An innovative solution

Companion Housing as a solution

As time changes, one must be able to adapt to survive. Fortunately, humans are highly adaptable creatures. This is attributed mainly to our intellectual capacity and ability to form complex social structures and relationships.

Throughout your life, you have likely noticed many changes. This may be changes in the environment around you, changes in the economy, family, friends, and yourself. Throughout all of these changes, you have likely done something different to adapt to that change. The rationale behind companion housing is to create a more sustainable, more enjoyable, and safer way for people to live and use our existing real estate. Anytime a change is involved, it is not always easy. However, we would lack nearly all of today’s modern conveniences if it was not for change.

As we saw in the last section, we are entering a unique time in history.  We have recorded high housing costs and people living alone, yet we have incredible amounts of underutilized real estate. As a society, how can we work together to live more sustainably? Companion housing is not the entire answer, but it is a vital piece of the overall solution.

Real-life example

Companion housing is for all ages of people. Let’s take a look inside a typical home where Paulette shared her home with Jonathan, a local university student. Jonathan becomes more than just a housing companion, he becomes a role model for Paulette’s pre-teen son.

People who embrace companion housing

At the end of the day, we all want to live our best lives. Seeking change is a healthy and normal part of improving life for ourselves and our families. Take a moment to consider your motivations to improve your life and way of living. Whatever you desire to achieve, change is always needed to get on the right track.

Let’s look at the most common segments of people who commonly adopt companion housing into their lifestyle and how it benefits them.

Students and young adults

When you are just starting out in life, the high costs of housing can be very overwhelming. This segment of people often requires moving to new cities or even countries for their studies or work. Companion housing provides an ideal solution for these people, not just as an affordable housing option, but to provide them with a sense of community and belonging. Many of these people are looking for quiet, clean, and respectful homes, something that is hard to find with conventional student rentals. At Happipad, we have heard many stories from students living in companion homes of how it has helped them get better grades and reduce their anxiety. This segment of the population regularly reports a high level of isolation, loneliness, and depression. Companion housing is not just an affordable way to live. It is a great way to increase mental health and feelings of belonging. 

Families

Families can find benefit in companion housing, especially single-parent families. Having an extra person in the home can help balance household dynamics and provide some help when needed. Families in Happipad’s housing programs have reported being more organized and finding it easier to stick to healthy routines when they have a housing companion. Some families appreciate having an extra hand to look after the home when they are away, walk the family pet, or act as a role model for children. If you are a family with a spare bedroom, you can make a difference for someone by inviting them into your home as a housing companion.

Mature adults

Many mature adults try companion housing as they seek a more sustainable way to live. These individuals often find great benefit in the cost savings provided by companion housing. As well, many report building connections with other like-minded and supportive people as a top benefit. In particular, those who have recently gone through life-changing events, such as losing a partner or separation, often find extra support living with housing companions. Some enjoy the freedom and flexibility of short-term arrangements lasting a few months, while others seek long-term or permanent companion homes to spend their later year.

Seniors & Older adults

According to the National Seniors Council, 85% of Canadian seniors report that they want to remain in their homes for as long as possible. Living in your home and community of choice provides a lot more autonomy than an institutional senior housing facility. Companion housing can help this group sustain residing in their home, helping with both the financial and physical aspects of maintaining a home. A common concern of senior housing facilities is retaining independence and freedom. This is where companion housing shines as each person can still live their life as they choose, on their agenda. There is also the bonus of increased safety and social connectedness that comes from living among like-minded companions. If needed, extra housekeeping and check-ins from professional support can be provided for peace of mind.

How companion housing helps

Over the past century, housing design has drifted away from the social design that longhouses encompassed to suburban-style neighborhoods. Companion housing aims to make the most efficient use of existing real estate while considering people’s social needs to maximize the benefits.

Cost of housing

Sharing housing is the most affordable type of accommodation by a significant margin. You can save even more by sharing utilities, the internet, and other costs. If you are a renter, this allows you to live in a larger home and perhaps even have a yard for a price less than or equal to living in a micro-apartment.

Sustainability

We can see our world being transformed by the sharing economy, with car-sharing, home-sharing, and other services. Sharing housing helps conserve resources, which allows everyone to live more sustainably. 

Human connection

The social needs of people should not be ignored. We have all felt what isolation feels like from the wake of COVID-19. Having a fun and supportive bubble around you makes life more enjoyable.

Healthy lifestyles

We are often easily influenced by our environment. Being surrounded by others who also want to live a healthy life makes it much easier to adopt healthy lifestyle habits. Choosing companions with aligned goals will help you achieve them.

Relocating and travelling

Moving to a new city where you don’t know anyone can be overwhelming. Companion housing provides you with a community of people from the moment you arrive. This can provide an opportunity for you to help newcomers to your country or for you to experience new cities and meet new people.

Sharing – pets and more

Do you want a pet but don’t want all the responsibilities? Companion housing allows you to share many things, including pets. This is a win-win for everyone!

Phase of life

Companion housing may not fit all phases of your life. However, companion housing will likely bring great value to you at some time in your life. An advantage of companion housing is that it’s highly adaptable. You can choose to live alone at times and with a companion at other times. It does not necessarily have to be a permanent change. If you are going through a phase of life where you could use some help or just some change, the option is always available.

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