Living Young & Lucky: Why Freedom 35 Is A Lesson In Affordable Housing

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A young, lucky couple living their downtown Vancouver dream while preparing for semi retirement at age 35 was recently highlighted by The Province.
This couple is a model for living within our means, saving for things we desire, such as life enriching trips abroad, while enjoying a connected city lifestyle in the sought after Gastown district.

Or are they?

This couple is without a doubt responsible, and successful at achieving the life they desire, but their success hinges on a single thing – affordable housing.

Having achieved renting a CO-OP apartment in Gastown is a triumph in itself. If we consider their rent doubled, as would often is the minimum in the Gastown area, even this couple’s masterful budgeting would instantly be undone. Whether you are a supreme strategist at meal planning, forgo those after work beers and avoid other non essentials in lieu of financial planning with limited resources, rent will always be a constant, draining, monthly expense.

We mustn’t overlook how this housing CO-OP has positively affected this couple’s lives. When offering an apartment at an affordable rate, a city empowers residents to invest in themselves, their communities and provide a more positive living environment for their tax paying citizens. This couple is able to enjoy a lifestyle out of reach for many, due to a break on rent expense. Whether we talk about CO-OPs, rent control, or other measures taken to minimize the pain every day residents of Vancouver feel, the message remains consistent: affordability is essential to a healthy lifestyle.

Due in part to Vancouver’s limited CO-OPs and a lack of rent control, housing costs have long spiralled out of control. This cost inflation is not limited to Gastown, or the downtown core, but most of Vancouver.

Placed outside of this CO-OP, Celestian Rince and Stephanie Williams would not be able to enjoy their lifestyle in the neighbourhood they love, and not even ramen at every meal would be able to make up for the additional $700 (approx.) in rent the couple would be forced to pay monthly, if they abandoned that CO-OP residency.

Rince and WIlliams are an excellent example of CO-OP lifestyle working for Vancouverites who are lucky enough to have been offered CO-OP membership, and an even greater example of how irrelevant their lifestyle is to most Vancouverites.

Young and poor via Shutterstock

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Victoria Potter Writer of many things. Find me at @victoria_potter and @demiCouture on Twitter, @victoria_potter_ on Instagram and IRL all around Vancouver.
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