Welcome to the Toronto HomeShare Pilot Project website and our very first blog post. We’re very excited about our project, which has to-date, had a positive impact on the lives of 12 HomeProviders and 12 HomeSeekers.
HomeShare is not a new initiative. In fact, HomeShare programs have been operating internationally for decades and while there is little evaluative evidence about their impact, the anecdotal evidence has predominantly been positive.
The focus of the Toronto HomeShare Pilot Project is to build intergenerational connections that provide an opportunity for older adults to age successfully in their communities and neighbourhoods. The HomeShare Project also givespost-secondary students an opportunity to secure affordable housing in a city where affordability and availability in housing are big concerns. In exchange for a reduced rent the HomeSeeker contributes up to 5hrs/week in the home whether it be small tasks or companionship. We call that a WIN/WIN!
Last week we hosted a gathering to celebrate the work of the HomeShare Project and to meet those involved in its implementation and our brave participants. During this celebration we shared some thoughts as to why we feel The Toronto HomeShare Pilot Project is about… More Than Just a Room.
More than just a room – means that our HomeProviders are enjoying their homes more. It means that the decades they have invested in their communities can stretch into more years having front porch or over-the-fence conversations with their neighbours. More than just a room means that loneliness and isolation, the unwelcome guests, take a hard turn at the doorstop because each HomeProvider has experienced the power of “one other” in their lives.
More than just a room – means that our HomeSeekers can face their post-secondary journey with all the joys and challenges that rite of passage affords them – without the worry of how many jobs they’ll have to work to keep a roof over their heads. More than just a room means that coming to a big city from a small town isn’t as overwhelming or as isolating as it could be. It means help navigating the subway;or where to buy the best groceries; or someone with whom to share the stress of mid-terms and assignments.
More than just a room means – that the snow gets shoveled, the raking gets done, the garbage makes it to the curb and a meal gets shared. It means that new relationships are forged in the fire of good conversations, lived experience and the connection between generations.
What started as a tag line for this project has now evolved beyond our small pilot project. More than just a room has become a starting point to begin a process by which we look to innovative solutions to fuel policy and programs that addresses specific needs and enhance the well-being of all members of our community.