Does The “Youth” Budget Make Room For Toboggan Flats?

Introducing: Toboggan Flats

We’re better together.

It’s no secret that Canada has a housing crisis–availability, affordability and location are challenges for nearly every Canadian demographic. But there’s only one group that’s been left out of the conversation: young adults. But maybe, just maybe, that’s about to change.

Yesterday’s federal budget has been dubbed the “youth budget” as the governing Liberals work to rebalance the generational scales. There are some big promises on mental health, concert ticket prices and, yes, HOUSING. 

Just in time.

Youthful Cities research shows that affordability is the largest concern for young adults today, thumping even climate change: 49% of youth are most concerned about affordability and only 3% list climate change as their highest concern. The rapid acceleration of housing cost—particularly rent—is the culprit. With that in mind, we pulled together a group of experts and set out to find a solution.

In 2023, we began conversations about co-living spaces, a decades-old but often overlooked solution to a shortage in quality, affordable housing. At the time, the project was called CO•HAB Canada by Youthful Cities. 

We’ve made a ton of progress since then.

We have a new name.

Goodbye, CO•HAB. Hello, Toboggan Flats.

Toboggan Flats is built around a simple idea: we’re better together. With co-living spaces, we can help young people access housing that is not only affordable, but builds vibrant, connected communities in our cities’ downtown cores—where young people want to live, work and play. 

And it’s not only young people that benefit. Repurposing floors in office buildings for co-living is a fast, affordable, viable solution to filling vacant commercial spaces that are hollowing out our city centres. Cities get lively, engaged residents and workers. Building owners get a reliable income stream. Young people get a comfortable, affordable place to live—a place to connect at a time when they’re feeling isolated and alone. 

Win, win, win. Together.

The door is open to affordable housing… with a little help from our friends.

Repurposing vacant offices into co-living spaces is a clear and viable solution to the shortage of affordable housing. But this kind of work doesn’t happen in isolation.

We’re talking to government officials at the local, provincial and federal level to put this idea into action and get young people into affordable housing downtown. 

Our team has already identified and begun designing spaces in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary, Ottawa, and Victoria. Soon, we’ll begin talking to building owners about how long-abandoned office floors can be repurposed into profitable co-living spaces. 

We’re also pleased to be working with a team of expert partners to make Toboggan Flats a reality, including Cushman & Wakefield, Arcalogix and TMP Engineering, to name a few.

If you’re someone who can help move the needle and ensure that young people have an affordable place to live, we’d love to hear from you. To get involved, please reach out at robert@youthfulcities.com