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SOS works to address District 69’s tough housing market

Society of Organized Services partners with Happipad
Kathleen Tariga (bottom left), with her baby, husband, and two nursing students (back) who rented space in the Tariga home through Happipad.

The Society of Organized Services has partnered with Happipad, a Canadian non-profit platform specializing in safe, affordable and accessible home-sharing, to help alleviate the housing crisis in the Parksville Qualicum Beach region.

“In an increasingly competitive housing market, our residents are facing heightened rents and mortgages, and often encounter sudden changes to their living circumstances,” said Susanna Newton, executive director of SOS.  “We recognize that residents with similar interests and lifestyles could benefit greatly from sharing accommodations. And more than just saving money, they may enjoy the company.”

Happipad is an online home-sharing platform that works as a matching service, pairing people based on in-depth Happipad profiles. The profiles include information on the renters' and hosts' living habits and hobbies. The Happipad team works with both parties on legal rental agreements, establishing terms, conditions and house rules tailored to suit each party's unique needs, from flexible rental contracts for three months to fixed-term contracts that consist of years.

In addition to navigating legal processes and matching, Happipad arranges monthly automated rent payments, and all users are vetted and background-checked to ensure safety and security.

SOS is a non-profit, volunteer-driven organization that has been a pillar of support for community members since 1968.

“Every day, SOS staff see how residents struggle with the challenges of securing housing in our area,” said Newton.

Supported by the Oceanside Task Force on Homelessness – the Government of Canada’s Homelessness Partnering Strategy (OTFH-HPS), the Parksville-Qualicum Beach Home-Share Program aims to address the housing crisis by providing housing opportunities to the local community through Happipad.

In August 2023, in response to the housing crisis on the East Coast, the Nova Scotia government partnered with Happipad, providing the non-profit with $1.3 billion over two years to help increase affordable housing.

Happipad user and employee Kathleen Tariga moved to Nova Scotia from the Philippines with her husband two years ago and said it took the couple four months to find a home.

Since moving to Canada, the Tariga family welcomed their first son.

“As a mother to a 12-month-old son, we initially rented a two-bedroom apartment with the intention of providing him his own space,” said Tariga. “However, I soon realized that the extra room was going to waste when so many individuals were in need of housing. I decided to list the spare room and become a host, and within a day, I received six applicants.”

Tariga and her husband chose to home-share with two nursing students who had been struggling to find a house for over a month. Tariga admitted she was concerned about privacy at first, but explained they don’t cross paths much because of their busy schedules. When they do, they enjoy each other's company.

"We are all around the same age. We found friends!” said Tariga with a laugh.

Tariga urges people to become hosts.

"It's no longer just about earning an income; it's about making a meaningful difference in people's lives by alleviating the housing crisis in any way we can.”

Visit the Parksville-Qualicum Home Share website to learn more, become a host or to register as a renter: