One big happy house

While some may shudder at the idea of having roommates once into adulthood, for several Kamloops residents, sharing a home has worked out great.

The idea for the RareBirds Housing Co-operative, a shared house for seven adults, arose in 2011, after Mary Jordan and a friend watched a documentary called ‘How to Boil a Frog.’

“It was looking at how we get used to living certain ways even though it’s not a healthy way of living,” Jordan said. “One of the things that came up was the use of co-op housing.”

Several of Jordan’s friends got together and by February 2015, they had built a 6,000 sq. ft. home near downtown Kamloops.

“It’s a lovely piece of property,” said Jordan. “We’re on about a half-acre property very close to downtown. We can walk downtown from our home in about 20 minutes. There’s a creek that runs below us.”

Everyone shares a kitchen and multipurpose room, but has their own private bedroom and living area, as well as their own bathroom.

But this co-op house isn’t quite the same set up as Animal House. All of the members of the house are between the ages of 50 and 73 years old.

“We all have some life experience,” Jordan said. “We all have an investment, not only in our home but in making this work, so we’re all mindful of that.”

And while living in close quarters hasn’t been all smooth sailing, Jordan says the positives have outweighed the negatives.

“I’m not going to say it hasn’t been without its challenges, it certainly has, but it is about relationships and managing relationships,” said Jordan. “Having the support is another thing we’ve all felt over the years we’ve been together... one of our members lost his brother, and a father passed, and kids divorced and so people have felt really supported.”

Jordan says reducing their ecological footprint was a factor in deciding to go the co-op route.
“Everybody has their own washer and dryer and fridge and stove and yada, yada, yada, and we thought, ‘what a wasteful way to live',” she said. “Plus it’s more fun to live in a community or at least with other people.”

One of the original members of the co-op has recently “flown the coop,” according to Jordan, and they’re looking for someone new to take the spot.

The co-op doesn’t rent out rooms though. Anyone interested in the co-op will have to pony up $225,000 for an equitable share in the house and property.

For Jordan and her housemates, it’s definitely been worth it.

“We’re a large family of adults.”

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