Pre 2012 house structure and vision
Purpose and structure
We are an easy-going intentional community house that started about 14 years ago. Since September 2007, the house operates on a non-profit basis. Extra money is donated to charity – currently our focus is sponsoring the Veggie Challenge, a charitable project that assists people who want to try a vegetarian or vegan diet. Our house also offers rent credits to residents who are keen to volunteer on this project.
The overall vision is an environmental/spiritual house-community with a focus on selfless service.
• To promote a healthy vegetarian lifestyle as an important way to preserve wilderness and reduce pollution. (a vegetarian diet requires seven times less land than a standard NA diet).
• To explore eating and living in a way that best honours the Earth (such as local organic foods, reducing use of plastic, and promoting bicycles).
• To value animals and people with compassion and dignity.
• To create an environment that nurtures spiritual understanding and insight.
• To practice and support selfless heart-felt service (to others, Earth, God, etc).
• To explore ways to make community living easy, simple and enjoyable (such as time-saving ways to share cleaning and cooking).
We are located on a quiet street just west of Ossington and south of Bloor (1 block from Ossington subway station). We have a large tree-shaded front porch, backyard garden, and comfortable common spaces. Our three-storey house has rads and a gas stove. There are seven bedrooms and two bathrooms. High speed internet is included in the pricing. There is a community computer available in the basement. We recently purchased an infrared cedar sauna for the house using our house fund money.
Environmental features include using Bullfrog power (sustainable electricity supplier), energy-efficient fridge, front load washing machine, clothes line for drying, low flush toilets, efficient fireplace insert where on cool nights we can burn scrap wood that would otherwise be trucked to landfill, a garden that provides greens, herbs, beans, peas, berries, grapes, and other edibles. We also have a low-on-the-food-chain vegetarian (vegan-friendly) kitchen with an emphasis on organics and locally-grown foods. There are large shade trees in the front and back and we have two kinds of ivy growing out our south-facing side wall.
In our kitchen, basic food ingredients are shared, but everyone has some space in the fridge and cupboards for personal beverages, breads, packaged cereal, snacks, and other convenience foods. When people feel like cooking they generally make some extra for others.
Since June 2010, we have started a new vegetarian meal sharing system. Each of the seven people who live here cooks one night a week.
We have monthly house meetings.
The house operates on a non-profit basis. Rental amounts pay for the fixed costs (insurance, mortgage, taxes, repairs, renovations, internet, and basic phone line). All of the rest of the money goes towards charitable projects. Currently we are sponsoring the Veggie Challenge.
$35 a month ($250 starting May 2012) goes into a house fund managed by the house fund treasurer. Residents decide how to spend the money. Currently the fund is used for floor cleaning, kitchen equipment, plants, decorating, etc.
Rent – The base amount is around $425/month and includes everything (utilities, internet, and a basic land line for outgoing calls). See our pictures page for costs of each room. From the rent money a charity/subsidy fund is supported. There is a $10 rebate for paying on time and by etransfer. There is a slightly higher rental amount of $25 for the winter verses the summer to reflect the higher heating costs, and to reimburse people if the actual utility costs are less than projected.
Donation/subsidy fund – The house generates extra money that is donated to charity or used to provide financial support so people don’t need to work full time and can have more time to devote to service. Subsidies involve a commitment to doing extra service. Currently our focus is sponsoring the Veggie Challenge.
Other considerations – no smoking on the property especially near windows, no meat in the kitchen or bbqued outside. Respect for fish and oceans. If you eat eggs, please only buy ones that are as free-range and organic as possible. The same goes for cow’s milk and other dairy products. Please avoid using products with strong chemical smells or concentrated scents. Most of us are not into having the sounds of television or commercial radio in the home.
For more information check out (these items are a couple of years out of date):
House polices (also available as a pdf or text document by request)
De MOU July18.docx (Memorandum of Understanding – word document)
The 2007 vision
An environmental/spiritual house-community with a focus on selfless service.
Written by Steve in Aug. 2007
Probably for 99% of people, their main objective is focused around the self. Having a good time, achieving personal goals such as finding a decent job, an attractive partner, respect and honour, enough money to do everything they want to do, or even a spiritual practice or exercise program that is personally fulfilling. Essentially to satisfy one’s senses, mind, body, soul, etc.
Then there are a few people who are more interested in pursing a life of service – focusing on how they can help others, the Earth, animals, serving God, etc. A desire to do this has to come from within. I am hoping to find people for the house who are already on this path, or have had a taste and want to move in this direction.
I don’t know what will take shape – perhaps a supportive place for activists or a spiritually-focused place. People may be into environmental service, animal rights, spiritual activities, etc. Hopefully at the core, will develop service that comes from the heart.
Some people seem to get stuck in angry activism that can lead to burn-out. The service work that I envision is a more sustainable variety that is done out of compassion for people, the planet, animals, spirit/God.
What ever form the house takes will be unique due to the combination of a variety of individuals living together. The common thread holding it together will hopefully be a desire for service.
Practically it might involve people supporting each other, cooking for each other, and working to create a positive home environment, doing renovation projects in the house, leading a yoga session, volunteering outside the house, earning extra money to donate to charities, etc.
Regarding projects in the house, one possibility is writing, proofing, editing, creating for a blog I am interested in getting going: Delicious Earth. Currently I blog for www.veg.ca, and that is another good project that people are welcome to get involved with.
If this kind of house/life interests you, great! But I want to be clear that I am not the kind of person that is good at inspiring others. I am not much of a leader really. So what we need at least in the beginning is people who are already part-way on a path of service.
Currently, the house generates a profit that is has been saved for renovations and donated to charity over the years.
Update (Nov 2007): In the first few months since September, some of us have worked together on a couple of renovations projects, we have established our Sunday night vegan dinners, and we have contributed a few hundred dollars each month to charity. Individually, at least some of us help out with various charities or spiritual groups. But, the vision I had of everyone coming together to work in selfless service on creating a blog or other shared projects/activities has yet to come about.