There are a number of home sharing services and resources that have cropped up over the last three or four years for individuals who are looking for a shared housing environment. Online matching services can be a valuable tool to find a good housemate.
Today we look to our Canadian neighbor and offer an overview of Home Together Canada, an incorporated, non-profit association that creates, provides, and makes public an online resource to help individuals, groups and organizations find each other who wish a shared living experience. Home Together Canada is a non-aligned, non-discriminatory resource that provides free and equal promotion to all.
Twila Dainard, president and founder of Home Together Canada and I spoke about the current offerings on Home Together Canada. Dainard launched the site on January 18, 2018; it’s primary focus is on the historically large demographic of baby boomers entering their retirement years (with a full 40 percent doing so on inadequate fixed incomes). Currently, in Canada, over four million people aged 55+ are entering their retirement years with an inadequate income to sustain lifestyle and a home. Thus, sharing of homes is an economical way to address high housing costs and social isolation felt by all ages, especially the elderly.
Memberships and Resources
The number one question that new users to the site might have is whether it’s a matching service? No, but it does offer a free membership that entails signing up with an anonymous username and password, followed by a list of questions to answer for your member profile. Currently there are about 289 members, but no algorithm exists that matches your profile with another member’s profile. Becoming a member allows you to search, read other member profiles, and message them through the site. If you happen to find a house mate via site or no longer have interest in continuing to be a member, you can deactivate your membership.
Secondly, the site pools together all the resources that are available for anyone in Canada who is in the market to home share. In other words, if you want to learn more about home sharing, both members and non-members are able to read various news articles about home sharing, research reports about aging, books (Sharing Housing: A Guidebook for Finding and Keeping Good Housemates, is prominently displayed), as well as statistics on income, broken down by gender and within the ages of 55 to 64 and 65 and over.
Thirdly, the website offers links to coliving and and sharing groups for potential home sharing possibilities. As more opportunities and groups surface, the site will include links.
Other services provided and that will be further developed include a classified section, that at some point will include a rating system. These classifieds will not run ads for home sharing opportunities, but services a home-owner might want to use–repairs, gutter cleaning, lawn crews, electricians, plumbers, dog walkers etc.
The site is user-friendly, at some point the member’s page will offer moderated chatrooms, partner with universities for studies on housing and aging, which will help get the word out about Home Together’s mission and website, offer workshops, and address new needs that will be identified by regional chapter formed within Canada.
For Canadian followers of Sharing Housing and for those wanting to move to Canada, Home Together is a valuable resource that’s free. The only expenditure you have is time to review all the information offered.