Home sharing program aims to end housing crisis in Annapolis Valley
‘I view it as an opportunity for inter-generational community building’
Organizers of a home sharing program hope bridging the generation gap between seniors and younger adults will be a win-win in Annapolis Valley.
Nova Scotia's Department of Seniors recently gave Women's Place Resource Centre a $20,000 grant to help set up a home share program in the area.
"It matches people who have some extra space in their home and could perhaps use some extra help and support around the house, with people who are looking for an affordable place to live," said Tara Webb, a housing advocate with the centre.
Webb said there is a housing crisis in her area as people struggle to pay for food and keep a roof over their heads.
At the same time, there are many seniors in the area living in large homes with lots of room. Some may need some extra money, or extra help with the chores that keep a household running, she said.
Webb believes the home share program could meet the needs of both groups.
Seniors would provide an affordable place to stay while the people moving in can provide them with some extra money and help out doing chores.
She said people moving into the homes could help seniors with chores they find difficult, such as shovelling snow or taking out the garbage.
Webb will be holding public meetings to see what the public wants in the program. The first meeting is planned for Monday June 12 at 2 p.m. at the Bridgetown fire hall. Premier Stephen MacNeil is also planning to take in the event, said Webb.
The matching process
Anyone interested in taking part in the program is asked to contact Webb. She hopes that by the end of 2017 or the beginning of 2018 they will have enough people interested that they can start intensive interviews and begin matching people up.
The group will look to pair people who have similar interests and living styles.
"I think there's always a concern that people getting along or not getting along and the way that we introduce home shares and home providers is going to address a lot of those concerns," said Webb.
"I view it as an opportunity for intergenerational community building, a senior is also a mentor perhaps."
A 'phenomenal idea'
The program already has some fans on the town council in Annapolis Royal.
"It would be phenomenal idea," said Coun. Holly Sanford.
"Seniors want to stay in their homes but they require maybe a little assistance with snow removal, raking leaves and just general maintenance. If it keeps them in their homes and happy, then I say it's a great program."
Deputy mayor Pat Power agrees. She said there are many people in the area living in large homes who could use a little extra help.
"Even just speaking for myself it sounds like something I would be interested in, and I've got three empty bedrooms upstairs," said Power.