Canada HomeShare provides affordable housing for students

Program pairs students with seniors

Kingston currently faces low vacancy rates.   

As Kingston faces increasing rent prices year by year, Canada HomeShare seeks to “hit two birds with one stone” through its pairing program.

HomeShare is a part of the National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly (NICE). The program promotes inclusive communities while providing affordable housing for students coming to Kingston for their studies.

In an email sent to The Journal, Zaina Baig, ArtSci ’19 and Canada HomeShare’s Kingston pilot site coordinator, discussed her work with NICE and what it has to offer Queen’s students.

“Canada HomeShare was started when researchers looked at the five million empty bedrooms in Ontario and thought why not fill some of those empty bedrooms, keeping older adults aging in place while addressing the affordable housing issues that students deal with,” Baig wrote.

The large senior population in Kingston offers an opportunity for a mutually beneficial living situation, Baig explained.

“By placing students in those homes, we’re able to create more vacancy in Kingston.”

According to Baig, pairing students with adult homeowners cuts down on the number of occupied homes, ensuring more are available for Kingston residents.

According to Baig, Canada HomeShare matches students to an older adult home provider, creating a quiet and safe environment near Queen’s campus.

Students pay $400 to $600 per month in rent to providers. These funds offer supplemental income for elderly homes.  

Baig added that a social worker screens both students and home providers and conducts house visits to ensure both parties’ interests and needs are met before matching anyone together. A background check is taken by both parties and covered by Canada HomeShare.

“HomeShare provides fast integration into the community as many home providers have lived in their community long-term and are able to provide valuable insights for students new to the neighborhood,” Baig said.

“Home Providers living anywhere in the city of Kingston are welcome to apply to be part of the program, however we prefer the closer proximity to Queen’s University campus.”

If a home isn’t in walking distance to Queen’s, Baig said it must be in a transit-friendly neighborhood.

“I have always wanted to work with Queen’s University students in some capacity. Working with HomeShare allows me to support the student population, as well as the Kingston community, addressing two issues at once.”

Canada HomeShare holds weekly information sessions for those interested in learning more about the program.

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