Common House, Munksøgard Cohousing Communities, DEN © Kristopher Stevens, 2018
Cohousing Options Canada is a 360º non-profit cohousing consultancy that assembles all the different ingredients needed to build happy, healthy and sustainable cohousing communities. We do everything to help you live the life you deserve: happy, healthy and in community with the people you like best.
We are good at what we are doing because we share your vision of living better, together. But that’s not all. Through our diverse team and network of consultants we assemble the entire skill set to build high-function cohousing communities. Cohousing communities that actually become a reality and move into their new homes in a blink.
Kristopher is a community builder focused on advancing a more sustainable future for his son, family, friends and the people of Canada. He is an experienced leader and advisor in the field of sustainability with more than 15 years experience. Kristopher specializes in developing and implementing strategies that bring together commercial, public, indigenous and community partners to create individual, social, economic and ecological value. Highlights from his career include: spurring seniors community living through alternatives to living alone and in institutions, serving seven years as the Executive Director of the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association, initiating Ontario’s successful Green Energy and Economy Act campaign, recruiting executives for Fortune 500 multinationals in Asia and researching economic reform in Africa and the sensitive topic of social friction in Ontario’s electricity sector.
Director of Community Development
Coming from a family of architects, builders, property managers and teachers it is no surprise that Mark’s deep passion and drive for Cohousing is foremost. Also being a successful social entrepreneur marries well both aspects – community and property. Mark has served as the Regional Vice President of Sales for the largest property management company in North America, founded and worked as the CEO of a B Corp global top 100 renewable energy company, and led the fundraising of a Toronto drop in centre – Wychwood Open Door. Cohousing Options Canada’s cohousing model keeps Mark busy. It’s wonderful to build community, to help cohousing groups create the homes and neighbourhoods they design together and to get them built!
Director of Communications
Maike Althaus is a global communications expert with extensive experience leading and managing integrated communications initiatives. Maike has always been an advocate for sustainable living, social justice and community driven initiatives. After obtaining her certification as a Public Relations Consultant in Germany in 2008, she was hired by a global communications and public engagement consultancy. Managing the outreach activities of several large-scale public participation and stakeholder engagement projects, she experienced the incredible power of community. As many of these projects had focused on energy and sustainability questions, she soon transitioned into the North American sustainable energy sector. As Communications & Government Relations Director for a global renewable energy company, she supported its growth across the continent for over seven years. In late 2018, Maike founded her own communications consultancy, Newhaus Communications, focusing on purpose-driven and sustainability oriented businesses. While still working with clean tech organizations, Cohousing Options Canada naturally ties into her consulting network and portfolio. Her wide-ranging expertise includes: Advocacy, On- and Offline Stakeholder Engagement, Media Relations, Social Media Management and Corporate Publishing.
Michel (Mike) Labbé is the CEO and General Director of Options International and Cohousing Options Development Consultant. Mike is an Urban and Regional Planning Graduate from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada. He has been involved in the production of affordable housing for 35 years, the first 13 working on subsidized rental projects with Lantana Non-profit Housing Corporation. A trip to work in the Townships of Johannesburg, South Africa and the disappearance of government grants contributed to Mike’s shift in focus to cost-effective ownership housing.
In 1992, Mike founded Options for Homes Non-Profit Corporation. As President of Options For Homes Non-profit Corporation, Mike has been instrumental in developing a model that can provide mixed income housing to thousands of households without any permanent government subsidy. Options for Homes has become a leading organization in the Social Enterprise movement and has provided homes to over 6500 households across Canada. The Options housing model is now also being adopted abroad in 6 countries across the world to-date.
Board of Directors
Mission, Vision, Values
Our mission is to help Canadians live better, together through Cohousing. We do this by helping cohousing groups and like-minded individuals realize a lifestyle that maximizes both privacy and community.
Kristopher, Mark and Maike share a personal commitment and the deep desire to help Canadians lead happy, healthy and sustainable lives that respect our environment as well as our human need to live in community with others. The reality of our work lives, the world’s digitalization, our aging society, decreasing family sizes and other factors keep us isolated from each other, leading a life in bubbles. This often makes life much harder than it should be.
All of us have experienced loneliness and isolation as well as the incredible power of community. That’s where our strong belief in cohousing as a solution for a happier, healthier and more sustainable life stems from.