needs ofclients is even more clear in the case of single—mothers. As theliterature review in Chapter One illustrated, the “shelter—plusissue” (Leavitt, 1984, p. 19) looms large for single—mothers andamplifies the need for housing forms which incorporate socialservices. The provision of social services has always been acentral function of social work and, hence, the provision ofservice—endowed housing forms for single—mothers stays well within131the traditional mandate of social work.There are a variety of roles which social workers could assumein order to achieve their mandate of linking single—mothers withsuitable housing forms. Social workers could, for instance, helpsingle-mothers to obtain suitable housing by providing them withinformation about and referral to housing programmes which wouldaccommodate their special needs. Social workers could also beinstrumental in designing housing programmes which would addressthe particular needs of single—mothers. In designing service—endowed housing forms for single—mothers, for example, socialworkers could offer invaluable input to the planning team. Inaddition, social workers could help single—mothers to organize andprepare for participatory roles in the design process. Such aparticipatory design process has been used by several mericanorganizations (such as the Women’s Development Corporation) who areinvolved in developing housing for women (Breitbart, 1990; Sprague,1991). The consumer information generated by these participatorydesign processes has been used to select appropriate neighbourhoodlocations and to create prototypical housing designs for single-mothers (Breitbart, 1990, p. 19). Social workers could also assumean advocacy role; they could lobby both non-profit organizationsand various levels of government concerning the urgent and pressingneed to develop suitable housing for single—mothers. In particular,they could lobby the government for financial support and forpublic policies which would promote the further development ofhousing programmes for single—mothers. Finally, social workers132could play an important role in facilitating networking and cooperation among the various organizations and individuals who areconcerned with addressing the housing needs of single—mothers.Social workers could encourage communication and sharing amongvarious agencies by organizing regular conferences on women’shousing issues and/or by instituting an organization which woulddisseminate resource information.In assuming the foregoing roles, the attention of socialworkers to the housing needs of single—mothers would require themto have knowledge concerning the housing forms which promote thesocial functioning of single-mothers. It is with respect to theneed for such knowledge that the findings of this study are ofrelevance to social workers; the study provides some insights intoa de facto co—operative housing venture which provides empiricalevidence of its success in providing a refuge for single—mothers.The specific features of this success are, in addition, rendered indiscrete form and as such, can be incorporated constructively inthe shaping of future housing developments which focus on the needsof single-mothers.It is a particular constellation of features whichcharacterizes the Four Sisters Housing Co—operative and whichenables it to provide single—mothers with more than a mere roofover their heads. Under its roof is a social structure which thetestimonies of the single—mothers indicate can empower them toeffect positive changes in their lives. As agents of change, socialworkers will be interested in the dynamics of such empowerment133which appear to have shown so much potential in promoting the wellbeing of the single—mothers living in the refuge of the FourSisters Housing Co—operative.134BIBLIOGRAPHYAhrentzen, S. (1989). Overview of housing for single—parenthouseholds. In K. A. Franck & S. Ahrentzen (Eds.), Newhouseholds new housing (pp. 143-160). New York: VanNostrand Reinhold.Anderson, J. (1981). Social work methods and processes. Belmont,California: Wadworth.Anderson, K., & Jack, D. D. (1991). Learning to listen: Interviewtechniques and analyses. In S. B. Gluck & ID. Patai (Eds.),Women’s words women’s words women’s words: The feministpractice of oral history (pp. 11—25). New York: Routledge.Andrews, H. F., & Breslauer, H. J. (1976). User satisfaction andparticipation: Preliminary findings from a case study of cooperative housing. Toronto: Erindale College and the Centrefor Urban and Community Studies, The University of Toronto.Breitbart, M. M. (1990). Quality housing for women and children.Canadian Woman Studies, 11 (2), 19-24.Burke, M. A. (1990a, Spring). Co-operative housing. A third tenureform. Canadian Social Trends, 16, 11—14.Burke, M. A. (l990b, Autumn). People in co—operative housing.Canadian Social Trends, 18, 27—31.Cameron, S. 0. (1988, April). Sharing the home turf. AtlanticInsight, 10 (4), 39—40.Collins dictionary of the English language. (1989). London: WilliamCollins Sons.Collins, W. (Ed.). (1990, Fall). A place called home: Housing inCanada. Royal Bank Reporter.Cook, C. C. (1989). Passage community: Second—stage housing forsingle—parents. In K. A. Franck & S. Ahrentzen (Eds.), Newhouseholds new housing (pp. 208-222). New York: Van NostrandReinhold.Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada (1990, March).Communique. Ottawa: Author.Duskin, E. (1990). Overview. In Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (Ed.), Lone—parent families (pp. 9-26). Paris: Editor.ixj‘rJCDHHHHHDiDiFl0FlFlDiDi0000033CDDlFlDl3CliCD300000DiCD3CD0CDctOfrhHiD)30-h3Ht3CHZ3HCDrtFl03CDs’-OctctDii)OH•Cn0Hfl3CDDiCDCnCfl3Fl-0ctH0Fl’.ODi030-rtFl3IIH3CDIH.QFlDiFiODi13<CDDiH’<LQ’<rt‘<<C2jH•11<!-I-<<‘dc’)ctD0-flFi.CD3I—’-CH-LQ’CDCDHfl-—Jct-CDO00‘dI-Fl.Di•FlCDDiFlFl--•FlU)3DiCDrt,(flr’30‘•‘i‘CDCD’iCflDi—-3H••.‘3PJ3CflDi’dDi“0<-ctHU)3oDiCD.3.-HHctQ3-(DCDH•<HcOHDii3-3Die,DiCD0%oH.HICDDDiJC!)33C1)0Cl)30I“°‘rJ,çt’HCDF-h.•3•0OH3FlIH.FlflOfl”03CDCDH-HCf)0QIcHDiCDU)CDgnFlc’•0DictFlHDiCDoFl3f-303FlDiFl3FlctctH•.co31000HØCDI00ct-0IDiFlHDi3LQH<3F1U)•‘<0rtU)DiH-j,3CDI-CDH•IC)-’Di‘<CD3ti(J)FlIFlCD‘C5HOHFl01DiCr)HH0°OCDHiH-t).LQQICo0IDiDiDiIHCDODiCDCD<c4DP-lU)_ctDi...i-----01Hcn,•JDi!xJHF-hOtJ1Cl,0.2bCD.0HHlct0LTI<j-FlH33CoH<OCD0•‘d1CDHFl01030H><&?C-)Di3030cW3U)HHtsJHU)•DiFlCD0Di3()‘dU)0Fl-.Flct01300.11H-0300iCDCD,—HDiCOIDi<H,pCDCD<o0WHDitiHFlCDCl)FlFlFtiOçt0H-3-0CoctHO—30Fl01<CDCO.<PJDi:.3CDo0H<3U)0—’CoH-Di‘.HDif3•0HFl,Fl0°U)0—F-ODiCDCDCl)-1CDQ)300CD3r-3’•‘l’DiU)H-U)c-t-FlCDCD0Fl310H55CDF-hr-<CD3U)ct—CDOctIDIU)QF-hCDctCDFlDi<FlCD331H-FlDi00‘dCDDi1CDU)IDictH•.U)ctDi13<CD-H-HFlHct1Z00H-CDHctFl’d’dOHJ33’H-DiCD0Q’<ctFl(d•i3OFlIICI)OFlU).—U)Cfl•H-cl-3EIH-0CDHDiCD1Di13•DiDiQ-CDCDIt3Hi010U)HctU)CDIt1Di1CDCDCDH-MItH.00DiCDICDO3U)03Fl131Pj3U)33U)303HFli3DiU)••ctCD1CD..rtiQ-CD-•F-hiH•J’I—izzCD0000C)CDCDC)çtIi00rtH-(-IIH-CDH-0C)00CflCDCDWH-H°‘.)H-Hzjc-t-H,IH-Hct0P)P3CiCDP3P3OOH-’.OP3CDf-hCDZa1VctZJ)CI)dHç-t-CD<--p,(D-I-oP3ct.jQ0iSH,CDt’1ipjçtCD.0CD.CDHIlflZQp.OJCDHC-HO0cçtH-k<çtoct<Of-’O•F--H--H-WCl)CO0.CDop,.—Cflf-o.cn‘.0.tjCD’.P3L.••ff—’‘Q••:DH0ctH0CDCflCDH-H0çtco:<0QH-H-OcCD—HrtQ0•CD_——Cl).Cf)ctHO0.P3.H-CDCDOH--CDH?.-CD--..Z‘O<P3••cøQCDCD(D,<CDP3CI)0HZCDctrt-‘-<CD<r1-0‘0CI)HH0‘-<.ct0CDHCDCDSH-P)P).WH’-1ctCDcn-gHCDCDUiC/)HH-CD7cP)p,’Cl)HHF1CDCD<OHiCDCDHCDroCflCDCl)(..I-hCl2pjCDçtrjH-’<.—-a;:F-!CD‘1Cn1HP30H00CD-<r-1.CflZH-c’•P3;ItCD1H<0OHCD(Dp,-QP3o’-j0CDiHOCDH,çCl)Cl)Cl)H-CDr1MCI).0C0-CflCDH0P)CDCl—-tCflH-H-3Q..HP)1—CDçttQHH’°—hP3P3‘<-0OHf-‘-(DH10IlfrhCDCDCDCDHCDCDHCDCtU’tCDHH-P3CDCDfrti0Cfl(Dj-jCD0 CnQ10HiO-‘<H-H-CDHP3P3H-rHCDHI-’ctq0CD<cn0.P)H-QP3P3•CDCD0CflCDP30pjçtj-ct--PJ1çtct(tCDH•CDU)rl-’-<0••U)P3flCD10•<CflcrCDP3HCDHP30P3CDC))CD0“lOHQU)P31P3HQ0H-CDHCs)Hw0HH‘H31P3Orf-H-IIsQ-H-rjP3HHoiOCDP301Q-ifrP3HHo.HCflP3HCD1H-CDCDCD--CDC!)iH-P3CD0H-1)HH-H-IP3Z‘IjZH-C..i-QHiP)IcnU)HHCDU)CflP3I•P3ZP30Hr-t-o1o<QHC!)1CDHHCDO)IC))0CDHP30C1’-<0CDCDCDP3H-U)<r1-C!)rf-P3U)OCD—ZU)00OH•CDctctOf-hH-1H-QH-HCDçttH-ctCD‘-<CD0—‘dU)CD‘1001P3CDCnP3CDU)••ClH,•U)•—CD••<<‘1H•••HU).••.‘1Cl)Cl)ClCl)Cl)Cl)Cl)Cl)Cl)Cl)CDP30ri-ri-ci-HCDC)ci-i-’P3P3i-IH-HCDCl)1))P3P3P3N00f--I-’-‘.QH1<HttIpjH‘-CI)Iu-i-U)-‘-in—i-.‘-jdoctiCD.’P3CDU)IOU).ci-rwrl-5CDOCDCDCDP3QQH--’Oi-QON2JCDI--.—-‘dH-CDIH-II-’-’U)<’U)1Q<c-i-rI00H-Cl)(Dc-i-sCDlCD‘toHC)IHçtCD-h3’1H-CD,ItC4ci•C)’-P3IfJP3(nO1Cl)C1c—1f—P3’Zct’1LQD4HCD.CDHIIIPiOc.1C)f-ooi-iP3ICDi--•(‘iC)1H-H-fll’—CDflCDpjctHQflctjEP3CD‘3’iCl)PIHPJf-I-.—‘P3hjZ0çtO’çt’H-(flc-iof-’U)i-Cl)CDH-CDH-0H-çtH-CDWcl-°H-D3CD11CDHCDjH-P3çHQU)CJ(Dc-Pi-3---CDct,c-i-LQ0°ri-HCDP3HU)oi-i•p3QP3oH°ctP3DU)çt‘10CDHP3‘-i-oZHHU)U)Cl)OOCDP3OD—•.H-HHDJCDHCDF1-OC)’Qc>CDHH•.OQCD’1—Z.H_<HHIoQflP3U)i-h,P3‘t3Qp,H’i.o“P3wci-’—HU)’.P3O0 ‘1C)ri-CDC)••CDfl,.<H0P3‘1coo.ri-iP3’H-’1OO°CDccibH-”HH-pipi.’<‘1OCl)1‘1CflPJ’.P3OC1•CDci-‘—0-’HH-P30CD<HHP3ri-T•‘‘00P3c-i-pj(Da*ICDCQf-I.CDCD‘1c-i-xj•‘tQ0Q1CflCDCDZP3c-i-’1ctCD-‘HCD11H-•0-C)0F-li-CDH’1çtii0”‘QP3‘-djO••‘1P3C)Oi-U)0CDrtCDp‘1CDU)H-<qOtIct‘1U)HP3‘1c-i-QU)P3QH-’-P3H-H-H0çtOH11U)‘t’‘1P3I—”Cl)I-I-IC)o•04*<OOH‘0oII0U)3‘1‘0O())C)WCDOi-UC)H-i..(çtP3•.OD‘P30(DCDCDZ0LQCflP3’,(_)z-o’t’CDH.xJ—H0JCDCDpjoH-.Cl)‘t•’CDHCD0’-‘1C4CD’1PicoH-CDOU)‘1H-H-,Cl)H-C-i-OP3•Cl)rtH,<H<11C)::(DCDH0-jHO0CD’-H-CDIP3P3P3C)‘0ci-,0P)P3P3Z0U)0CDCD0HP3P3CDH-c-i-U)<HHCDCD0P3 I—’Oj.‘QH-<ct-CDP‘1O)CDCDZCDU)P3OH-H<H-ci-’-<H-Cl)0‘LQ‘1<ocici-PiC)U)P3cCDc:)C/)’1CDH-c-i-1H-H-ta,•.CDri-i-hMc-i‘10i-U)P3O0-j’1c-i-c-)i.)(DOci-P3CD1CDH-0-’i-_jU)ci-Odoa•U)‘-U)oU)IflH-P3JHP3ci-Ht’-ci-CDICD0HP3C)Hc-i-(DH-IH-HiCDoCDOQO’1..U)‘1c-i-JWU)0OOçtQ‘<ji-.jHiCDi0P3H-i1I-h•0ci-jO’0ri-p‘-0CD(D’0o‘d‘1NP3O°HH-H-1.HCDCDc-i-CDi-’lIU)U)HO<CDHCDH<ICI)J)•I-‘P30OO•‘1H-OdCD0ICDC)HH-U)P3’tI0CDOJP31CZH-U)flH-ctU)P3U)CD’1IIDH-CD100CDrtU),—i-PJOP3HCD•.tiOH-0I0ci-P3U)‘10CDHP30CDpjCDH-U)IU)c-i-bUrtC)‘1P3OctU)U)0H-•‘1H-H-H-H-PJ’0H-P3<.H-CDci-ci-0-PiC)H-H-IH-P3‘1<P30P3P3—‘15CI)CDZri-II’-Q’-C‘-<CDHfrti’•0-’CD0-’(D”P30.’”138Wekerle, G. R. (1988b). Canadian women’s housing cooperatives: Casestudies in physical and social innovation. In C. Andrew & B.M. Milroy (Eds.), Life spaces: Gender, household, employment(pp. 102-140). Vancouver: The University of British Columbia.Wekerle, G. R. (1988c). From refuge to service center:Neighborhoods that support women. In W. von Vliet (Ed.),Women, housing and community (pp. 7-22). Brookfield, Vermont:Gower.Wekerle, G. R. (1990). Women and housing: A research agenda.Canadian Woman Studies, 11 (2), 66—67.Wekerle, G. R., & Novac, S. (1989). Developing two women’s housingcooperatives. In K. A. Franck & S. Ahrentzen (Eds.), Newhouseholds new housing(pp.223-242) New York: Van NostrandReinhold.139APPENDICES: A to H140APPENDIX AInterview ScheduleAs you know from reading the consent form, this university researchstudy seeks to examine the views of single mothers concerning theirexperiences of living in co—operative housing. I am hoping tointerview all of the single-mothers who live in your Co-op andtheir collective answers will provide the first—hand resourcematerials for this study.In this interview today, I will be asking you about various aspectsof living at the Four Sisters Housing Co—operative. I am reallyinterested in your opinions; as a single—mother living in a housingco—operative, you are in a very knowledgeable position and canoffer some valuable information.Are there any questions that you would like to ask me before westart?Part I—Previous HousingCould you describe the housing you had before moving here?Probes:—form of tenure— design— location-length of residenceWhat reasons did you have for moving?Since becoming a single parent, have you experienced anydifficulties in trying to obtain housing? If so, what has been thenature of these difficulties?Part Il-Joining The Housing Co-operativeWhen did you join the Four Sisters Housing Co-operative? (probe forthe year and the month)How did you find out about co-operative housing?Probe:-previous residence in a co—op141How did you find out about the Four Sisters Housing Co-operative?What was it about co-operative housing that attracted you to it?What was it about the Four Sisters Housing Co—operative ,inparticular, that attracted you to it?What other factors did you take into consideration when decidingwhether or not to join the Four Sisters Housing Co—operative?I understand that joining the Four Sisters involves a process ofmaking application, being interviewed, and then being approved ofby the Membership Committee. What was that process like for you?Probes:—availability of an opening—attitude of Co—op representativesPart Ill—AffordabilityCould you tell me about the costs that are involved in living atthe Four Sisters?Probes:—amount of monthly housing charge—additional fees for utilities/services—receipt of subsidyWhat is your opinion of these costs?Probes:—vis—a—vis participantEs budget and disposable income—vis—vis the standard of housing—vis—a—vis other available housingPart IV-ChildrenWhat do you think of the Four Sisters Housing Co—operative as aplace in which to raise your children?Probes:—advantages and disadvantages—design considerations/facilities for children-social opportunities—general attitude of the Co—op towards children-neighbourhood-safety and security (for both your children and yourself)142How do you think your children feel about living in the FourSisters Co—op?I understand that the Four Sisters Housing Co—operative houses agreat diversity of people—people of all ages, various ethnicbackgrounds, different income levels, disabled persons etc. Howhave your children been influenced by the experience of living withsuch a diversity of people?How have you, yourself, been influenced by the experience of livingwith such a diversity of people?Part V—Access To ServicesA. Four Sisters’ Services:What use do you and your children make of the common areas andservices that are part of the Four Sisters Co—op?Probes:—common lounges —outdoor patios—children’s room —roof—top garden—teenagers ‘room —outdoor courtyard-laundry services -parking facilities—universal gym —security on—call—gardening room—workshopWhat, if anything, would you like to see changed about these commonareas and services?What additional services, if any, would you like to have in theFour Sisters Co—op that you don’t have now?If you wanted to initiate a new service in the Co—op, what couldyou do about it?Probes:—any previous involvement in initiating a new serviceB. Neighourhood ServicesWhat services in your neighbourhood do you and your children use ona regular basis?Probes:—children’s school—day care centre or pre—school—doctor’s office—grocery store143—pharmacy-bank—public transit—place of employment or employment opportunitiesFor what services are you required to travel outside of yourneighbourhood?What, if anything, would you like to see changed about theseneighbourhood services?What additional services would you like to have in yourneighbourhood that you don’t have now?Part VI-Design FeaturesWhat do you think of the design or physical lay out of your suite?Probes:-likes—dislikes—features which facilitate tending and supervision of children—ease of maintenance—space—number of bedrooms—arrangement of rooms—storage space—views and balconies—interior decoration (e.g.attractiveness of colour schemes)-fixtures and appliances (kitchen and bathroom)—noise levels—lighting-location of suite within the building-ventilation and heatingWhat do you think of the design or physical lay out of the Co-opcomplex as a whole?Probes:—likes—dislikes—features which facilitate tending and supervision of children—interior decoration of common areas (attractiveness)—exterior appearance of Co—op complex—landscaping of Co—op grounds-ease of moving within the Co—op complex—noise levels—lighting-ventilation and heating-access to garbage disposal facilities144Part Vu-Participation In The Co-op’s ManagementOne of the characteristics of co—operative housing is that theresidents themselves are responsible for the ongoing management oftheir housing. What is your opinion of this resident managementmodel?Probes:—strengths and weaknesses—advantages and disadvantages to the participantWhat say do you have in the various decisions that are made in theCo-op?How do you feel about the amount of say that you have in the‘s decision-making?When you have a grievance about something at the Co—op, what canyou do about it?As a resident, you are expected to abide by the rules and to assumecertain responsibilities. What particular expectations are made ofyou?Probes:—attendance at general meetings—cleaning the common areasHow do you feel about these expectations?What opportunities have you had to participate directly in themanagement structure of the Co—op?Follow—up Questions:—Were you a founding member of the Co—op? If so, what role, did youplay in the planning or development of the Co-op?—Have you ever been a member of any of the Co—op’s committees? Ifso, which committee(s) were these?-What did you do as a member of this committee(s)?-What did you gain from your involvement on this committee(s)?—Have you ever been a member of the Board of Directors? If so, whatdid you do as a member of the Board?-What did you gain from your involvement on the Board?145Part Vill-Social Contacts And Support NetworksHow would you describe your relationships with the other residents?Probes:-familiarity with the other residents—how does the participant get along with the other residents—any worries or concerns about these relationshipsWhat kinds of activities do you share with the other residents?Probes:A. Social Activities:—social activities for adults (formal and/or informal)—social activities for children (formal and/or informal)B. Mutual Aid Activities:—borrow or lend food items—borrow or lend other household items—borrow or loan small amounts of money—share or exchange children’s clothing—share or exchange adult clothing—share or exchange meal preparation-do shopping for each other—run errands for each other—assist each other with household repairs-help each other with laundry—help each other with transportation-babysit for each other’s children-discipline each other’s childrenC. Emotional Support:share worries, decision—making, emotional concerns re:—work-children-money-relationships—personal matters—the futureGiven the large number of people who live in the Four SistersCo—op, you will obviously know some residents better than others.Who are the particular residents with whom you have the strongestties?I am interested in gaining a sense of whether your strongest tiesare with people who live in the Co-op or outside the Co-op. What isyour experience in this regard?How do you feel about the location of the Co-op in relation towhere your friends and relatives outside the Co—op live?146Part IX-PrivacyWe have been talking about the opportunities for social contact andsupport that exist in the Co-op. Also important, however, is theneed for privacy. How do you feel about the balance betweencommunity and privacy that is provided by the Four Sisters Co-op?In general, how do you feel about the level of privacy that you andyour children have at the Four Sisters Co-op?Over and above the level of privacy that you and your children haveat the Four Sisters Co-op, how do you feel about the level ofprivacy which you have for yourself within the confines of your ownsuite?Part X—Public Image of The Co-opWhat do your friends and relatives, who live outside of the Co-op,think about you living here?Probes:-about the Co-op-about the neighbourhoodHow do these views of your friends and relatives affect you?Probes:—your feelings about your home—your feelings about yourselfHow do you think that the Four Sisters Co-op is viewed by thedowntown east—side neighbourhood?Probes:-the view of the children’s schoolHow do these views of the neighbourhood affect you?How do you think that the Four Sisters Co-op is viewed by thegeneral public?How do you think that the downtown east-side neighbourhood isviewed by the general public?How does the general public’s image of the Co-op affect you?147Part XI-Security Of Tenure And Suitability For TransitionWhat security of tenure do you have at the Four Sisters Co—op?Probes:—factors that can influence security of tenure—how this security of tenure is different from previous housingI am interested in knowing how flexible the Four Sisters Co-op isin terms of accommodating the changes in a family’s circumstances.How would your tenure be affected if you decided to marry or tolive with your partner?How will your tenure be affected when your children are grown andmove out?Given such changes in your family composition, what provision wouldthere be for you to move to a different suite (a larger or smallersuite) if you chose to do so?Can you tell me what housing plans you have for the future?Probes:—for how long do you foresee yourself living at the Four SistersCo-op—can you foresee anything in the future that would affect yourhousing situation-if you decided to move, what kind of housing would you look forI am interested in gaining an idea of what kind of housing youwould most like to have. Describe what your ideal form of housingwould be?Probes:—location-design—how many bedrooms—form of tenure—extent of community-extent of privacyPart XII-Influences And Changes Arising From Life In The Co-opWhat changes, if any, have you perceived in yourself since you havebeen living at the Four Sisters Co—op?Probes:-lifestyle (free personal time)-relationship with your children-relationships with others148—physical health-mental health (feelings about yourself)-quality of life in generalI am interested in learning about the extent to which thesepersonal changes which you have perceived can be related to livingin the Co—op or whether other non—Co—op factors have beensignificant also. Can you tell me about this?Part XIII-General Satisfaction With Life In The Four Sisters Co—opWhat are the things that you really like about living at the FourSisters Co—op?What is the one thing that you like the most?What particular dislikes, if any, do you have?What is the one thing that you dislike the most?How is the Four Sisters Co-op different from other housing you havelived in?Probes:-What did you give up in moving to the Co-op?-What did you gain by moving the Co-op?Is there any way you would like to see the Co-op changed that wouldimprove it for you?In general, what do you think about the Four Sisters Co—op as ahome for single mothers?What advice would you give to other single mothers like yourselfwho are needing housing?Part XIV-Demographic MaterialIn order to help me analyze the information that you have given me,I would like to conclude the interview by asking you some personalquestions about yourself. Let me reassure you again that youranswers will remain strictly confidential.What was the date of your birth?What is your marital status?Probes:149—never married—separated—divorced-widowedIn which country were you born?The following two questions will be asked only if the participantwas born outside of Canada.How long have you lived in Canada?What is your legal status in Canada?Probes:-Canadian citizen-landed immigrant—refugee—other (specify)What is your ethnic background?What is your educational level?Probes:—no formal education—elementary school education-some high school education-high school graduate—some post—secondary education—technical school graduate—college graduate—university graduate—other (specify)What is your trade, profession, or occupation?What sources of income do you have?Probes:—current employment—government income assistance—maintenance/child support-other (specify)What is the gross amount of your annual income?Do you own an automobile?How many children do you have?What are the ages and sexes of your children?150How many of your children live with you? Please specify the number.Do any of your children have any “special needs”? If so, which ofyour children has “special needs”? What is the nature of yourchild’s/ren’s “special needs”?Part XV-ConclusionWe have talked about many different aspects of living at the FourSisters Co—op. Before we end this interview, is there anything elsethat you would like to add or ask me?Are there any other questions that you think that I should haveasked?Thank You So Much For Your Time And Attention Today!! D 1.APPENDIX BFOUR SISTERS HOUSING CO-OPERATIVE153 Powell StreetVancouver, B.C. V6A 3Z1 662-8574October 1, 1990Dr. Mary RussellU.B.C. School of Social Work6201 Cecil Green Park RoadVancouver, B.C.V6T 1W5Dear Dr. Russell;The Four Sisters Co—op Board of Directors and the singlemothers residing in the Co—op have agreed to co—operate withSandra Nelmes in her research towards her Master’s thesis.Additionally, the Four Sisters Co—op Handbook will be made accessible to Ms. Nelmes. In return, we would appreciate a copy ofthe completed work.Sincerely,/9Irena Zene’ych(for Jane Carter, Co—ordinator)152/ —APPENDIX CThe University of British ColumbiaOffice of Research ServicesB9l—022BEHAVIOURAL SCIENCES SCREENING COMMITTEE FOR RESEARCHAND OTHER STUDIES INVOLVING HUMAN SUBJECTSCERTIFICATE of APPROVALINVESTIGATOR:UBC DEPT:INSTITUTION:Russell, N.Social WorkFour Sisters Housing Co—opTITLE:NUMBER:The co—operative housing experience andsingle mothers: A case studyB91—022CO-INVEST:APPROVED:Nelnies, S.The protocol describing the above—named project has beenreviewed by the Committee and the experimental procedures werefound to be acceptable on ethical grounds for researchinvolving human subjects.Dr. R.D. SratleyDirector, Research ServicesTHIS CERTIFICATE OF APPROVAL IS VALID FOR THREE YEARSFROM THE ABOVE APPROVAL DATE PROVIDED THERE IS NOCHANGE IN THE EXPERIMENTAL PROCEDURES1*-. ix. . • I_IBehavioural sciencesScreening Committee153APPENDIX DSandra K. NelmesUniversity of B.C.School of Social Work6201 Cecil Green Park Rd.Vancouver, B.C.V6T 1W5May 1, 1991The Four Sisters HousingCo—operativesuite numberstreet nameVancouver, B.C.postal codeDear Ms. “X”:I am a student in the Master of Social Work programme at theUniversity of British Columbia and I am conducting a research studywhich seeks to examine the views of single mothers concerning theirliving experiences in co—operative housing settings. In thisconnection, I would very much like to interview you with respect tothe Four Sisters Housing Co-operative; as a single mother living ina housing co—operative, you are in a very knowledgable position andcan offer some valuable information. I am hoping to interview allof the single-mothers who live in your Co-op and their collectiveanswers will provide the first—hand resource materials for thisstudy. The Board of the Four Sisters has given its approval forthis research.Your participation in this research study is entirely voluntary.You may withdraw at any time and, in addition, you may, if youwish, omit answering particular questions. If you should decide notto participate or to withdraw from the study, your standing in theCo-op will not be affected in any way. The duration of theinterview will be from two to three hours. In order to recall yourinformation with the utmost accuracy, I would prefer to audio—tapethe interview. If, however, you feel uncomfortable about thisprocedure, you may choose to have the taping stopped at any time.The confidentiality of your responses will be respected at alltimes and, certainly, nothing you may say will be identified with154you personally. The information that you give, will be incorporatedanonymously, with that of the other single mothers living in yourCo—op, into the final research report.This research project will be supervised by Dr. Mary Russell who ismy faculty advisor at the U.B.C. School of Social Work.If you are willing to participate in this research study, and/orrequire any further information, please feel free to contact me at736—5408.Within the next two weeks, I will telephone you in order toascertain whether or not you are willing participate. Thank you foryour attention to this matter.Yours sincerely,Sandra K. Nelmes155APPENDIX EUniversity of British Columbia(School of Social Work)Research Study: The Co-operative Housing ExperienceAnd Single Mothers: A Case StudyStudent: Sandra K. NelmesRe: Research Study Consent FormI am a student in the Master of Social Work programme at theUniversity of British Columbia and am conducting a research studywhich seeks to examine the views of single mothers concerning theirliving experiences in co—operative housing settings. The Board ofthe Four Sisters has given its approval for this research and, atthis point, I would very much like to interview you with respect toyour own experiences. Your first—hand knowledge in this contextwould make an important contribution to my research material andlead ultimately to a better understanding of appropriate housingstrategies for single mothers.Your participation in this research study is entirely voluntary.You may withdraw at any time and, in addition, you may, if youwish, omit answering particular questions. If you should decide notto participate or to withdraw from the study, your standing in theCo-op will not be affected in any way. The duration of theinterview will be approximately two hours. In order to recall yourinformation with the utmost accuracy, I would prefer to audio—tapethe interview. If, however, you feel uncomfortable about thisprocedure, you may choose to have the taping stopped at any time.The confidentiality of your responses will be respected at alltimes and, certainly, nothing you may say will be identified withyou personally. The information that you give, will be incorporatedanonymously, with that of the other single mothers living in yourCo—op, into the final research report.This research project will be supervised by Dr. Mary Russell who ismy faculty advisor at the U.B.C. School of Social Work.Please feel free to ask questions you may have about the researchstudy. If after the interview, you have any further questions, Ican be contacted at the School of Social Work (phone: 228-2255).156Please indicate your consent by signing on the space providedbelow. Your signature also acknowledges your receipt of a copy ofthe consent form.Sandra K. Nelmes (Researcher) DateRespondent Date157APPENDIX FSandra K. NelmesUniversity of B.C.School of Social Work6201 Cecil Green Park Rd.Vancouver, B.C.V6T 1W5August 31, 1992The Four Sisters HousingCo-operativesuite numberstreet nameVancouver, B.C.postal codeDear Ms. IIX’I:It is with pleasure that I can now inform you that the researchstudy entitled Refuge: Exploring The Co-operative HousingExperience Of Single-Mothers is now completed. A copy of the thesiswill be available to you through the Co-op office. If you have anycomments or questions concerning this thesis, please feel free tocontact me at 736—5408.The research process has ended but my last words go out to each oneof you for the assistance you so kindly and patiently gave me. Butyou did more than help this student. The information you sharedwill no doubt help to educate other people regarding the value ofco—operative housing for single—mothers. Certainly, other peoplereading this thesis will be inspired by your thoughtful andinsightful comments as I was.Yours sincerely,Sandra K. Nelmes158APPENDIX GCONTACT SUMMARY FORMRespondent:Dates And Times:Location:Tone Of Interview:Researcher’s Satisfaction With Information:Respondent’s Overall Evaluation Of Co—op:Main Themes Or Issues:159APPENDIX HInterview ExcerptNo. Of Sessions: twoDates And Times: May 24/91 (9:45 a.m. to 12:00 a.rn.) andJune 5/91 (9:45 a.m. to 12:00 a.rn.)Location: Four Sisters Co—op (respondent’s suite)I=InterviewerR=RespondentI: So, I’d like to start by asking you about the housing you hadbefore moving to the Four Sisters. And urn here I’m interested inwhether urn the housing you had before was rented or owned or cooperative housing or?R: Oh, it was, it was rented in the East End. Just standard youknow.I: Was it an apartment or a house?R: No, it was a main floor of a house.I: Urn hum. Okay.R: (tape inaudible-respondent jokes about the microphone)I: Yeah. We should hide it. (laughs)R: (laughs) No. Urn. No, it was, I think most of my friends had thesame thing. When you have a number of kids, it’s harder to get anapartment. And I really didn’t want an apartment so you end up inmain floor/basement. But, I don’t know if you’re familiar withMount Pleasant?I: Yes, I am. Yes, I am.R: Yeah, there’s quite a lot of older houses and a lot of landlordsthat have bought them up they’re they’re holding the property.I: Urn hum.R: They’re an investment.I: Urn hum.160R: I know that’s what ours was doing. He owned about four of them.I: Ah. Right.R: And they, urn, they’re not, they never bought it for the house sothey have no interest in keeping it up. They bought it for the landand they’re holding on so...I: For the investment?R: ...so they urn I know ours used to come with ah his overalls onwhen anything broke. (laughs) You know, they hate to put in aquarter anything into these places so they’re falling apart. I knowours was. It was an older house.I: It wasn’t in good repair you’re saying?R: No. The yard around it was beautiful. Because I guess whoeveroriginally owned it took a lot of, it was a family home, took a lotof care. So, there were beautiful shrubs and the yard was reallynice. And the house you could see it was nice but ah when youneglect it, I mean the roof leaked. Every time it rained, we hadfive buckets in the living room and stuff. That kind of stuff. Theplumbing was a a shambles ah you know every thing like that. Youknow when you don’t keep up a place and it’s old and you do sort ofMickey Mouse patching up, the wiring was shot, none of the outletsworked hardly one I think, hardly none of the light switchesworked. That that really thrilled the kids when we moved in here.They were flicking all the lights on. (laughs)I: Light switches that actually work!R: Actually work. (laughs) (tape inaudible) It was a bit of anovelty.I: Yeah. What what reasons did you have for moving?R: Into this place we’re in now or?I: Yeah. Urn hum.R: Well, I wanted something bigger....I: Oh, just a minute. Did you move from that that house to here?R: To here, Ah ha.I: Okay. Okay. Right. I’m sorry, I interrupted you there.R: Well, I wanted something bigger and urn I couldn’t afford youknow any more bedrooms in like the rental market and ah. There’s mystupid phone again. (brief phone interruption)161I: Urn. We were talking about the reasons for your moving.R: Oh. Yeah. I wanted a bigger and I I just urn I think what Iwanted most is to is the security to know where I was living urn Icould stay. I, it wasn’t, when you live in something rented,there’s always the possibility the rent’s going to be raised beyondyou or urn the place is going to be torn—down or get sold orwhatever. You don’t have a feeling of permanence.I: Urn. And sort of things beyond your control might happen youmean-like the rents and things like that?R: Yeah. I mean, if the rents go up too high, then you have tomove. If the place is sold and the new owner, which had happened tome before, and the new owner wants to live in it, of course youhave anyway you don’t have any security of housing. You know,you’re really at someone else’s whim.I: Right.R: So, I, which is not bad I guess if you’re just one adult. It’smuch easier to move around. But I really wanted with the kids tohave urn when they started the school that we would stay and we onlymoved once when I was a kid, my dad built a new house, and it washorrible.I: Urn. You remember that.R: I remember how horrible it was. (tape inaudible) You had tomove out of your neighbourhood and away from your friends and a newschool. And I thought I’d really like to have that choice that wemove somewhere and we can stay here now. Because I think that’sreally important.I: So, you didn’t want your kids to experience that...you knew whatit was like to go through...R: Oh, no... to move and move. No, it’s not good for them. It’s notgood to change the schools on them. It, I think it’s reallyimportant to have a sense of security (tape inaudible) and youdon’t get that in rented places. I mean look at this housingcrisis. People, older people who’ve lived in their apartments inKerrisdale for twenty years and you know, whack you’re out thedoor. You’re gone. You really have nothing. I think even more sothen a roof that didn’t leak.I: Oh, is that right? The security was more important to you?R: The security was the most important thing. Just knowing I Iwouldn’t have to move unless it was my choice.I: Your choice. Right. Instead of the landlord’s or whatever else.162R: Right. Right.I: Since becoming a single—morn, I think we’ve touched on this alittle bit but urn have you ever experienced difficulties inobtaining housing?R: Oh, yes.I: Yeah. Can you tell me sort of what the nature of thosedifficulties was?R: Well, before I before I moved here and I was living in thisplace and it really was getting to be a shambles. I mean it, whichwas a shame because it was quite a nice house. (tape inaudible)Anyway, I I’d looked around for other places and urn well, the feelis especially if you have three three, your kids are going to wrecka place. And you can’t live in a nicer apartment building becausethere’s a feel of oh, the kids are going to wreck it or the noiseis going to disturb the other people and you can’t you can’t renta whole house by yourself cause you don’t have the money. And youknow there’s, it’s just people don’t want children. I just couldnever understand it.I: When you say people, do you mean?R: Landlords.I: Landlords. Yeah.R: (tape not audible). They’re really reluctant to rent tochildren. There’s this perception that kids are going to wreck aplace or disturb everyone else living in it you know and the, Iguess that was the most discrimination I felt. If a place was halfway nice, it was no, how old are, well forget it. You know, thatwas the most. And but except for the really lousy places. You knowthey’re quite happy to rent you rent you really lousy placesbecause I guess in the end what are you going to do. You’re goingto put some kind of roof over your heads so you will you end thisis why we end up taking places in basements that are way theceiling’s way too low you know. They leak and they’re really quitesubstandard but it’s better than nothing, you know. You’re you’recaught in a real bind.I: So, you don’t really have a choice or many options?R: No, you don’t. Because the other thing is if you don’t havehousing, I mean what are you going to do with your kids?I: Exactly. Yeah.R: Yeah. So, you really I think I think a lot of landlords reallytake advantage of that. You know really take advantage especially163in areas like Mount Pleasant. You know, they know they know howmuch shelter portions and they gear the rent to that or a bit more.And they know they don’t have to fix anything. They know you’re notgoing to call the health department or the city inspector. I meancause the last thing you really want to do is to make trouble youknow. So, they really I think I think a lot of them make a fairamount of money you know.I: Yeah. So, it’s like they know they’ve got you in their ah?R: Sure. I mean the only parallel I can draw is the single guys inthe hotel rooms around here. I mean those rents are totally aregeared to their shelter portion. Every time the shelter portiongoes up, the landlord ups the rent you know. It’s traditional. It’sthe same kind of thing when you know there’s a lot of scorn heapedon people on welfare but it lines a lot of pockets you know whenthey do increase the rates, it is the shelter portion, the actualperson never sees anything in their hand. It’s just like the moneyis passing passing over and ah most of these places you can getaway with I mean really shabby upkeep. You just don’t have to spendany money.I: Cause they know they don’t have to do anything because you...?R: Well, they don’t have to. You’re options are are really limited,really limited. In my old place once well the plumbing was fallingapart so badly that the pipes collapsed out to the sewer. Anyway,he thought he would fix this himself. So, he took the toilet offand he left it for two weeks cause he really didn’t know what hewas doing you know.I: But, you were left without something that works.R: Well, it’s a hole in the bathroom floor for two weeks. So, youknow you could never do this to someone with more options.I: They’d just be gone?R: Well, no. You would phone you could phone the health departmentwhatever and make the order to have it fixed. I don’t think thatthey would even attempt it. But they know when you don’t. I meanthey do know. But I suppose that’s they way it is you know. Thebottom line is the money. I mean they if it wasn’t for low—incomepeople, they couldn’t rent half those suites would be sittingempty.I: Because they’re just substandard?R: Very substandard. They couldn’t rent them. Well, anyway.I: Yeah. How does that leave you feeling when you?164R: It makes me really angry. I mean this place this place is reallynice. I mean it is built, it is built very well and it ismaintained well. I mean we do that ourselves but I thoughteverybody should have an opportunity to have decent housing. And itdoes work too is the thing. I mean the other the other sort ofthing you get is, oh why build anything nice for poor people theyjust wreck it. But I mean it works here. Mind you, we have a realincome mix which I think is important. It works here. It works atTallia which is a, you know so, if you give if you give people theopportunity, because I thought if you built more co-ops and you putmore power into the hands of people that live in them and you builddecent housing, it would sure urn cut into the livelihood of anawful lot of people wouldn’t it?I: Of the landlords who are exploitive you mean? It is exploitationisn’t it?R: It is exploiting. My old landlord also owned a rooming house onPowell here further east and the health department got after him toclean the hall ways. So, he offered me fifteen dollars twice amonth just to go and spend a just a couple of hours sweeping upthese hail ways. So, I did. This was his only maintenance outlayyou know and he had twenty rooms at that time he was getting twohundred and fifty dollars per room and for these twenty rooms, tenof them shared one bathroom which of course didn’t work hardlyeither and the upkeep was nothing, nothing. So, you can imagine theprofit he was making even after he paid the taxes and paid methirty a month. (laughs) But I thought and these are people whohave a lot of contempt you know and I thought whose pocket are welining you know. If you had any decency, these places would bebrought up to standard but, no...I: By decency do you me caring for the tenants?R: Well, I don’t know. I couldn’t see having a place and...I: And doing that?R: Gouging. It’s gouging. It is. It’s exploiting you know. It is.It’s it’s gearing it to the lowest sort of common denominator thatyou can get away with because you know the other alternative issleeping under the bridge.I: Yeah.R. Yeah.I: They know that people just don’t have the options and are forcedto be there.R: No, you don’t have the options you know. When I was working, Iused to think there were a lot more options for everyone. But urn165there aren’t all that many options you know. When it comes rightdown to it. I mean I’m lucky living in housing which which, when Ido go back to work, is geared to my income too then.I: How how did you find out about the Four Sisters then?R: I was applying at all different co—ops.I: Oh, you were. Um.R: I just thought I’d I’d best get into something a little well, Iit was the security is what I thought I’d best get into. So, I wasjust, I had applications in, well most of them I’d gotten hold ofa Scoop newsletter.I: Oh yes. Right, right. It’s published by the Federation? Thatpaper?R: Right. The Co—op Housing Federation. And the Housing Registry.So, I was just putting my name in everywhere. I thought I will stayhere where I am until I find something. So, it did take me twoyears. So, it’s quite a long time when you do apply. I think it’seven longer now. Cause they even had more waiting—lists open atdifferent co—ops and things so that with the funding changes, thereare less being built now.I: That’s what I’ve understood too. So, there’s more more demandand not so many.R: There’s more demand and the waiting time is longer to get in.So, it takes I think it’s a bit harder now. I mean two years, twoyears was about the average waiting time to get into somewhere andI hear now it’s edged up to four.I: Four to get into the Four Sisters?R: Into any kind of co—op on an average.I: Any kind. Oh, I see. Yeah.R: It is four years.I: Right. That is a long time.R: It is a long time to wait.I: You think of what difference that makes in a child’s life youknow?R: It makes all the difference doesn’t it? Sure.I: Absolutely. Yeah. Um. What was it then about co-operative166housing then that attracted you to it?R: I I didn’t, I didn’t want to live in B.C. Housing because it’sghettoed to me you know. There’s there’s no income mix. It’s noit’s it’s well I just didn’t want to be ghettoed. I don’t thinkit’s natural and I don’t think it works.I: You mean to live with all poor people?R: Well, that’s right. Or just like seniors housing I don’t thinkI’d like you know. Why segregate people? Okay. All the people withmoney will live here. All the people with kids will live here. Allthe older people will live here. I’ve always just felt that was ununnatural and it distorts your your view of life you know you getghettoed. You get ah blinders on. So, co-op housing I knew was amixture of income and age-group and lifestyle and so that why Iwas determined I was going to get into a co—op and not B.C.Housing. Yeah.I: Yeah. And do you remember how you found out about the FourSisters in particular?R: I I just can’t remember do you know that. It’s been quite sometime ago-six years actually. I know I was putting in applicationseverywhere. Don’t know if it was a housing registry. Urn. I justcan’t remember at this point.I: That’s okay. Yeah. Do you remember sort of what attracted you tothe Four Sisters in particular—like of all the co-ops you appliedto?R: No. No. I it was to tell you the truth, it was anotherapplication. At that point, it was just, I remember that you knowI thought I would fill-out for everywhere. And then...I: Cause you wanted to increase your chances of getting in?R: That’s right. I came down to the D.E.R.A. Office and I saw themodel and it really appealed to me. I thought my this is nice. AndI looked at Crab Beach across the street and I liked being centraland I thought well, this you know I wouldn’t mind at all.I: Ah ha. So, you liked sort of the location and....R: I liked the location and ah...I: And you said the model? Do you remember?R: It was an architect’s model. You know how they make them up.They’re not the plan they’re little three dimensional models. Yeah.I: I see. I see. Yeah. They ah built a little one?167R: Yes, there was one laid—out. I quite liked the urn...I: Yeah. Do you remember what what it was that you liked about themodel?R: I liked the lay-out. I liked the open, terraced kind of look andI liked, I liked the security of it. And I thought this would bebetter for the kids to go out and play and that. It was you knowsome co—ops they have their townhouse style which is very nice muchmore private I guess but the kids’ play area is out of sight kindof it’s down you can’t. Whereas here, all the three—bedroom suitesface into the courtyard and you can look out you can see, you canhear the kids. They’re really visible. I mean what I liked aboutthis place is I guess is it’s non—privacy in a way.I: Um hum, Urn hum,R: You know which might not appeal to me if I was a single personor part of a childless couple but it appealed to me strictlybecause I had the kids.I: Yeah. Yeah. And because it provided more security?R: Urn hum. Provided a safe spot for them and ah. I always felt alittle bit leery at my old place being on the main floor and andalone and you know break-ins and things like that plus urn I had myex-husband come banging on my door one night ah this kind ofharassment you know. I felt I wouldn’t get it here.I: Right.R: Be—because ah because for one thing it was more open you know.Your neighbours, I mean the way it’s set—up the windows all lookinginward and at each other. You know, I must say, the non—privacyappealed to me safety wise.I: Safety—wise. That’s understandable. Yeah. Yeah. So, if there wasany trouble, your neighbours would be aware?R: People are very aware. That’s right. People are very aware ofthat. (tape inaudible) You do give up some privacy. I mean if avisitor, they walk through the courtyard (tape inaudible) whoever’sout. I mean we do eye—ball each other. (laughs) It’s like villagelife kind of. (laughs) And there’s trade-offs. But. Urn. Yeah. Iguess the safety was a a big, big factor.I: Urn hum. For your children and for?R: And for me too. You know I was getting quite harassed and urnthat had to cut-out when I moved here. It just wasn’t possible todo the same kind of things. Like come up and bang on your door andstuff. It just was not possible. So, I really did like that and168that is one of the things that keeps me here. Yeah.I: It keeps you here. Yeah. Right. What we’ve been talking urn aboutsome of the benefits for your children, are there other benefitsthat you can think of specifically for the children?R: Well, they get urn they get a sense of of community I think iswhat they do. You know, “X”, the youngest, she’s really pleased.She can go over to her friend’s house by herself. I mean it’s justacross the courtyard (laughs) you know and or, but she feels likeoh, I can do this by myself and she’s only five you know. I’mreally pleased with her. I guess when you’re that age everythinglooks quite big so she really feels that she’s going somewhereand...I: Feels really independent?R: Ah ha. Ah ha. So, I think they get that sense of community. Thekids they know they go to school with, well some of them go toother schools, but I mean they they see them every day. They havebirthdays with. It’s not this move in, move out transient you know.And a lot of us don’t have our families here so it’s reallyimportant to have other people around in your kids’ lives so you’renot isolated. I think they get a sense of family, a sense ofcommunity you know. Other people care about them too and ah theymake friends and they remain friends and I noticed at my otherplace too your kids would make a friend and three months laterthey’d be gone. They would have moved elsewhere never to be seen orheard from again. So, this this is you know a sense of continuity.I think it’s important. Especially because a lot of us do not haveour families here. So, if you did not have this sense ofcontinuity, ah you would be, it and you can’t be the only one foryour kids. They really need other people too. Yeah. And the otherthing I think that’s a real benefit is they get to know a realvariety of people too which is really nice. They get to seedifferent different ways of coping in the world. Different familiesI mean there’s two parent families here and ah one parent familiesone child lives with the grandparents. So, it’s it’s and there’shandicapped people and older people and they’ve kind of madefriends. I think it’s been good all around you know.I: What do you think they’ve sort of gained from seeing, well fromliving with a variety of people?R: Well, first they were, especially the young ones, they were kindof frightened of “Y” in the wheelchair you know. It was oh. I thinkkids think could this happen to me or anything different isfrightening. So, they were frightened of her you know. They kind ofwanted to back—off and not talk to her and um now it’s oh, it’sjust “Y”. Well, “Y” is in a wheelchair. Like this person wearsglasses or you know this person is deaf. It’s oh, “Y” is in awheelchair. So, it’s been broadening for them you know, it just169• . ,And some of the older people I think it’s made that less strain.And you know, this is why I talk about ghettoing people you knowhow isolated we all are. And just being in contact with some of thereally older people has been urn, I don’t know. I don’t know how toput it. I don’t quite know how to phrase. It’s made them moretolerant. It’s opened their eyes. It’s been like educational youknow they’re just seeing the same same thing. I think it’s giventhem a wider view of the world and made them realize there’sdifferent people and it’s fine to be different. Just beingdifferent doesn’t mean you’re you’re wrong or you’re you’re funnyor you’re weird or.I: Yeah. So, there’s different ways of living and it’s all okaysort of thing?R: Sure. And it’s all okay. I think that’s what it’s done for themyou know. You don’t have to follow the rigid rules. I think that’sbeen the most important thing.I: Urn. So, that tolerance for difference.R: Yeah. Tolerance of difference age groups and just ah yeah.I: What what about for yourself-what would you say you’ve gained byliving with a diversity of people?R: Well, I know in my old place, urn you do get kind of isolatedwhen you have small children. You tend to know other people withsmall children and that’s about, especially when you’re notworking. And that’s about as far as your circle of urn friends andacquaintances goes. It just seems to be that. So, what this hasdone is really broadened you know really broadened my life too.I: So, kind of similar in a way to what you children have gained-that broadening but (brief interruption)R: Yeah. It’s hard for me to put into words. You know, I did workbefore and I knew a lot of people. I had sort of a wider world. AndI mean one thing kids, smaller kids do, when they’re really small,they narrow you know, they really narrow your world. And livinghere, has just kind of broadened things out again is what’s it’sdone which I think is really necessary.I: Right, right. It sounds like it was important to you because youmentioned that that was one of the things that you liked about thisco—op—well about co—ops in general.R: Especially about co-ops. That’s right. Or you can get....It isit’s like having blinders on you know. If you don’t have kids, it’sreally hard to describe what happens to you. (laughs) Esespecially....I guess if you’re a two—parent family and and youmaybe have somebody and you can hire baby—sitters or whatever you170can continue on with what you were continuing in. I mean thissounds really stereotyped but maybe through you husband’s friendsyou’re sort of kept in contact with the world. And, when you don’thave that, it’s as if your world just shrinks in. And without moneyjust to say well, I’ll get a baby—sitter every Tuesday and Thursdayand take this night—school course. Well, you can’t do that. I meanyou ah you just become really restricted. You know, you tend tolive in in ah poorer, sort of transient areas and and ah it’sharder to you know your immediate neighbours are coming and goingand like I said I mean I had friends, I still have the same friendsI mean but it tends to be other moms you know with kids the sameage as yours. Which is wonderful. I mean you need that kind ofsupport too. But you’re still really restricted.I: Right, right.R: So, I just feel more able to do things now. It just opens newdoors for me you know I feel much more able to urn I guess I feel aconfidence too because it really whittles away at you. Cause youforget you forget there’s a world there. So, I feel like doors havebeen opened for me. I feel more able to to get involved indifferent different things volunteering my time you know, I feellike I have this opportunity now.I: Yeah. It sounds like you feel connected with the widercommunity?R: Wider. Ah ha, ah ha. Well, I think this happens to a lot ofwomen especially if you have more than one child. You just urn...I: Cause I guess you become very focused on the children and thehome?R: On the kids. Well, you need to when they’re little. But, youneed to get out and do something else on occasion. When you don’thave the money, you just don’t you know. And so that’s where Ithink that’s where when women try to get back in the work—force.They’ve been at home for ten years or whatever and you just don’thave it—it’s like a culture shock you know. You’ve lost it. You’velost all your self—esteem and ah you’ve just lost touch completely.So, I just find the opportunities here....I: Has it, what you saying before, increased your confidence?R: Urn hum. No. No. That’s no. You don’t. You gain it back and Imean just moving in here and getting involved in the committeeslike your brain starts ticking again and you realize you can domore and more. I mean the kids getting older helps. But, still...I: Well, you need something for yourself on an adult level.R: Ah ha. Ah ha. So, that’s I guess that’s the biggest plus I’ve171found you know. Yeah. And the and the security and the safety.I: Okay. What about urn we’ve been talking mainly about benefits butwhat about urn sort of any disadvantages and I’m thinking about foryou and/or the children?R: Well, the drawback is you know that it is a community so, well,village life you know. We’ve... (laughs) You do give up someprivacy. It’s trade-off. You know, I’m willing to make that tradeoff. You know, you do give up some of it. I mean the other part ofhaving people being involved with people and having some concernand care going on is giving up a certain amount of privacy.I: Urn. Urn. Because the more involved you are, the more people knowwhat’s happening in your life—to a greater extent?R: Yeah. I mean we do all have our privacy but, I, part of part ofcaring about people is also.I: Well, being involved with them isn’t it?R: Urn hum. Sure. So, that’s that’s part of it. So, in that senseit’s quite different from living in an apartment where you justcome and go and you don’t get to know your neighbours and ah oreven a house where you don’t get to know you know. So, that’s Iguess that’s one of the drawbacks and ah I’m just trying to thinkhere. Well, sometimes sometimes you know it’s nice to have all theresponsibility sometimes you think oh gee it would nice to have amanager and have them vacuum the hall way and clean the laundryroom. You know, petty things. Oh, who wants to bother with this.I: You get a bit tired of the chores?R: Sure and and serving on the committees and I mean I don’t knowif you know anything about committees?I: Um.R: But committee work is committee work you know it’s ah takingeveryone into account and it can take an endlessly long time to dosomething.I: So, it takes real effort to live here then?R: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So, I mean you can get fed-up with that too.You always have the option of backing out of things for a whilecause there are enough people here you know that not everyone hasto be involved ah all the time. I mean you can kind of back off.I: Right.R: Yeah. I think all co-ops require you to put something into them.172That’s what makes them work and that’s why some people ah justcan’t hack it you know. If you just want to pay your rent and shutyour door and be done with it.I: People who want the benefits of affordable housing withoutputting the work into it?R: No, I mean....I: You mean the participation?R: That’s right. I mean you know there’s different. It’s not foreverybody you know some people do just want to come home from workand not be bothered with anything and have a manager, a caretakerand and just not be bothered with anything. So, that’s in allco-op housing. I think B.C. Housing is like that too. They havepaid staff like maintenance and management staff that does allthat. So, one one of the benefits is is being in charge of your ownhousing and making decisions and one of the drawbacks is you haveto put in the effort. So, it’s like anything else you have to givefor what....I: To get back?R: To get back.I: Yeah. Yeah. What about any-just going back to privacy-would youprefer to have more privacy?R: Oh, sometimes I guess. Sometimes.I: It sounds like you’re saying that you you value things that comewith the community more than you mind giving—up some of yourprivacy-would that be fair to say?R: Yeah. Yeah.I: Yeah. Yeah. What about within your own suite here—in terms ofhaving some personal privacy from your children?R: I would urn I would like another bedroom. (laughs) But, urn.I: (laughs) Yeah. Yeah. Cause you have three bedrooms and threechildren?R: Three. Three bedrooms and three children so...it’s ah it wouldbe nice to have a bedroom for each kid but there are no fourbedrooms here and I don’t really want to move. I mean there arefour bedrooms in other co—ops but I I don’t want to move. So.Yeah. I think it would be nice to have another bedroom. So, itwould always be nicer to have more space. I mean my last place, Ican’t believe it, when I moved in here, this place seemed so173gigantic to me. My last place was maybe half this size. Yeah, maybehalf this size. And ah when I moved here it was oh, what a lot ofroom (laughs) and now I’m thinking oh, maybe I’d like another room.Wouldn’t I like another bedroom. Wouldn’t I—oh, it’s human natureI guess. But, all in all, it’s not bad you know. They’re set-upquite nicely.I: Yeah. I think that would be quite a positive thing because itsounds like it’s raised your expectations of what’s suitablehousing?R: Oh, no kidding! I think I’m ruined for the ah gouging landlords!No, I just would never put up with it any more.I: Really.R: Yeah. Really I wouldn’t.I: No going back to that?R: No. No. I think you’ll find a lot of us are like that. It’s wewe lived for years we lived in these dumpy places and now, I guesswe’d be ah quite different. (laughs) He just wouldn’t get away withit any more. (laughs) Well actually, my old landlord, I made himbring my damage deposit to me. He wanted to give it to me rightaway you know he was okay that way. Well, what did I do to deserve(laughs) I think I only made him prove. Anyways, no, no you waituntil I move out and look it over and then you bring it to my newplace. I just had to have him see it. (laughs) It’s so petty but...Yeah, I really enjoyed that...thoroughly. I enjoyed that. A pettyamusement.I: Well, it’s such a change to have him come on your terms.R: Well, I wanted him to see it.I: I see.R: I really wanted him to see it. So, I showed him the roof-top.(laughs)I: Oh.R: Oh, come and I’ll show you around. And this is mine and this ismine. It must have been kind of petty-but very satisfying.(laughs)I: Yeah. (laughs) What did he say or did he?R: He was quite impressed.I: Yeah.174R: Yeah. He was. I thought you guys you should all...I: They should all see it?R: Ah ha.I: To see how different it can be?R: Sure. You know I don’t think it’s right. I don’t think it’sright to take people with the no options. I mean really the mostvulnerable people are are people whose for whatever reason they’rejust not able (brief gap in tape due to tape change) Do you know Iguess we could all go out and earn just just enough to keep us infood and clothing.I: Urn hum.R: So, these are the people that are (brief phone interruption) So,these are the people that are really you know you’re you’re in thisspot and and taken advantage of and lining a lot of people’spockets. I mean all of these hotel rooms down here, who do youthink owns them? I mean these people who own them live in reallynice places and are considered society—wise you know worth muchmore. More responsible, more respectable, more decent, somehowbetter you know contributing members of society than the people wholive in them are. You know and I thought...I: But, they’re gaining that at the expense of...R: They’re gaining that on the backs of these people. Just like mylandlord and more many like them you know. They they live in theirnice places. They are responsible you know respectable, looked upto ah citizens on the backs of people who for whatever reason findthemselves in this spot. But, it isn’t right. There should be....decent housing should be a right. You know in in...It’s a basicneed. It should be a right. Decent housing. There should be a...Ithought either we’re civilized or we’re not you know. We turn ablind eye or we don’t. But, it’s like people say oh yeah I knowpeople get in this why did they have all those kids then or oh,it’s this or it’s that but ah either you look after yeah childrenand older people either you do or you don’t. I thought why pretendthen. You know either you have basic necessities provided for oryou can always go back to you know the law of the jungle only thefittest survive. And I thought it’s just enough I mean people onwelfare or people in these rooming houses or it’s you’re alwaysjust given enough to go around but not quite not enough to livewell to sort of pull yourself up and get some confidence back.That’s what I think is wrong.I: Um. Sort of just enough to keep you...R: Enough to keep you there. This is what Jean Swanson... I don’t175know if you’re familiar?I: Yes, I have heard of...R: .,.talks about. Poverty is an industry. It’s a very bigindustry. It keeps a lot of people in in work you know is what itdoes. You walk down Powell Street here and you look at all the St.James Social Services and that and the Gospel Missions and the newhousing that’s going up for ah the church housing and It’s anindustry you know is what it is and and it also provides a sort ofcheap labour pool. People who will clean houses and....and work at the really low paying jobs—the service industry.I: So, there’s an interest in keeping people at low income?R: I believe that. I think so. It provides a lot of people withjobs. It is. It’s a very big industry and if you notice a lot ofthese so called agencies that are to help, they don’t ah they don’tempower people, they help. It’s their job—is help. And you stay atthe same level and you are the client and they are the helper youknow and that’s where you stay. It’s perpetuated. Whereas I thoughtthis place was built and urn instead of like B.C. Housing with lowincome housing built to help it it’s it’s it was built and it wasturned over to the people who live in it. So, it’s empowering.I: Empowering? Yeah.R: Sure. I mean you you feel able to do things then for yourself.It’s a start you know instead of sort of going meekly hat in handfor you next hand-out you know. I think that’s got a lot to do withit.I: It’s the difference between help which is charity and help whichis empowering you mean?R: Charity. Well, it’s just enough help is what it works to. It’sjust enough help to keep you where you’re at and no further.I: Urn. And barely that isn’t it really?R: Ah ha. You know this is and I thought this is not help. I meanit’s help. It keeps you from starving and that but it’s not help-true help would just... you know it throw help at you and I I meanif it was really help, it would be okay, fine if you need to takea course okay take this course, take it for three years, we’ll payfor it and at the end of it, you’ll be able to do something.Instead the kind of courses sponsored by welfare are... Oh, what’sone of the biggies at this point for women-re—entry-dataprocessing. In other words, you will go get key board training andperhaps ah Word Perfect or something and then you can go work at anoffice at a very low level again barely, barely enough pay to keepyou and kids and I thought this is helping you get into the work176force. Why not why not say yes take this. It won’t be a quickie,six month cram and out the door there you are still living justbarely you know at the poverty line. But, take this if it takesthree year fine then you will be able to to do. But, I find yeah,a lot of the so called help just keeps you, keeps you where you’reat you know I thought well, where else would the service industrycome from—the permanent service industry—not people who do it whenthey graduate for a while or while they’re going to university tosupplement their income or whatever but the kind of permanent youknow the cleaning ladies.I did that too you know where where wouldall these people come from?I: Yeah. There’s a need for people to do those jobs and they’refilling them by making sure there’s a pool of people who will takethose positions.R: Sure. And because that’s all your you’ve got the training foryou know and this is what I find with this urn computor skillscourse. I mean they’re not computor skills that would enable you toget one of the higher paying jobs or one or the more interesting orgo somewhere job and these are geared specifically at women.They’re six months real heavy duty. Urn. Because I looked into it.And I thought... (laughs)I: Urn hum. Urn hum. So, you know.R: Yeah. There is there’s these you know these compu collegesthey’re called and ah oh, there’s any number of them and they havea six month, heavy duty and they even gear the hours to schoolhours—elementary school—and welfare is more than willing to paythis. You even get grooming lessons. Grooming and you know how tolook in an office. It’s office work, Is what it boils down to. So,instead of sitting at a typewriter, you’re sitting a keyboard. Andit’s a real, heavy duty, six months and then wack there nowwelfare’s paid for your course now get a job. And I thought nowwhat kind of job. But, there’s a crying need for this so you seethat’s where the direction is.I: Yeah. So, only because there’s a need, they’re willing to payfor it?R: That’s right. And then you’ve got your help. I mean what dothese people on welfare want, they’re lazy you know they don’t wantto go out and work for the next thirty years at just enough to keepyou. Anyway, I felt most of the most of the so called help iskeeping you.I: And that you were saying that’s what made this place specialbecause it was an empowering sort of place.R: Yeah. It was built by D.E.R.A. ah or sponsored you know which isanother ah well, what’s big in the downtown eastside? Helping in177quotation marks. There’s St. James Social Services ah John Turvyand all his stuff he’s got going and D.E.R.A. But, D.E.R.A.’s theonly one that turns it over is what I’ve noticed you know. They getsomething going or anything and and then but it’s turned backover...I: To the control of the people?R: Right. They don’t want to keep sitting on it. Whereas St. James,they have something like a transition house going up here at PowellPlace. But, they everything they do you know it just perpetuates ouknow like D.E.R.A. builds this place and it’s turned over to us.There’s no more control here you know we do what we takethe balland run with it where we want. And I thought well this is the typeof thing which should be going up. You do need...I mean Iindividually, what could I do (tape inaudible) But, you do needsome sort of organization to get the ball rolling but then leaveyou know once it’s rolling-leave. And I find this is what whatD.E.R.A.’s able to do and most other’s aren’t you know they’re justnot. It’s to their gain to keep control. You get more funding thatway. You can hire more staff you know you .. .can write up bigreports—see what we do you know, so we need more money. And sothat’s what I mean by an industry. It’s a big industry.I: So, that the Four Sisters, as one of D.E.R.A.’s projects, is anexample where they’ve given people control and sort of recognizedah the....R: Right. Well, it was built under co-op regulation which is quitedifferent but still, you know, D.E.R.A. seems to be the only onesthat are able to ah sidestep that whole control.I: Urn. Urn. Yeah. They know when to let go of the control so that itwould be in the interests of the people living there?R: Right. Right.

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