Senior living facility Wesley Homes Des Moines has partnered with Highline College to create a student resident program.

Five students from the school are participating in the program, which offers housing for $250 a month in exchange for 10 hours a week volunteering with residents.

“This is such a distinctive program,” said Wesley Homes Director of Sales and Community Relations Lynn Stapleton. “Students at Highline College are living on our Des Moines campus and interacting with residents by volunteering. It’s a win-win for both Highline and Wesley.”

Wesley Homes is in the midst of redeveloping the entire south side of its 42-acre campus to offer residents contemporary accommodations. This redevelopment occurs in phases over several years and will replace The Gardens, the five-story apartment building. Until then, vacancies are expected, with the facility needed a solution to fill those short-term vacancies.

Highline College, meanwhile — now a four-year degree institution — needed student housing during a time when rental prices are continually rising. Plans are in place to build a dorm, but that housing is two to three years in the future.

After learning about a similar student program in the Netherlands and on the East Coast, Stapleton and Wesley Homes Resident Services Administrator Lisa Meinecke began developing the details of a housing program with their team. They took their proposal to Highline College Director of Special Projects Charis Hnin.

“There’s a power to having a mixed population, a synergy that occurs,” said Meinecke. “Residents get to hear firsthand what the younger generations think today. The students get to see that seniors are pretty cool. The program just fosters a greater understanding between generations.”