Ottawa

Matchmaking website aims to help women find affordable housing

A new website aims to help women find affordable housing in Ottawa's red-hot real estate market by linking them with other women to either rent or own a home.

Ottawa women can share housing costs in red-hot real estate market through Nest Egg Canada

Women who can't afford their own housing could use Nest Egg Canada to match with women with similar interests to help offset the costs. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

A new website aims to help women find affordable housing in Ottawa's red-hot real estate market by linking them with other women to either rent or own a home.

Like online dating, Nest Egg Canada matches those with similar interests, hobbies, income and demographics — women then decide if they would like to proceed to meet their match.

The goal of the site is to help defray costs of housing for single women by sharing a living space, according to co-founder Catherine Landry, who also owns a marketing company.

Mortgage broker Sue Hameed is a co-founder of Nest Egg Canada, which aims to bring women together to help them find affordable living situations. (KIM ING Photography)

She says she was inspired to launch the site after receiving a "tsunami" of messages from women desperately in search of a place to live.

"That feeling of coming home and opening the door to your home. That's really, really, really important," said Landry.  "With the housing market off the charts for many ... we want to put people together under a safe roof, make them feel at home."

Landry says the website will host information sessions and meetings between potential housemates, as well as provide financial advice on mortgages, rental agreements and fair market value.

The service is free for renters who sign up, while property owners pay a fee. 

"We want to normalize co-living, it's an excellent strategy for affordable housing." said co-founder Sue Hameed, who's also a mortgage broker. 

"It solves the affordability and the lack of housing issue, and also helps people get into shared living together that might have not thought it was possible."

Family lawyer Kellie Stewart says the new website is much-needed to help those suddenly left homeless. (submitted by Kellie Stewart)

'About time' for this type of option

Family lawyer Kellie Stewart says it's "about time" this type of option became available for women in Ottawa, especially those in the midst of a divorce or family separation who suddenly find themselves without a home.

"It really seems to be the women that are caught by surprise and then panic. What now? Where do I go now?" said Stewart.

"Rather than saying you've got the option of living in your parent's house or a friend's renting a room, it's another option ... that's not a shelter, it's not going to make them poor."

Hameed says the website wants to give women the tools to navigate the real estate landscape whether the goal is buying a home, or sharing housing in their later years.

"Imagine the Golden Girls where two or three retired individuals can live together and really be companions and take care of each other," said Hameed. 

"Think a combination of affordability and companionship, it's a win-win situation."

The founders of Nest Egg Canada do say they are open to expanding the service to men at a later time.

The founders of Nest Egg Canada also envision a "Golden Girls" situation where women in their later years are living together and taking care of each other. (NBCUniversal/Getty Images/Herb Ball/NBCU Photo Bank)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sandra Abma

Journalist

Sandra Abma is a veteran CBC arts journalist. If you have an event or idea you want to share, please do at sandra.abma@cbc.ca.

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