OWN’s Record of Advocating for Affordable Housing

The Older Women’s Network (OWN) is a nonprofit feminist organization that is a “Voice for Mid-Life and Older Women Learning and Working Together.” Throughout its history, OWN has joined with others to advocate for a national housing strategy and to encourage provincial and municipal authorities to increase their support for affordable housing. After many years of advocating for housing, in 1997 OWN was able to contribute directly to affordable housing by creating a co-op, the OWN Housing Co-op, a 142-unit building at 115 The Esplanade, Toronto.

Continuing their work, in 1998 OWN released its “Study of Shelter Needs of Abused Older Women” [see Note below], and in 2000 it published results of a three-year study, “The Housing Factor Project: Housing Needs of Mid-Life and Older Women” [see Note below], which was based on a survey in six locations throughout Ontario. OWN also formed a partnership in Peterborough to provide affordable housing for six mid-life women.

OWN brought women together in October 2009 for a public Housing Forum, “Options and Priorities for Affordable Housing,” which led to OWN’s submission to the Ontario Government Recommendations to: The “Expert Series” Consultations to Develop Ontario’s Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy. For a summary of the Housing Forum see Affordable Housing Report 2009.

Currently the OWN Housing Committee continues to advocate at all levels of government as it searches for affordable housing solutions through research, Housing Tours and the free lecture series, “What Really Works in Creating Affordable Housing?” See the OWN Housing Literacy Series for summaries of presentations.


“Study of Shelter Needs of Abused Older Women,” 1998, Executive Summary.

“The Housing Factor Project: Housing Needs of Mid-Life and Older Women,” 2000, Executive Summary and Recommendations.

Complete copies of these older studies are not available in digital form, but reference copies can be found at the Toronto Reference Library, and at the OWN office in the Alfreda Mordas Reading Room.

How You Can Participate

Since 2010 the OWN Housing Committee has been working hard to discover how groups, both nonprofit and profit, build affordable housing. We have shared this information with the public through our free educational program: Housing Literacy Series: “What Really Works in Creating Affordable Housing,” and now through our web page: Housing, Affordable for All.

The OWN Housing Committee is currently searching for new members, at all levels of skills and responsibilities, to help us continue our important work. There are a wide variety of “behind the scenes” jobs where someone can get started, or if you wish, you may want to consider sitting on the Housing Committee. Please contact the OWN office and we will be happy to arrange an “informational meeting” with a Housing Committee Member. We will search for something that suits your skills and meets your comfort level.

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Page last updated: Apr. 2, 2013

Files: OWN’s Record of Advocating for Housing-ed.doc
How You Can Participate-Apr 31 2012ed.doc