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French startup Commune introduces co-living for single-parent families

Co-living is common among young professionals, but what about single parents? An Orléans-based startup believes communal housing can provide huge benefits to those raising kids on their own.

Commune offers rental apartments for single parents with one or two children, within a shared building. Each family's private unit is furnished and features a kitchenette, bathroom and bedrooms for the parent and their offspring. Residents share a large kitchen/living area, playroom, laundry room and garden or terrace. 

Included in the rent are high-speed internet, streaming services like Netflix and Disney+, cleaning of shared spaces,  DIY help and legal assistance. For an extra fee, parents can access babysitting, meal prep, activities for kids, ironing and transportation to school.

Two buildings are currently under development, with the first to open in September 2023 just outside Paris. Commune plans to expand to 500 buildings within a decade, each housing between 20 and 25 families. The startup is targeting people earning between EUR 35,000 and 55,000 annually, with rent starting at EUR 1,190 a month, including fees and services.

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In France, one out of four families is single-parent, which increases to one in three for those in the Paris region. Single parenthood is a leading cause of financial hardship, given the cost and shortage of housing, the risks of social exclusion and the potential for professional repercussions.

Shared resources can help avoid that vicious circle. By making their daily lives easier through co-living, Commune aims to create the circumstances for all parents and children to thrive. And the startup is tackling environmental issues, too. For its co-living locations, Commune is deliberately seeking buildings with poor thermal efficiency, so it can lower a property's carbon footprint while renovating. 

Much of the world is made-for-two, but with demographics shifting firmly in the direction of solo, it's time to reimagine every product and service around the needs of people living without a partner. Just don't forget about those with kids in tow ;-)

Spotted by: Liesbeth den Toom