Metro Vancouver rental housing project could also help with loneliness

Click to play video: 'Empty nesters opening their homes to solve B.C.’s housing crisis'
Empty nesters opening their homes to solve B.C.’s housing crisis
A new group is proposing a unique solution to Vancouver's growing housing crisis. They are building on a model used in several areas around the world that pairs “empty nesters” that may have empty rooms with young people looking for housing – Mar 13, 2018

It’s a proposal that could solve two problems at once, according to the BC Care Providers Association (BCCPA) anyway.

The Empty Nests program sets up people over the age of 50 with a spare room to young people looking for a home.

The program offers below-market rentals to millennials, providing they help their tenant with five to 10 hours of light chores.

But on top of that, it could also help with older people who feel isolated and the mental health issues that come with living alone.

“This is a way to try and make sure that people are not entirely living alone in that time of their life,” Mike Klassen said.

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LISTEN: Could the Empty Nests program provide a solution to the affordability crisis?

Speaking on The Jill Bennett Show, BCCPA’s Communications director noted the mental health benefits of having a roommate for parents whose kids have left the nest.

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“We’ve even had in the U.K. a Minister of Loneliness. They see that the problem is that severe that they need to have somebody at the cabinet table whose job is just to try and address that, because of the huge health impacts of social isolation,” he said.

WATCH: Global BC’s coverage of Metro Vancouver’s low rental vacancy

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Last December, Vancouver had a rental vacancy rate below one per cent.

Programs similar to Empty Nests have been set up in the United States and Europe.

-With files from Jesse Ferreras, Tanya Beja and Jeremy Lye

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