Senior Watch Old Ottawa South (SWOOS) surveyed housing needs for our community from January to March 2020. This report outlines the findings from 119 respondents.
Section 1 is an Overview. Section 2 provides the numerical survey results, Section 3 is the comments that were left. (We have deleted names or information that identify an individual.)
Section 1 - Overview
We feel that the response rate, the answers and comments indicate active interest and enthusiasm for developments in the area which support community and cooperation among residents. The survey substantiated what Senior Watch Old Ottawa South (SWOOS) has observed for some time. The neighbourhood faces a shortage of housing, both for rental and purchase. Many seniors living here want to move to smaller and newer accommodation and to stay in the area. An equal number of individuals and families want to rent or purchase in OOS. About half of the respondents currently live in the community.
Enthusiasm is demonstrated by the fact that approximately 70% of respondants left contact information and are willing to be contacted in order to either be kept informed of new developments or become involved at the early stages of the developments. (54%). The privacy of this information is being maintained by the Community Association. Those who left contact information may be contacted in the future by SWOOS if a development opportunity arises.
It was very interesting that 77 % said they would be interested in being part of a community in the building and sharing responsibility. Some qualifyed the amount of involvement in the comments. The question was very open ended as the community itself would be deciding what responsibilities each member would take on. That is encouraging for SWOOS as our primary interest in conducting the survey is to determine if seniors could enter into housing that would provide mutual support, physcially and psychologically.
The most popular uses of common space were a party/meeting/dining room (77%), exercise facilities (67%), guest accommodation and a health/medical centre. What was particularly interesting were the diversity of suggestions in the comments, such as a creative social hub to support lifelong learning, a cafe/convenience store and a community garden. Concepts related to community living and aging in place are popular. There were several comments concerned with affordability.
Section 2 - Survey Results Summary
The survey had nine questions and a final comment section.
Question 1. Do you live in Old Ottawa South ?
52 % of respondants live in Old Ottawa South
Question 2. What type of housing are you interested in ?
40 % want to rent,
17 % want to buy and
43 % are willing to do either
Question 3. How many people and in what age group would be occupying this accomodation ?
NOTE : The results from this question are not accurate. Respondants filling in the survey on a cell phone were not able to see the categories offered – Seniors, Adults, Children. However, they were able to put in numbers in three blank categories.
From what can be inferred, about half the respondants are Adults and half Seniors.
Question 4. What kind of unit would interest you ?
9 % are interested in a bachelor
28 % a one bedroom
71 % a two bedroom,
42 % a co-living space (shared kitchen and dining space, private bedroom, sitting room and bathroom)
12 % filled in Special Needs (see Section 2)
Question 5. Would you like to be involved in working with a group to advise the developer during construction of the accomodation ?
54 % Yes
43 % No
13 % provided comment or expertise (see Section 3)
Question 6 What do you think would be the best use of common space (Can chose several options :
Medical Centre or nursing station : 44 %
Party or meeting or dining room : 77 %
Kitchen : 48 %
Child care : 19 %
Adult care : 19 %
Guest accommodation : 52 %
Exercise facilities : 67 %
Other (please specify) (Text box) 16 % (see Section 2)
Question 7. Would you be interested in being part of a community in the building and sharing responsibility ?
No 14 %
Comments 12 % (see Section 2)
Question 8. Do you require a parking space ?
No 26 %
One 69 %
Two 4 %
9. If you would like to be informed of these proposed developments, please leave contact information.
75 respondants (out of 119) 63 % left their contact information.
Section 3 – Text boxes and Comments (verbatim)
Question 4: What kind of unit would interest you?
Special needs (Please specify) (12%)
- i guess it need to be designed for seniors issues
- Must have elevator or not have stairs; must be soundproof.
- Housekeeping, snow removal, property maitenance.
- at least 3 bedrooms
- accessibility friendly
- Possibly wheelchair accessible - in time
- shower, not bathtub
- 3 Bedroom minimum
- Might be a consideration in the future.
- Accessible, elevator beside stairs.
- Bathroom on main floor
Question 5: Would you like to be involved in working with a group to advise the developer during construction of this accomodation? (Note: 54% yes, 43% no)
Comments or expertise in this area? (13%)
- work experience includes accessibility and disability inclusion
- 40 years as real estate broker. Experienced in new build condo projects.
- Individual(s) which has explored cooperative and innovative housing models for some time
- Amateur builder, renovater, longtime interest in house design.
- lay interest in sustainable communities, energy efficiency and healthy housing
- Iam part of a group of seniors looking for co-housing arrangements and this seems to fit what we are looking for
- Perhaps involvement should a similar project take place in the west end.
- May right be interested but no expertise
- It would depend on how much time this requires.
- Housing committee Council Aging Ottawa
- Not sure about what is meant by this question. Input on the construction or on the design?
- experience in administration of long term care facility
- following housing initiatives internationally and need to make housing environmentally sustainable
- not looking for a new house at present
- Cohousing experience
Q 6 What do you think would be the best use of common space
Other: Please specify (16%)
- Basic workshop, Raised bed garden or green house , Basic convenience store
- Affordable grocery option, library type space with technology access
- Workshop space
- Cafe/Game/Dining Room. Also, if this was gearing towards single parents, child care is a great idea!
- art space / human connect space / a place to gather, read the paper, chat, play with kids, as a single space?
- Swimming pool
- A creative social hub a la www.thespaceottawa.ca to support belonging and lifelong learning
- Study/Office + Outdoor Garden + Playroom for Children
- studio, workshop for hobbies
- Intergenerational services that involve both children and adults
- studio or workshop space, accomodation for in-home, full-time nursing care attendant, garden. Having access to shared space allows indivual residences to be smaller.
- Learning events
- Small businesses that encourage socialization; cafe/light meals. Can discuss in greater detail
- shared laundry facilities
- hobby/studio spaces
- Workshop/ art/ music studio
- Outdoor space
- retail or services like coffee shops on the first floor like apartment at Bank and Grove
Question 7 : Would you be interested in being part of a community in the building and sharing common space?
- yes if i buy in the idea
- please contact our representative at theSpace---our longtime housing and community initiative expert
- not sure
- Light responsibiliy
- On a volunteer rather than mandated basis
- this is difficult though, as people have different standards, different priorities
- not at this time, but I would keep my mind open
- Could cohousing be listed alongside co-living
- Not sure
- being part of a condo or residents' association would be okay
- Depends what would be involved
Question 10. Any other comments or suggestions?
Lived in OOS for 25years.great place to raise children. Could be great place to grow old in.Affordability is one of the largest issues for both renters and buyers. Many places haves been built that would be lovely to live in, however people cannot afford them given that a studio apartment now costs more than $1000/month even with a decent income people cannot afford that. Access to a affordable parking space is another important issue, especially if the person needs a vehicle to get outside of Ottawa. Further access to public transit is important for many people even if they drive.
Have you spoken with the Concorde co-housing folks?
Could work out really well for single parents - the older person sharing an area with the parent could look after the child if the parent needed to work or go to class.
Age is early 40s, it didn’t allow for age selection. I think this is an amazing idea. Have tons of ideas for useful space like creative arts or a woodworking room. Or for music. A pool for aqua aerobics. I love the idea of communal spaces for cooking (I like to bake) and eating and talking. But having your own apartment. Can’t have a dog when I work and live alone but walking someone else’s sounds great. It would be nice to have people who live there teach classes that they have a skill in.
What a great idea! That is exactly what I have been looking for. I do not want to be in building reserved for seniors only. It's segregation, it's ghettoization, it's a really bad idea. Mixing the population, whether by floors or some other way is a brilliant idea. Just make sure the walls are soundproof. We should have these types of accommodations throughout the city.
The one thing I would flag, if you are looking for critical mass of people interested in co-living, is consider other demographics that might be interested. I'm polyamorous and would live with 3 other adults, each with varying needs of more or less privacy/personal space. I'm also hoping that my mom can live with us as she is a senior now. We can't simply go out and buy a 5 bedroom house, because just bedrooms aren't enough for each of us to have our own space. Thanks for the survey!
This is a fabulous idea
This is a great idea! I hope it comes to fruition.
It's a great idea. Effectively, building a village inside an apartment building that has lots of life and difference.
"the Space is a non profit initiative which serves as a creative and social hub for adults with intellectual disabilities. Our model or approach was intended and has been recognized as being easily incorporated into a housing/residential model for seniors and marginalized individuals-an essential gathering place and centre for any collective residential setting. More info:
The survey may not address the needs of multi-generations as it is the link to the survey is via <are you a senior in OOS?>, but ideally - and if for multi-generations (including families, students, etc.) their needs will be addressed. May need for other means of getting their input.
Can we do one in the Glebe too?
This survey to too narrowly focused. It misses the opportunity for seniors currently living in the area to comment more broadly on the housing needs in OOS. There is clearly a need for more residential units in the area to suit all types of families, but these should be carefully integrated in the current neighbourhood, ideally along Bank St, and not involve the destruction of existing housing stock.
I think it could be limited to ppl who, otherwise, are stretched financially to afford decent accommodation.
I own a duplex, on a 50 x 100 lot in OOS that could be severed and developed. Open to suggestions for options moving forward.
This is exactly the kind of development that many seniors, and families, and perhaps students are looking for. We form a community, take care of each other. I am part of a group looking for exactly this kind of development.
This kind of development will be important in all areas of the city to allow seniors to age in their own communities. It would be ideal if management of the development was in the hands of the residents - including when and by how much to increase rents.
I am interested in something along these lines for 10 years or so from now.
I work for a community newspaper, the Peace & Environment News, and am interested in this topic professionally as well as personally.
I am currently part of Convivium Cohousing but am interested in exploring other options. I live in the Glebe.
Although I do not live in Old Ottawa South I live close by, in the Glebe, and frequent the library and shops in OOS. I think this is a fantastic idea.
This is a terrific idea. My husband and I have raised young kids in cooperative housing and the mix was beneficial to all age groups.
We have no immediate interest in living in such a development but think it's a wonderful idea that Ottawa needs more of! Inter-generational living and a strong sense of community are so important. Incorporating both affordable housing with more expensive units also also for important connections between citizens in different social economic situations. Family-size units would be critical. Wishing your initiative much success.
When are you anticipating Swoos would be ready to live in? What would the cost of varying places be in rent or purchase?
Thanks for exploring an interesting idea
In #6 above, the building could lease out the spaces in the common area to young entrepreneurs, take a joint ownership with portion of the business profits used to cover some costs of the building.
i am presently involved in seeing to develop a seniors co-housing project under the auspices of the CONVIVIUM group.
Just like to let you know I am a sixty-one year old widow, when I read this article in the Oscar I got excited as I like the idea of living in situation where I will be with other folks who need and want companionship as I do and I am very willing to help where and when needed,though just to let you know I am active in a weekly knitting group.
I live in Centrtown, but am very familiar with Ottawa South.
"A priority for me would be common space outside as well as inside. Areas for a garden, sitting, BBQ, outside dining, for example.
Thanks for doing this. Great idea."
We're currently in a cohousing situation, we co-own a duplex with another couple, but believe this is a great idea and something we would like to be part of when were older (currently in 30s). The health benefits of being part of a community such as this and the support of neighbours and friends as we raise children and age is so important. Congrats and good luck on this awesome initiative!
I didn’t understand the multiple spaces for spaces question
Although there are a variety of housing options, affordable renting is my preference. Co-housing and condos are out of my affordable range.
Am thinking of a women's house with women able to look after themselves, like the French Babayaga house I saw a long time ago. They ran their own place with their own rules. The French Government funded them, as they would any retirement home.
shared/common outdoor green space for potlucks etc.
Not interested in moving before 5 - 10 years from now
Old Ottawa South could be a frontrunner in new creative living spaces for seniors who do not want to live in traditional multi storey condo buildings. As I approach that stage of life, I am more aware of what I want and sadly, what is not available.
Guest parking needed to (when "children" visit)
I live on GIS ($1500/month) so would like to live in a rent-to-income building.
Appreciate the work being done by OSCA members.
"- I would like to live in a rental apartment on Bank Street in OOS. The ZBL for TM15 -2 stipulates that the ground floor consists of retail space. In this retail space I would like to see a storefront for medical services available to the general public and an exercise facility
- inside the apartment, in the open lobby space, I would like see a welcoming space that would invite casual as well as formal meetings of tenants"
i have commented on several housing projects over the past several years all to no avail since developers do what they want. But we do want to stay in the neighbourhood (been here over 50 years) and will have downsize within the next three years.
Why do the options stop at two bedroom? There should be some larger units too.
"I appreciate this questionnaire! It would be wonderful to use the Margaret Mary Church site.
Would it be possible to send a team door to door to elicit more participants in the survey?
It would be good to know the natural features desired around these homes."
It would be nice to offer very basic units - most people (especially seniors?) don't need jacuzzi's, huge bathrooms and 15+ kitchen cupboards. Look at some of the Unitarian House apartments for example.
"I am currently an active and healthy 76 but in five years, who knows?
I hope to stay in my two-storey house as long as possible. But even though I can live in the downstairs at some point if necessary, the day is likely to come when the house is too much for me and I will want an apartment in Old Ottawa South. The proposed development on Bank Street opposite the library is of likely interest to me.
Mixed age housing with common social and kitchen areas appeals to me."
Our household consists of two newly senior and a semi-independent adult who live in a modest detached house in the area. As we age, we may eventually be in the market to rent or buy a relatively economical (for the central Ottawa area) 2-bed and 1.5 or 2-bath lowrise (four to six storey) apartment or townhouse with parking, preferably in or near OOS. With our two-generation family, we would be unlikely to choose to live in either a highrise or communal housing
by Carolyn Inch on behalf of the Housing Committee, Seniors Watch of Old Ottawa South