Georgian College and City of Barrie partner to address issues of affordable housing and food insecurity

One project would see 55+ plus adults share their home with local post secondary students

Georgian College and the City of Barrie plan to launch several projects to address issues around affordable housing, social isolation and access to healthy food.

The partnership is through the Shift Government Project, an initiative of the Mayor’s Office.

The first project is to mirror the Homeshare program which is currently operated in Toronto by the National Initiative for Care of the Elderly, in partnership with the City of Toronto and the University of Toronto. The program matches 55+ adults wishing to share their home with local university or college students seeking affordable housing.

Image courtesy of National Initiative for Care of the Elderly

Students receive reduced rent in exchange for providing companionship and/or assistance with completing tasks such as tidying up, sharing meals, carrying groceries or walking a pet.

Georgian and the City of Barrie have a target of 10 matches for September 2020 (10 students matched to 10 adults).

The second project, which is still in the early stages, tackles food insecurity with the use of an app that tracks produce and other items close their expiry date. The items can be purchased at a significant discount, with a goal of giving people access to fresh food at an affordable price. The customer places an order, the store prepares it, and it is available for pick up at the customer service desk.

“Georgian and the City of Barrie are already great partners and this is another example of how we can work together in support of our community and our students.” said MaryLynn West-Moyes, Georgian President and CEO. “It’s truly a win-win partnership. Together, we can address some very complex social issues, providing our students with a rich learning experience and a home.”

Both projects have potential to provide opportunities for field placements, co-ops, and other learning experiences for students down the road.

“This is about helping seniors age at home, helping students find housing, and helping residents get affordable, nutritious food through innovative partnerships that tackle root causes,” said Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman.

More about The Shift Government Project: