Desperate for accommo­dation for her party of six during the Vancouver Olympic Games, Calgarian Andrea Clements turned to the Internet at the suggestion of a friend.

She found Homes for the Games, which matches up Olympic visitors with Vancouver hosts, and found her social conscious soothed as well.

“Knowing that 50 per cent of what I pay goes to homeless charities was what sold me,” said Clements. “Hotel rooms were grossly expensive, if there were any available at all, and this was a way to give back to a city which is giving so much of itself to the games.”

Homes for the Games is the brainchild of Charles Montgomery, a Canadian journalist, who was compelled by the idea of involving Vancouverites in opening up their homes to out-of-town visitors and helping out charities at the same time.

“Charles and the rest of the board of directors wanted to bring an Olympic legacy of a different sort to Vancouver,” said Deena Tukaryk, a board member and marketing co-ordinator for the project. “We wanted to harness the energy of the Olympics to promote a more intimate cross-cultural experience.”

Fifty per cent of the proceeds are donated to either the Street to Home Foundation or Covenant House Vancouver, two charities which deal with Vancouver’s sizable homeless problem.

Vancouverites who host visitors decide on specific levels of payment, amenities and breakfast options, though all living arrangements are overseen by Homes for the Games.