[Editor’s Note: Following is an article that was prepared for the Black Press News network.]
Cohousing community makes home ownership more affordable and supportive for all ages and abilities.
“Many people think that autism is a disease. But it’s really not; I just work differently. Some things are easier and others are harder.” So says Christian Burton, a lifelong resident of Langley and spokesperson for Special Olympics BC.
For years, Chris thought that living on his own – something most people take for granted – might not be possible. But then he discovered Compass Cohousing, a new development located near the corner of 203rd Street and 66th Avenue in Langley. He’ll live in his own two-bedroom condo, and share skills, friendships, meals and more with his neighbours at the creative community.
“Cohousing is like living within a village, inside the bigger community of Langley. Everyone there is ready to support you, and you’re ready to help them if they need anything,” he says.
Chris first learned of Compass Cohousing through the Inclusion Langley Society, an organization that provides services for children with developmental or support needs and adults with intellectual disabilities or autism spectrum disorder. The organization plans to purchase a number of units as a way to help their clients live more independent lives.
Chris, who currently relies on his family for support, sums it up well. “Having the Cohousing community allows me to live on my own.”
Spirit of collaboration
Compass Cohousing is a collection of 40 self-sufficient Strata titled homes surrounding a green space and the heart of the project – the Common House. It’s a shared place for all residents that offers a children’s playroom, music room, workshop, craft spaces and even a co-working space for those who work from home.
The community – the second in Langley and one of more than a dozen in BC – welcomes residents of all ages and abilities, including seniors, families and single adults like Chris. Each owns their own private home, and enjoys the benefits of having trusted friends right next door. There’s a spirit of collaboration, with neighbours sharing skills and experiences for the community’s benefit.
“I’m excited to have neighbours around. I can listen to music in the music room or maybe learn how to play an instrument. I may help teach people sports, or maybe gain new sports,” Chris says.
Chris is also excited at the central location of Compass Cohousing, just a block away from Costco, Walmart, Best Buy and other shopping. He enjoys going for walks and exploring his community, and says his new home is “close to everything.”
With more than half of the 40 homes now reserved, Compass Cohousing has recently begun to add new members faster than ever before. Still, there are good options available for both young families, those enjoying their golden years and singles like Chris.