Lets Build the Village Together!
A healthy social life is found only when, in the mirror of each soul, the whole community finds its reflection, and when, in the whole community, the virtue of each one is living.
Guelph has one of the strongest and most vibrant real estate markets in the country. Guelph is an ideal location, close to Toronto, Niagara, with easy access to cottages and skiing in Grey County. With a vibrant downtown, thriving local economy, and healthy University enrolment, Guelph real estate is a hot commodity. Sadly, the current housing boom makes home ownership unobtainable for many. At the JVG we are looking at ways to change this and create perpetual affordability for all our members.
We know that real estate inside of a resilient, alive community makes it even more valuable. When people love their spaces, and the neighbourhood they live in, they take care, renovate and improve houses and landscapes. What we envision is a whole network of ways to create long term homes in the 'hood that can adapt to peoples life stages and need.
To achieve this we have created the Junction Village Community land trust (JV-CLT). The JVG-CLT provides alternative land ownership and management to protect the community space and affordability for residents and members of the Junction Village Guelph. The JV-CLT will acquire land in the community—either by purchasing land directly or through donations of land and buildings, or money to purchase land. This land is held in perpetuity so that it can always be used for housing the people who make up the community.
A central premise that the JV-CLT will deliver on is to build community wealth rather than individual wealth. It creates a way for all people to contribute skills and finances to allow their money to create places to live. This functions as a mechanism to remove the lands we are stewarding and living on from the speculative real estate market and gentrification pressures. Instead, the land is held in perpetuity by JV-CLT for the community purpose to secure long-term affordability and community control over the spaces we all call home.
Another example is that we have created relationships with a network of landlords in the area. The JVG attracts really high quality, caring people who wish to be part of the magic of what is happening here. These people also happen to make excellent tenants. We have created many ways that we connect the people who want to live here with opportunities to rent privately in the local area and be linked to the central hub of the JVG.
These are two examples of the types of solutions we are creating. It’s a win, win, win to infuse a thriving community with owners, renters and investors.
The core of the JVG is an inter-connected collective of people living in a wide variety of housing. Some people rent short-term co-living spaces, one or two bedroom apartments, or stay in a local urban cottage. Some people have long term leases, renting private rooms or apartments; and some people have purchased houses in the neighbourhood.
The overarching vision and intention of the Junction Village Guelph is to transform how we live in urban spaces and an important part of that is to recognize housing, not as a wealth investment reserved for the rich, but as a need for all.
One example has been to create different community land ownership structures through the use of a community land trust. Community land trusts are non-profit organizations that have a goal to control, obtain, steward and hold land to solve problems the pure markets often struggle with. The benefits of community ownership are that it builds permanent community wealth, is mission driven (versus profit driven), builds community resilience, involves the community, and preserves land. The word investment usually makes us think in monetary terms. In the model outlined here the investment opportunity is beyond monetary, and includes an investment in the future of the community and ways to build strong trusting and deep relationships together.
Access to a diverse range of places to stay allows a variety of people to participate in the community, no matter their circumstances. The vision here is to create easy opportunities for people to experience the community -- to come in, and to exit as needed, so that we foster a rich, accessible, multi-generational collective.
The challenge and opportunity here is continuing to expand the available spaces for short and long term rent or ownership that is perpetually affordable. We are always looking for ways to facilitate efficient connections between people who want to live here and houses that are available.
There is an opportunity for investors to purchase properties as local, good, impact investments -- investments that make a difference, and make a good return. If you are a local landlord reach out and be part of what is happening here. If you have ideas for how what's been started can move to a different level then we would love to hear about it. We know that we are better together and we are keen to learn from models that are out there and working so that we can weave together more homes for people to be part of the JVG.
The Junction Village website acts as a community hub, a digital hub, that helps to facilitate matching people who want to invest, with potential properties, and support in property management to take care of the investment. We are in the process of exploring a range of investment opportunities: the creation of the community land trust, loans as promissory notes with interest rate return, purchasing properties directly with management support; help finding great tenants, who are interested in being part of the community; crowdfunding as a way for anyone to invest small amounts, and be part of the ownership of spaces. We will continue to hold brainstorming sessions and community meetings to explore and evolve these creative impact investment options. We hope you will be part of helping us find solutions together!