CNA partners with SpacesShared to find affordable housing for students

Company pairs seniors with empty rooms with students seeking housing

1/18/2024 1:27:14 PM

St. John’s, NL – January 18, 2024 - College of the North Atlantic (CNA), Newfoundland and Labrador’s largest public college, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with SpacesShared, an online platform that matches students looking for housing with older adults who have space to rent in their homes.

The company is already operating in a number of provinces in Canada, including Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta, and is now expanding its service to Newfoundland and Labrador, where there is a high population of seniors and a growing demand for student housing.

The partnership aims to address the challenges faced by students who are pursuing post-secondary studies in different parts of the province, especially in the context of Canada’s housing crisis.

According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in urban centres of the province was between $800-900. The Government of Canada’s Report on Housing Needs of Seniors shows there are more than 60,000 senior-led households in Newfoundland and Labrador. Many of these are owned by a senior or senior couple living alone, and they often struggle to make ends meet.

SpacesShared offers a solution that benefits both students and older adults. Students can find safe and affordable housing with hosts who have spare bedrooms in their homes, while hosts can earn extra income, receive help around the house, and enjoy the company of someone else living with them.

The company uses a sophisticated matching algorithm and real human support staff to create a space where compatible students and older adult hosts interested in homesharing can match with each other. SpacesShared also verifies the identity, email address, phone number, and criminal background check of each participant, and provides a secure platform for communication and agreement signing.

“This year, College of the North Atlantic has more students than it has seen in years – and record numbers of international students. Those students need an affordable and safe place to live, which is why we approached the college to team up with us,” said Rylan Kinnon, CEO of SpacesShared. “If you’re an older adult with a room to spare, home sharing through SpacesShared can be an important source of extra income, give you a bit of help around the house and help ensure you always have good company. We urge people and their families to check out our website to see how easy and secure home sharing can be.”

Elizabeth Kidd, President and CEO of College of the North Atlantic, says there are more benefits to home-sharing for students than just affordability.

“We are delighted to partner with SpacesShared to offer our students an alternative option for housing that is affordable, convenient, and comfortable,” she says. “We believe that homesharing can also foster intergenerational and intercultural learning and exchange, which aligns with our vision of being a leader in education and innovation.”

The province’s Minister of Education, Krista Lyn Howell, sees the partnership as an innovative way to support both students and seniors.

“I applaud the College of the North Atlantic for seeking out innovative solutions to support students’ housing needs,” says Minister Howell. “This partnership is a testament to the opportunities made possible through collaboration. I look forward to the outcomes of this initiative and continuing to enhance housing options for post-secondary students, as well as seniors, in Newfoundland and Labrador.”

Students and hosts who are interested in home sharing can visit the SpacesShared website – – to create an account and start the matching process.

If you think you might be interested in such a living arrangement, the company will be holding Community Engagement Sessions at a number of CNA campuses next week (see schedule below). Light refreshments will be provided. All are welcome to attend!

Community Engagement Sessions

Monday, Jan. 22. Clarenville Campus, 69 Pleasant St., from 11:30 am - 12:30 pm
Monday, Jan. 22 Gander Campus, 1 MaGee Rd, from 5:30 - 6:30 pm
Tuesday, Jan. 23 Grand Falls-Windsor Campus, 5 Cromer Ave., from 2:30 – 4 pm
Wednesday, Jan. 24 Bay St. George Campus, 432 Massachusettes Dr. Stephenville, from 12:30 - 1:30 pm
Thursday, Jan. 25 St. Anthony Campus, 83 East St., from 2:30 – 4 pm


Media contact:

Stephen Lee
Manager of Communications
College of the North Atlantic