Housing crisis: N.S. minister wants people with extra space to consider home sharing

Click to play video: 'Nova Scotia hasn’t built public housing in 30 years'
Nova Scotia hasn’t built public housing in 30 years
Public housing has not been built in Nova Scotia in nearly 30 years. Experts say that’s a huge mistake, as the lack of supply has helped to bring on the current housing crisis. As Skye Bryden-Blom reports, the province has no plans for new builds. – Jun 26, 2023

Nova Scotia has come up with a new way to deal with the province’s housing crisis.

The provincial government announced today it will spend $1.3 million over two years to expand its partnership with a free, online home-sharing platform known as Happipad.

Operated by a Canadian non-profit organization, the platform brings together renters seeking affordable, month-to-month accommodation with residents who have rooms to rent in their homes.

The partnership was launched in the spring to help people displaced by wildfires, and is now available to people across the province.

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Housing Minister John Lohr said the partnership is a call to action to those who have extra space in their homes. Lohr said there are 130,000 vacant bedrooms across Nova Scotia that could be used on a short-term basis by students, health-care workers, tradespeople and others seeking a safe, affordable and comfortable place to live.

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“This partnership truly encompasses the hospitable nature of all Nova Scotians,” Lohr said in a statement.

Under the program, Happipad conducts background checks before matching renters with hosts. The company also collects and distributes the rent, and provides dispute resolution.

The government says rents paid through Happipad are typically at rates below those of other rentals.

Happipad CEO Cailan Libby issued a statement saying the organization, which already operates in every province, wants to bring new purpose to empty bedrooms across Nova Scotia.

“Whether it’s older adults seeking a housing companion to share their home with or newcomers and students in search of safe and affordable accommodations, Happipad embraces people of all ages,” Libby said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 4, 2023.

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