CHN opens international student housing program to Canadian students
“We’ve all seen the stories of distilleries retooling to make hand sanitizer, tech companies shifting production to medical equipment, and restaurants continuing to thrive by embracing new models. I’m proud that Canada Homestay Network can now be counted among the resilient businesses that refused to give up.”
– CHN Managing Director, Jennifer Wilson
Victoria, BC | June 1, 2020 – The Canada Homestay Network (CHN), a non-profit, family-owned Canadian business, is breaking new ground to overcome the challenges of the COVID pandemic.
For 25 years, CHN has provided homestay accommodations for international students studying at Canadian schools coast-to-coast. Starting this summer and fall, CHN is opening its network of vetted, experienced homestay families to offer housing to domestic students.
“Less mobility between countries and uncertainty around immigration are just a few question marks affecting how quickly international education will rebound,” says Jennifer Wilson, CHN’s Managing Director and member of CHN’s founding family.
“As a team, we were looking at our capacity — hundreds and hundreds of furnished rooms in caring, engaged households across the country — and the lightbulb came on. Why can’t Canadian students also benefit from living in a home away from home while they study?”
CHN’s model was designed around International students, many considered vulnerable due to language barriers and unfamiliarity with Canadian culture and norms. To ensure student safety, CHN hosts are carefully screened, including reference and criminal record checks, and regular, in-person home visits. There’s also 24/7 support and student check-in services.
“Peace-of-mind is a big part of our value proposition. It’s essential to parents sending their children across the globe,” says Wilson. “We think our focus on safety and support will resonate with Canadians, too, especially now with the addition of integrating advice from public health in areas like social distancing and symptom monitoring.”
Homestay is all-inclusive, including furnished room, meal plans, and amenities like laundry and WiFi, at a cost often lower than most on-campus solutions.
“Students can be totally independent or choose the care, support, and comfort of becoming a member of their host family,” says Wilson. “Most find a happy medium in between.”
Wilson says that as a business owner she was inspired by stories of Canadian entrepreneurs innovating and pivoting to stay open and competitive during the pandemic.
“We’ve all seen the stories of distilleries retooling to make hand sanitizer, tech companies shifting production to medical equipment, and restaurants continuing to thrive by embracing new models. I’m proud that CHN can now be counted among the resilient businesses that refused to give up.”
“If you’re looking for student housing in the next couple months, connect with us while you explore your options,” Wilson says. “I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what we have available.”