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Just Ask Angie: How to find out more about ‘companion housing’

Q: I’m a senior with a long-term room to rent, interested in the companion-housing idea you wrote about.
And woman carrying a packing box into her new home

Q: I’m a senior with a long-term room to rent, interested in the companion-housing idea you wrote about. How do I learn more?  

A: In my last column (three weeks ago) I profiled the housing listing site called Happipad, a website that offers potential for folks living on the Sunshine Coast with space in their homes to connect with those looking for places to live, in a way that is slightly different that connecting through other means like Craigslist, Facebook or AirBnB. 

I mentioned how is trying to promote and encourage not only medium to long term house-shares in landlord/tenant style, in compliance with municipal bylaws, but in particular, the idea of going beyond this to help create a sort of social shift in how we look for housing by encouraging what is called “companion housing.” In their words, this is the idea of “bringing people of like mind together to share a home.” 

At first glance, many may wonder why labelling a way of living as companion housing makes it any different from just sharing a place with roommates. It’s a fair question. In an online workshop posted to their website, Happipad talks about companion housing as long-term intentional roommates of all ages and backgrounds, who come together to live healthier, happier and sustainable lives in a way that brings more connection, meaning and support than simply house-sharing with a roommate. It’s safe to say that many long-term roommate situations many of us have experienced could be considered companion housing in what they bring in terms of community and support, but we know that roommates don’t always wind up becoming part of your community or social network. This is why intentionally setting out to look for companion housing has value. 

With all of this in mind, to answer the questions above, and to find out more about if companion housing may be a good path forward for you or someone you know, Happipad has laid out three key in-depth resources online. As well, and there is a phone number right on their website. Call them! They’re based in Kelowna. 1-778-760-4511. 

Happipad’s online resources on companion housing:  

  1. A free companion housing guide you can click to download:  
  2. A three-part pre-recorded online workshop series on companion housing: (Scroll to the bottom of this page and you will see them posted separately). 
  3. A “Companion Housing Course”(made up of eight modules) available to take at your own pace, for free on their website. This covers everything from structuring living arrangements with companions, to finding and interviewing companions, to ending a living arrangement. Find the course here and just click to begin anytime:  

(If the online component of the resources listed below is a limiting factor, give the Resource Centre a call and we can help you navigate this information.) 

Do you have a success story with companion housing? Let us know!  Angie Theilmann is an information and referral specialist at the Sunshine Coast Resource Centre, your community information hub.  The Resource Centre is open Monday to Thursday 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Appointments are recommended to be sure we are available to help you. Contact us: [email protected] or 604-885-4088.