Collective Houses are residences where inhabitants share more than just space, but often food, backyard produce grown, household chores, and sometimes money. These houses espouse collective, non-hierarchical values, believing the mutual support provided strengthens both individuals and communities.
In some cities, networks of collective houses have been established to facilitate organizing, connect people, and to learn from each other’s experiences.
There are three major sub-types of collective houses: (1) Activist Houses, (2) Punk Houses, and (3) Catholic Worker Houses.
1. Activist Houses
An activist house is a residential house or apartment that a group of activists share together. These houses often serve as activist hubs, acting as creative spaces and hosting events such as meetings and film screenings. These residences provide both mutual support and networking opportunities for resident activists, while providing them with an affordable and cost-effective residence.
2. Punk Houses
Punk houses are residences comprising of those who identify with the punk sub-culture, and are sometimes squatted. These houses have many features of communes, often serving as crash-pads for others, while residents often share expenses such as food and live in relatively close quarters with each other. Many punk houses have specific ideologies, often anarchism, straight-edge, or vegan. Punk houses often serve as hubs for the local punk scene, hosting bands and concerts.
3. Catholic Worker Houses and Faith Houses
The Catholic Worker movement is an egalitarian and communitarian movement founded in 1932 centred and originating from the Catholic faith and drawing heavily from anarchist thought. The movement is centred on communal housing — residents live simple lives dedicated to helping the poor, resisting war and fighting social injustice. Each house is autonomous and there is no global or regional Catholic Worker headquarters. Income for the house can come from in-house business activities, or from residents working outside jobs. There are currently 200 houses in the United States, 6 in Canada and 2 in Mexico. Modeled off the Catholic Worker Houses, there are a few mulch-denominational Faith Houses that now exist in North America, such as Faith House Ottawa.