ALTERNATIVE HOUSING

or Bullshit?

Canada is 150 years old this year. But we still are fighting bullshit...

This website is devoted to uncovering bullshit in Canada and suggesting a way to fix it. When we consider the term "Alternative Housing" the first thing you need to remember is that not all of it is a bad idea and not all of it is bullshit. In our book at UnReal-EstateCanada.com  we explained that alternative real estate was now an option in Canada.  For example in the past we lived on a large sailboat on the Pacific Coast of Canada and we enjoyed a great life style. We also lived in a trailer and a large motorhome and again the lifestyle was great. These are all examples of alternative lifestyles that work quite well. But here is the problem. The term is being used to cover well over a dozen or two different housing ideas and some ideas are good while others are you guessed it -just bullshit!  And there are people out there attempting to make a considerable profit on alternative housing which unfortunately defeats one of the main objectives which is cost. So keeping that in mind that the term "alternative housing" has some good and some bad ideas lets start. 

Renting your car or truck out for tourists or workers to live in on city streets and parks.  Yes this is being done. One example that I saw in Toronto involved a man renting out his SUV with a mattress in the trunk area for $15 a night or $315 a month. So you could visit Toronto and instead of paying $150 or $200 a night or more for a hotel you could rent out his vehicle to sleep in for less money than your would pay in taxes on a hotel bill. I also noticed a person in Vancouver renting out his vehicle for $35 a night and again the same idea applies. There was a story recently about a man in New York city renting out his vehicle for overnight sleeping.  So what we have here is a trend and some cities are changing their laws to allow this. The reason is that there is no affordable housing for people in a lower income area if they visit a city with high overnight hotel rates. I regard this as pure bullshit. I do not have a problem where a city allows a person to sleep in their vehicle overnight but I do have a problem when a person uses this as an opportunity to generate money and money very likely where cash is exchanged and no taxes are generated.

There is a very real need here. Imagine that you have a new job in a Canadian city and you are being paid minimum wage which is about $11.25 an hour. After deductions you would be lucky to make $70 a day.  But if you are staying in an inexpensive hotel you might need to pay per night more than you make in wages. So what do you do? You have a problem.  What some people are doing is living in their vehicles. This is not right. This is bullshit.  So what do we do? 

There needs to be alternative low priced housing available in Canada. Not fancy. Not the same size as regular homes or condos or apartments. But we desperately need affordable housing for people that cannot afford other rental properties. It needs to be tied to the minimum wage. My suggesting is that the daily cost would not exceed the minimum hourly wage in that province. So if the minimum wage was $11.25 an hour the alternative low priced housing would be $11.25 a day.

Now here is the problem. As we point out in our book UnReal-Estate Canada  there are three levels of government in Canada -Municipal, Provincial and Federal and each of them and several other participants in Real Estate all have their hands out to collect taxes and fees for services with the result that real estate in Canada is our largest single source of GDP. As an example people are attempting to sell micro houses on wheels that are surprisingly expensive when compared to price one might pay for a new or used travel trailer of the same size.  So there need to be changes for low priced alternative housing because you cannot have that service to Canadians and still expect to collect all those taxes and fees for services. And you cannot exert the same rules and regulations on alternative housing as you do with other types of housing. And so everyone involved must get together as a team and make those changes. And that will end the bullshit in alternative housing while still allow the good ideas in alternative housing to exist and prosper.

Liveaboard Vessels

I recently reviewed some articles on a type of alternative housing that I once practiced. We owned a large sailboat 40' LOD, 56 ' LOA that we lived on for several years in BC. We became familiar with the liveaboard population in BC and at that time in the 1980's there were dozens of liveaboard boats in the Victoria area at Fisherman's Wharf and in a couple of other marinas. But as the land value went up so did the cost of mooring and over time most of the liveaboards at Fisherman's wharf were moved out for float homes and commercial vessels. At one time some boat owners who could not afford liveaboard rates at the marina lived on their boats in the Gorge and again over time there was pressure placed on them to move out. Why? The folks who owned very expensive waterfront properties did not want to see boat owners anchored a few feet off the shore living there for free. They complained. And this occurred in several marinas up the Island. As a result it has become more and more difficult for a boat owner to find a place to anchor their boats for free. And the sad part of this story is that we have a lifestyle which went back over a hundred years which is now very difficult if not impossible to enjoy today. The value of the vessels varies very much from almost free to several million dollars. 

What we really need for alternative housing on liveaboard vessels are areas where they can moor and dock. Instead what our three levels of government are allowing is for condo and residential builders to take over all the waterfront area. When you have a boat you need a place to do repairs, take it out of the water, fuel it up, tie it up, and you need a place to purchase supplies and this means you need dock space and land pace near the docks not a few feet you need several hundred feet and several acres on land and in Canada despite having the longest coastline in the world where this sort of orgainiztion should be entirely possibly we have destroyed the rights of Canadians to live on their boats by severely limiting land, by charging very high rates and by establishing rules and regulations and fees for services and taxes that make living aboard a vessel very expensive. Too expensive. 

The part I really find frustrating is that this is a lifestyle that some boat owners love and some have been living on their vessels for decades and yet our modern society is placing huge pressures on them to end this way of living. With the huge costs in real estate today this is a good example of alternative housing that could actually work very well if our levels of government were better organized and understood the process. As a Publisher if I had the time and opportunity I would love to travel up the west and east coasts and investigate today's status of Canadians living on their vessels. We even have liveaboards in Toronto and they have protection against ice during the winter months. I think it would be wrong to allow the municipalities to control liveaboards and when our liveaboards are located on our ocean coast lines we should have that controlled by the federal not provincial governments. There is a huge story here and not enough space on this web page to cover it all.  If you are interested start doing some research and I think you will find the topic very interesting if you are interested in alternative housing.  In the USA it is possible to purchase a dock space but in Canada it remains under government control and they use it to generate taxes and fees for services.  

Here is a link to several different books on alternative housing which you will find very interesting.  

 

 

 

 

If like me you have concerns about the alternative housing occurring in Canada and the problems in housing that it reflects then please write your Member of ParliamentPremiers and Prime Minister

 


 

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