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Dear Friends in Valhalla Parish—

I hope that you are well. I just returned a few days ago from vacation, a time that was full to the brim with adventure. And you know what? It's good to be back. For those who are able to make it, I look forward to seeing you this Sunday at St. David's. 

A few months ago, we started speaking in earnest about the growing housing crisis in our area. This was brought on by the presence of folks camping on the lawn near the church, and some difficult conversations with our neighbours. We committed at that time to look more into what we could do to help. The spectrum of housing insecurity is great—it includes those who are houseless, those who are precariously housed, those looking for housing, and includes those who are comfortably housed too. 

One of the things that I hadn't thought much about before was how hard it is for students to find housing during their time in Castlegar at Selkirk. I learned this morning that there is a waiting list of about one hundred Selkirk students still looking for housing in Castlegar this fall. 

And I wondered: maybe some of us, our friends and neighbours, are in a position to help.

On Tuesday morning, I spoke with Christian from Happipad (an organisation dedicated to making connections between home owners and students).

What his organisation is doing (and has been doing since 2017) is connecting students with folks who have an extra room in their home, and are willing to rent it out for between 4-12 months. When I met with Christian, he wondered if I might know of anyone who was interested in exploring this further.

I said I'd check!

What I know right now is that Happipad has an online platform that helps to facilitate the connection between a renter and a host, and that it does a lot to make sure there's a good fit too. This organisation provides homeowners with additional income while providing accommodations for compatible vetted students.

I will bring some further information to church with me on Sunday for those who are interested. And, if there are enough people who are interested in learning more, I would be happy to arrange a presentation about how this could work for you, as a part of responding to the needs many students have to find housing as they come to the area to study. 

Please send me an email to let me know if you're interested in finding out more. And, if you want to do some sleuthing for yourself, you can click here to visit the Happipad website.

Every Blessing, 

Andrew Stephens-Rennie
Valhalla Parish Missioner