The cost of living in New Jersey is one of the highest in the nation while incomes have become stagnant; therefore people struggling to make ends meet are open to considering creative options such as sharing their homes. HomeSharing, Inc. began 31 years ago with the mission of creating these affordable housing solutions by matching those seeking housing with those who need additional income or services to maintain their homes. Through this approach, the needs of both home Seekers and Providers are met.
HomeSharing received a three year grant from Partners for Health in 2015 to expand their services in Suburban Essex County. Melissa Braxton is the full-time social worker who services Essex County clients, in collaboration with Lifelong Montclair. Since May 2, 2016 HomeSharing has made 12 matches among 26 people!
Home providers have the opportunity to remain in their homes without leaving the community, preserve their independence, and receive either a monetary or service contribution to their households. Through home sharing, seekers are able to afford housing below market rate rents, reduce their risk of homelessness, and live in a safe home. There are many benefits for the seeker and provider that are alike, such as companionship and added security, being better able to live on their current incomes, and access to a social worker who is there to help with accessing resources.
A Success Story
This story of two older adults is a perfect example of how “home sharing” works. “Ms. C” is a provider who is in her 70’s and lives in a large home, where her property taxes are approximately $19,000 per year. The amount of taxes she pays takes about 70% of her monthly income. She contacted HomeSharing because she had a spare bedroom and needed the monetary contribution to help her with the property taxes.
Ms. C was very detailed on what type of seeker she would like to share her home. Ms. Braxton interviewed several candidates and thought “Ms. J” would be a good fit; she’s in her mid-60’s, and was living on a tight fixed income and in desperate need of housing. Ms. Braxton introduced the clients to each other and they clicked right away. In fact, Ms. C is now teaching Ms. J how to cook authentic Italian food and Ms. J is teaching Ms. C English!
To learn more about HomeSharing, visit http://www.homesharing.org/