Back in the fall of 2016, retired architect Dorothy Mazeau had an “aha” moment after 12 years of working in real estate with seniors who wanted to downsize, but had limited options. It would lead to her created Golden Girls and Guys Canada, an exciting resource for seniors sharing housing.
Creating Golden Girls and Guys Canada
As a real estate agent, Dorothy notices that available choices like downsizing from a large house to a bungalow didn’t lead to any financial savings; retirement homes and retirement communities where the individual would have to move far from their friends, family and their long-established community had high monthly fees; and the limited rental market had long waiting lists.
After some pondering what other options were available that’s when that aha moment arrived. “I was living the answer because I had been home-sharing myself for well-over 20 years. I know it works; it’s a great way to live,” Dorothy said.
The Dating Site Model
At some point a friend suggested to Dorothy that she might be able to match people who want to share their home. After examining what possible options would work best, Dorothy settled on creating a website that was based on the dating site model.
The website would provide educational resources that would help people with the process along with a database of homeowners who had space to rent and homeseekers who were trying to find affordable accommodations. And with that idea in mind, Golden Girls Canada was launched. Shortly thereafter, “and Guys” was added to the site’s name.
More than Matching
Apart from the matching database, the site offers a number of resources that aid in the search of a homemate, which include Annamarie’s book Sharing Housing, A Guidebook to Finding and Keeping Good Housemates as well as a monthly workshop. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, Dorothy was hosting the workshops live, but with stay-at-home rules, she now offers these workshops via an online format.
The workshops last about two to three hours, opening with what homesharing entails. “It’s not about a conjugal relationship and it’s not about a boarding house; it’s more living as a family.”
The majority of users are predominantly women—anywhere between 95 to 99 percent, but there are men who also are looking for affordable living arrangements within Canada, primarily in the Ontario region.
The website is primarily geared to empty nesters who have a home, where they’ve raised their children and lived full lives in their community, but now the home has become physically and financially difficult to manage. “This is a way for them to get extra income to maintain their home or if they don’t need the income, they can use it to travel or to do other things they want to do or upgrade their home. And there are so many people looking for an affordable place to call home.”
Conversation is Key before Committing
Of the many discussions brought up during the workshops, Dorothy urges that after the initial meet and greet, potential housemates have the important conversation of expectations before they embark on sharing a place together. “I have a checklist—on the website and that I give to people at the workshops. It’s a checklist for creating a home sharing agreement.” The checklist includes how long the lease will be, how much notice should one give if they plan to move, what happens if the homeowner becomes incapacitated or dies, and so forth.
How to Join Golden Girls and Guys Canada
If you live in Canada and want to share your home using the site, a six month membership costs $59.70 CAD; a full year $89.55 CAD. The site is a wealth of information for anyone flirting with the idea of sharing their home. For questions about the workshops or any other issues concerning home sharing, please email Dorothy at [email protected].