Creche uses a variety of metrics to measure the impact of the mixed-income, inter-generational co-housing communities it creates.
Two-thirds of our residents have reported that living in community has had a positive impact on their financial well being.
It is quite possible that without an organization like CRECHE, I would not have any housing at all. From basic things like never being able to afford 3 months of rent in 1 month (first, last, deposit) to having to navigate Boston housing market prices, there’s no way that I can make it work financially apart from a structure like CRECHE.
Social and Mental Wellness
100% of our residents report that living with Creche has been good for them socially and mentally, with a majority saying it had been “very positive,” the highest rating in our survey.
I’m living with a great group of people. It’s a loving, supportive community for me. Not a lot of stress, drama, and hassle. We have good, decent, kind housemates. This makes things a lot easier in life.
All of our residents have reported a positive impact on their spiritual lives, with most respondents clarifying that it had been “slightly positive,” citing that this impact has come from informal relationships and support rather than through formal programming.
I find the community to be a good one to bounce ideas off of. We all have strengths and uniquenesses of experience that enrich and empower each other.
Household and Neighborhood Impact
Today’s Boston housing market is stunting the development of long-lasting relationships that are vital for well-being. The prevalence of short-term leases (particularly for students) and plummeting owner-occupancy rates have priced working families out of many areas, encouraged resident turnover and neighborhood instability, and accelerated gentrification.
In order to combat this trend, we seek housemates for whom living in community is their desired way of life rather than those for whom it would be a transitional period. For the purpose of our mission, the longer the length of stay, the better.
As of August 2018, after a twelve months of operation, the average length of residence is 10.5 months, with 60% of our initial residents continuing to a second year despite a relocation from Roxbury to Newton. We expect this number to increase as our households age.
According to The Boston Foundation’s 2017 Greater Boston Housing Report Card, 5.5% vacancy is optimal for creating a stable housing market. It’s destructive to neighborhoods for the vacancy rate to be significantly higher than that (such as when large apartment buildings are used as tax write-offs or as AirBnBs rather than as long-term housing).
On the other end of the spectrum, a vacancy lower than 5.5% is the result of a housing shortage, which causes to rents to rise faster than inflation and makes it difficult for Bostonians to find housing. Therefore, our ideal vacancy is 5.5%.
As of August 2018, our vacancy rate was 5.56%, which is right where we want it.
Cost of Rent
Rents in Boston are increasing by 5% per year, while wages are increasing at about 1.5% per year. This, along with the prevalence of student debt, means that millennials are only half as likely to own a home as their parents were at the same age. This trend is not improving, and housing sales in Boston have dropped 12% over the last decade.
Those who live in community don’t have the opportunity to accrue home equity, and therefore the viability of this way of life requires a rent substantially below market so that housemates can invest the difference in other ways, such as in IRAs. Our goal is for our rent to be as affordable as possible while still maintaining a balanced budget.
Currently, our rents are 15.6% below market rate. Over our first year, we averaged 7.78% below market, which means we are moving in the right direction. We expect this number to continue to fall in the coming year.