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Housing program offers helping hand
Published Tuesday, September 11, 2012 5:02PM MDT
A local home share program is taking a unique approach to Calgary’s rental crunch and is connecting seniors with students to fill vacant rooms and provide household support.
The Calgary HomeShare Program helps students with cheap housing in exchange for helping the homeowner around the house.
Vivian Toews was recently widowed and can still do most things on her own but sometimes she needs a little help cleaning and gardening.
Rebecca Enter, 18, is a second year student at the University of Calgary and needed a cheap place to live while attending school.
The pair was brought together by the HomeShare program and has created a perfect arrangement that seems to suite them both.
“She does a lot of my heavy work that I just don’t feel I can do anymore and somebody’s in the house and she’s easy to live. I boss her around but she never gets mad at me,” said Toews.
“It’s literally like two minutes out of your day or if it’s something regular like mowing the lawn, it’s a chore you do at your own house if you live you’re your parents anyway so it’s not really hard or unrealistic,” said Enter. “Nice knowing that I helped her out and she really appreciates it,” said Enter.
The two signed an agreement which includes no overnight guests and no partying.
Enter has her own space which she rents for $300 dollars a month.
Toews says having Enter around means more to her than just an extra pair of hands.
“My daughter just lives ten minutes from here and she says it’s such a weight off of my mind because she’s working and then she feels guilty if she isn’t phoning me to see,” said Toews.
The seniors and their families like the program and it has recently been opened up to include other adult renters.
Some are former students who graduated but formed a close relationship with the senior they had lived with and others are newcomers to our city.
There are currently 70 seniors who have been partnered with younger men and women and there are 50 more on a waiting list for placement.
Background checks are done on all applicants.
For more information on the program, visit the Calgary Seniors' Resource Society website.