By Cecilia Nasmith
Cornerstone Family Violence Prevention Centre is excited to announce the expansion of the HomeShare program to serve residents across Northumberland County.
Cited as a positive example in last month's county-council discussion on the homelessness issue, this program aims to offer a unique alternative to independent living that can alleviate stress on the affordable-housing market and subsequent implication on health-related issues.
HomeShare Northumberland connects women living in their homes who have spare living space with other women seeking safe and affordable accommodation. Under this innovative housing option, both participants benefit from companionship, offset living costs and share household responsibilities.
“Moving the HomeShare program beyond a pilot is an excellent opportunity to advance the vision of the county's Housing and Homelessness Plan to facilitate housing that respects people's choice of residence and is responsive to community need,” county director of community and social services Lisa Horne stated in the Cornerstone press release.
“As the county and community partners continue to work toward addressing housing affordability and availability in Northumberland, HomeShare Northumberland represents an opportunity to reduce the competition for scarce rental accommodations, helping both home owners and people looking for homes to connect and move forward together.”
HomeShare Northumberland works to support two types of participants.
HomeSharers are women aged 18-plus who seek safe and affordable housing.
HomeOwners are single women living independently at home – in a condo or renting an apartment with a spare bedroom and living space. Both are able to split household responsibilities and are interested in companionship.
“Aligning with Cornerstone's core values of innovation, leadership, community and accessibility, we are happy to be the lead agency for HomeShare Northumberland,” Cornerstone executive director Nancy Johnston tated.
“This program presents an opportunity for the women of our community to help and empower one another by giving back in the form of safe and affordable accommodation. This results in an increase of community connection, quality of life, health and safety, while decreasing anxiety, loneliness and isolation, as well as the use of emergency services and shelters – which results in a strong, safer community for all.”
The announcement said that HomeShare programs – in Canada and around the world - are successful evidence-based initiatives, some of which have run successfully for more than 30 years. Its dynamic is more than just housing, it continued.
“It is about the relationship and companionship between two people based on respect, personal choice and maintaining dignity.”
For more information on HomeShare Northumberland, contact the HomeShare worker at dracine@cornerstonenorthumberland,ca or 905-372-1545, or visit cornerstonenorthumberland.ca/home-share.