Home-sharing Across Generations

Sarah Saaed, MPP 2020, joined the Renewable Cities team as a Research Assistant on a project to support accessory innovation and expansion of accessory dwelling units with a focus on secondary suite management and home-sharing for seniors who are single family home owners.  Seniors comprise a disproportionately large share of one and two-person single family homes.  As well as creating a new affordable housing unit, doubling occupancy in a one-person household cuts per capita GHGs in half, can reduce social isolation and allows seniors to age in place.

The research, funded by Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions PICS, involved housing and demographic analysis at a number of geographic scales––municipal, regional, provincial and national––to preliminarily evaluate the number of units that could be generated and the GHG reduction potential.  This work helped develop a systematic framework for carrying out similar analysis using readily accessible Statistics Canada data for any urban geography to inform the business case, and policy and program design for diverse types of accessory dwelling units.

A complementary exercise focused on identifying policy precedents in other jurisdictions to support accessory dwelling units, home-sharing and secondary suite management.  Oregon and California have demonstrated notable leadership in accessory dwelling unit solutions forming an important foundation of the work Sarah contributed to the project.

“I found this project really interesting because its aim is to strengthen provincial and local policy support for additional housing on existing single family lots through home-sharing and accessory dwelling units,” commented Sarah.  “Issues related to transportation and transit accessibility also shaped the project,” she added.

Through her MPP coursework, Sarah developed an interest in housing policy and affordability. Her Capstone Suite Dreams: Tools to Expand the Supply of Affordable Housing in Northern Canada added to her understanding of current issues and potential solutions.  Sarah’s Co-op term with Environment and Climate Change Canada in Summer 2019 was an important lead-up to her work with Renewable Cities, and involved data analysis on GHG emissions, carbon tax and other related climate files.

Sarah is now working with the BC government and is currently involved in the BC Economic Narrative, planning and analyzing BC budget needs and outlook over the next 5-10 years.

Sarah’s research contributed to a number of Renewable Cities papers including:  

Recently, SFU’s Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology launched a home-sharing pilot motivated by a student-identified need for secure, affordable housing and a complementary desire to support seniors across the region who will be the home-share hosts.