Four hundred more people could have access to affordable housing each year if the city of Toronto provides necessary funds to fund a program called HomeShare.
What is HomeShare?
HomeShare is a program that was piloted in May 2018 which matches seniors with extra room in their homes with students needed accommodation. Students participating in the pilot paid rent of $400 to $600 while helping with household chores that were agreed to by each pair for five hours per week. What makes the Toronto HomeShare Program unique is the fact that it is facilitated by social workers who match participants based on their characteristics and living preferences.
“Our city is unaffordable for people of every age range and demographic. There are seniors who are house-rich but are financially poor and are struggling to make ends meet. There are young people who can’t afford to live in our city altogether. There are seniors who are entering long-term care facilities and retirement residences. There are many more seniors who would far prefer to live out their years at home in the community that they know so that they aren’t isolated.”, Josh Matlow, the city’s seniors advocate has said. Students are particularly struggling in light of OSAP cuts, tuition fee increases and sky-rocketing rent prices in the GTA.
A motion was moved to fund the budget by Councillor Mike Layton earlier this year. However, it was tabled to be voted on in March. In the March budget meeting, the city agreed to fund the project. After successfully obtaining funding, Toronto HomeShare is seeking both students and homeowners that would like to start the program in September 2019. Now, more students will have the chance to build companionship while having a safe, accessible place to live. Student participants now have the chance to focus on furthering their education and achieving their goals without living in precarious situations.
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*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Student Life Network or their partners.