A Toronto based elder-care initiative is looking to pair up more seniors and students in housing throughout the city.
The pilot project, which is provincially funded, could help address housing affordabilty for students and give elderly individuals some much needed company and care.
Toronto resident Elizabeth Hill, 75, says he when she lost her husband two decades ago, she decided to let a student move in.
Since then, she has filled multiple guest books with pictures and thank-you notes from international students who have stayed with her over the past 20 years.
Hill, who has shared her home with Julio Hernandez, 32. for the past seven years, says the two have developed a lasting friendship.
As baby boomers and millennials alike get priced out of red-hot housing markets, schools and community groups across the country have embraced various kinds of shared-living programs — from a housing co-op in Winnipeg where women can grow old together, to a retirement home in London, Ont., that hosts Western University students.
In Ontario, more than half of residents — and three-quarters of those over the age of 65 — live in houses that are bigger than they need, leaving five-million spare bedrooms across the province, according to a 2017 report by the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis.
That means many seniors have more space than they can afford, while students struggle to pay rent for cramped living quarters, said Raza Mirza, a University of Toronto researcher with the National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly.
The financial stress is exacerbated by growing costs and wait lists for long-term elder care or assisted living, Mirza said, while students face mounting tuitions.
With that said, it seems like more and more seniors are opening up their homes for students, and the trend seems to be growing for the foreseeable future.
Excerpts from Articles by Roxy Kirshenbaum for TorontoLife, Adina Bresge for The Canadian Press