Affordable housing is an issue that affects OCADFA members in unique and difficult ways. Artists
have historically struggled to find affordable housing that fits their income and their practice.
More than half our members are contract faculty and earn their income from making art,
teaching and other part time jobs. Access to affordable housing is a core issue that affects our
members’ lives and health. In particular, this is an issue that affects aging artists. OCADFA can
make a difference.
OCADFA is committed to building an alternative to market driven approaches to housing. We
think housing is a human right and everyone deserves an affordable and stable home. This is
why OCADFA will commit to establishing the first OCADFA housing co-op.
OCADFA’s artist housing co-op will be owned by our members for our members who are
comprised of permanent faculty, graduate students, studio technicians, IT staff, independent
artists and part/time sessional instructors.
The co-op will house up to 100 units that will be live/work studio spaces. The co-op can be a
standalone building or part of a larger construction with our units contained to one section of
the building. OCADFA’s artist housing co-op will include a street level artist-run gallery space
and a community studio making/teaching/meeting space. The curatorial focus of the art gallery
will be public art for working people with a focus on social change. The OCADFA housing co-op
will be within walking distance of OCAD university. The building will be accessible, green and
OCADFA has established the OCADFA Artists’ Housing Co-op caucus comprised of OCADFA
President Min Sook Lee, Professor Lillian Allen and OCADFA member Mary Eileen Wennekers.
The caucus has established a community advisory board comprised of members who have
experience building non-profit housing co-ops in Toronto. One of the founding community
board members is Howard Adelman, Professor Emeritus at York University and one of the
founders of Rochdale College.
OCADFA will work with Joe Cressy, the city councillor in our Ward 10 (Spadina- Fort York) who
has expressed enthusiasm and support for this project. OCADFA will identify federal, provincial
and municipal funds to support the project.