Program teams seniors with college students

Plans are quickly taking shape for the city’s Home Share program where seniors become roommates with college students.

Plans are quickly taking shape for the city’s Home Share program where seniors become roommates with college students.

Since being awarded $245,000 in June through the national New Horizons for Seniors program, Family Services of Central Alberta and its project partners have formed a steering committee, hired staff and begun to sort out the details of its Generations Project.

A main component is the internationally recognized Home Share project that matches seniors who have an empty room with a college student who needs affordable housing. The student helps the senior with some type of work and in exchange, he or she will receive reduced rent.

Dawna Morey, Generations Project co-ordinator, said the main priority is putting the application process in place for students. Next week the steering committee will meet again to hammer out more details.

“We’ve heard from seniors already,” said Morey. “Over the whole course of the (three-year) project, the minimum amount that we said we would match would be 45. We have no perceived anticipation of what that could be.”

Morey said they could end up with much more in light of the anticipated housing crunch in the city. Morey said they want to ensure the matching is a positive experience for both the student and the senior.

The screening and matching processes will be in place before the end of July.

Another part of the project is community workshops on topics such as prevention of elder abuse and helping seniors become resilient, to be led by a senior and a college student. Those taking part in the Home Share project must attend some of the workshops.

“We understand the urgency with the (upcoming) school year,” said Morey. “We’re putting together all those plans and . . . at the same time looking at the workshops and putting the materials together.”

Partners in the project include the Golden Circle Senior’s Resource Centre, Red Deer College Students Association and the Alberta Council on Aging, Central Alberta. The three-year project will begin in Central Alberta and expand to Southern and Northern Alberta in the ensuing years.

crhyno@bprda.wpengine.com