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Community as a Solution: New Home-Share Program in Drumheller

Tourism is a significant economic driver in the Drumheller, Alberta region, bringing hundreds of thousands of visitors to the region each year. However, recent studies have identified labour shortages and housing constraints as major obstacles affecting our ability to provide a world-class tourism experience.

Securing Housing for Seasonal Employees

The Drumheller Valley Housing Strategy (2022) and the Travel Drumheller Destination Development Plan (2023) both identified “securing housing for seasonal employees”, as one of the highest priorities in the Southern Alberta region. To address this problem, Community Futures Big Country, Drumheller & District Chamber of Commerce, Travel Drumheller, and the Town of Drumheller have collaborated to find a solution – a home sharing platform that connects homeowners with an extra room in the home, with compatible renters.

With a local unemployment rate currently at 3.3% and a vacancy rate of 0%, Drumheller community would definitely benefit from a larger pool of qualified workers and additional accommodation options. Sometimes, creativity and working together to solve problems can be helpful, and in this case, working creatively together to increase the availability of accommodations for seasonal employees.

Fall in Drumheller

Community-Based Home Sharing

With the belief that the solution to the housing shortage is simply, community, Drumheller research led them to a home sharing platform that connects homeowners with vetted, compatible renters. The platform provided by Happipad in partnership with Canada Home Share, allows hosts to set their own terms, establish their own rules and gain access to renters who are looking to make a positive contribution to our community. The platform also screens renters and hosts, conducts background checks and prepares rental contracts. This thorough approach ensures that all accommodations are safe, secure and appropriate.

What are the Benefits for the Community?

Local hosts benefit by building relationships and supplementing their household income. Local businesses will also benefit, as more qualified workers are drawn to the region. The local economy is strengthened, as more resources become available to support business operations.

During a community engagement campaign in Drumheller in the summer of 2023, the idea of home sharing was very well supported. Armed with this information, Community Futures Big Country was able to successfully apply for grant funding to get the program started locally, which will include paying the costs of the platform and sponsoring homeowner program service fees for two years, for the first 50 participants.

“It is crucial for our operations that short-term housing is available”

From a local tourism operator – Atlas Coal Mine National Historic Site Dr. Sarah Newstead, Executive Director

“It is crucial for our operations that short-term housing is available for Atlas employees in the local region. As a National Historic Site, we recruit from across Canada and regularly employ people who move to Drumheller from other provinces for their season at the Atlas. At the moment, short-term housing availability is a block to our recruitment and we often lose out on excellent candidates simply because they cannot find suitable housing in the Drumheller Valley. Developing another avenue for short-term housing, such as home sharing, will help to ease the issues with employee housing not just for the Atlas, but also for the many other businesses in the region who employ short-term workers.”

Learn more here.

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