Community·SPECIAL SERIES

The Early Edition explores a new age roommate arrangement

Roomies is a special series about the lives of unrelated people spanning generations who share a roof, airing on CBC Radio One’s The Early Edition every weekday morning from Aug 12 to 16 at 7:40 a.m. PT, with features on cbc.ca/bc.

“Roomies” airs Aug 12 -16

Cory Paris Susser sits alone in her two-bedroom apartment. At age 71, this is the first home she’s lived in without roommates. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

"Hey, roomie!" 

The endearing term is no longer reserved for college roommates and young professionals. 

In a region where fewer people can afford housing, Metro Vancouver has seen a rise in the number of unrelated people from different generations sharing accommodations. 

Think Melrose Place meets Golden Girls

This unusual arrangement can be cost effective while providing seniors with the companionship they desire. But what's it like for the millennials and seniors who share a roof? Is an intergenerational home where the heart is?

Tune in for Roomies -- a new special series about the lives of unrelated people spanning generations who share a roof, airing on CBC Radio One's The Early Edition every weekday morning from Aug 12 to 16 at 7:40 a.m. PT, with features on cbc.ca/bc

These unrelated roomies enjoy their intergenerational roommate arrangement. (David Karnezos)

Roomies explores the economic and emotional benefits that can arise from the unconventional partnership, and the hardships. 

August 12: Meet the roomies

A Vancouver intern rents a house with multi-generational roommates. Learn what brought them together and why it works, despite the compromises they have to make. 

August 13: Matchmaking for housemates  

Intergenerational living matchmaker services, like Kelowna's Happipad, are on the rise locally and internationally. The Early Edition talks to the people behind these businesses about ethics, screening processes and liability. 

August 14: When it doesn't work

Cory Paris Susser and Arlene Miller have forayed into intergenerational living, and it hasn't been easy. Susser is seeking roommates but feels that the stigma of living with a senior is getting in the way. Miller is fed up with her younger roommates, and doesn't want to play the role of "mother" any longer.

August 15: Legal matters  

Residential Tenancy Act Lawyer Lisa Mackie shares how to legally avoid the potential pitfalls of intergenerational living by setting expectations and rules at the outset of a new roomie arrangement.  

August 16: Should we be encouraging this kind of living?

Collin van Uchelen is a community psychology consultant. He has been living in houses with non-relatives for over 30 years and has feedback for the City of Vancouver regarding its bylaws, and why they make it harder for unrelated people to share a house. 

The five-part radio series, which airs on CBC radio from Aug 12-16, is produced by Amanda Poole, this year's recipient of Langara College's Read-Mercer Fellowship. Listen to The Early Edition with Stephen Quinn weekday mornings on CBC Radio One, and read top stories any time online at cbc.ca/bc.

Corrections

  • A previous version of this story provided incorrect information about Collin van Uchelen's professional title. The story has been updated. He is, in fact, a community psychology consultant.
    Aug 16, 2019 2:30 PM PT