NOW Lunenburg County is currently assisting a handful of families living in other provinces find appropriate rental properties in Lunenburg County. Many hoping for a September start for their children to attend school here. At the same time, there are many local families who’ve asked for our help because, for a variety of reasons, they are struggling to find appropriate housing. Air B&B is sometimes thought to be to blame or intolerant landlords who won’t allow pets or children or both.
We should sympathize with landlords. I can almost guarantee that every homeowner who has rented out their home has experienced a less-than-ideal tenant. I’ve seen it firsthand living in apartments where people have left their units in disarray, even with urine soaked floors from pets. Those tenants have ruined it for the amazing families who need a home; one they’ll treat with respect as if it were their own.
That brings me to the families who I’m trying to help secure housing. These people are homeowners themselves. In some cases, they’re renting out their homes until they sell to come here to start a new life. They’ll respect their rental home because they know how vulnerable it feels for strangers to have access to their biggest investment. When people can’t find a rental in their “community of choice”, they’ll go wherever they can find one. That might be of benefit to the neighbouring community, or to the neighbouring county or perhaps, the neighbouring province.
Recently I was helping a new doctor find an apartment, and with only weeks until his arrival, he said his only option was to consider moving to Halifax. That was concerning because if he were to move to Halifax, chances are, he’d have practiced in Halifax too. Fortunately, and with your help, we found a number of suitable options, and he found a beautiful space where I’m certain he’ll be happy in the town of Bridgewater.
In the case of the other families who want to come and those who want to stay, it’s important they find housing where they can taste what life is like here, and in many cases, find a home to buy. If that doesn’t happen, they'll move to the next community. They’ll work in that community. They’ll volunteer in that community. Their kids will go to school in that community. And they’ll buy a house and invest their lives and pay taxes in that community as well.
So, what can we do about it? We can connect with homeowners whose homes have been on the market for an extended period of time and ask if they’d consider renting them. We can call Air B&B operators and ask them if they’d consider doing a longer term rental. We can ask around, call our neighbours, ask our coworkers and hairstylists and share available rentals. By the way, all of these things I have done, and some have been successful. Do you know of a rental property and do you want to help ensure that new and existing families live, work, volunteer and invest in Lunenburg County? Help us create a database of rentals. Contact me with details at firstname.lastname@example.org
Tina Hennigar is the population growth coordinator for NOW Lunenburg County.