HOME SHARE

by Rajeshwar Prasad

 

WHAT IS HOME SHARE?

It is a living arrangement in which two non-family members are involved. The concept of Home Share we are talking today involves a Home Provider and a Home Seeker. The Home owner is an older adult and the home seeker can be someone above the age of 18. A home owner in this scenario is a person who wants to share his or her present home with another, unrelated individual. A home seeker is a person who is looking to move into the home another. In home sharing each has his or her bedroom, but shares the common areas such as the kitchen or living room.

 

For many older adults the most common scenario goes like this: They have plenty of space but have trouble keeping it up. They rent out a bedroom and a bathroom to someone who – in exchange of reduced rent – is willing to help out with household chores. Don’t make the mistake of thinking a home share will mean 24/7 care for the older adult. The help renter provides is typically along the lines of snow shoveling, pick up groceries, and giving him a lift to occasional doctor’s appointments.  The arrangement has been mutually accepted through a formal agreement drawn normally by a third party. The third party is normally “Home Share Coordinator” In Nassau and Suffolk Counties the agency providing assistance is Family and Children Association. The agency must act in compliance with the Federal Fair Housing Act of 1968.

 

The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in the sale and rental, financing, and advertising of housing on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, handicap, and familial status. …..   If you have a question about or wish to report illegal housing discrimination, please call Long Island Housing Services at 1-800-660-6920. LIHS is a private not-for-profit fair housing agency serving Long Island.

 

BENEFITS OF HOME SHARE:

Let us look at the pluses of Home Sharing: The benefits of home sharing include independence, rental income, household help, transportation, safety, companionship, and peace of mind for the seniors and often times their families. Beware not all benefits apply to all home sharing. There is a mutual give and take depending on a number of factors. All these factors are sorted out before the agency finds a perfect match that can work. In simple terms benefits could be:

* Home Share can allow someone to ‘age in place’ and you will hear more about this ‘age in place’ concept.

* The home seeker or renter gets an affordable place to live

* Older adults fill their wish, dearest to them. And that is to remain in their home,

* It is also safer to have another person around the house.

* It provides good company and helps financially.

 

DOWNSIDES OF HOME SHARE:

* Sharing home with a stranger can be a difficult adjustment.

* Home seeker’s habits and culture may clash when you factor in the generation gap:  For example their ideas about what constitutes “civilized” hours, a comfortable inside temperature, acceptable noise level, or responsible spending habits could be widely incompatible.

* Older person’s finances may be at risk. We all are aware that most elder abuse is financial in nature.

* It is a temporary arrangement. Older adult may become too dependent on the home seeker, and sometimes the tenant may begin to balk at what is required.

 

All these factors are taken into consideration when the agency process application of a home owner and home seeker, but there still may be something missing and therefore ongoing mediation and guidance by the agency is available.

 

PROCESS: ( may vary from state to state)

Let us take a look at the Process:

  • Both have to submit an application
  • In person interview with both
  • Home visit --- Is it good for a renter?
  • Check References and also a criminal background check is done.
  • When a good match is found, then both meet. They have the final decision.
  • There are mediation services also available

 

HOW LONG IT TAKE TO MAKE A MATCH?

According to Home Share /Nassau County in New York it can take from two to four months to make a match. Therefore, people in need of emergency housing will look for other housing until the staff can make a home share match

 

In Nassau County the agency charges a fee of $200.00 from each party for its services. In addition, there is a financial exchange between the home owner and home seeker for rent.

 

IMPORTANT REFERENCES:

 

www.nationalsharedhousing,org

 

www.eldercare.gov

 

www.alternativeliving.org

 

www.aoa.gov              (aoa is administration on Aging)

 

Paper presented by Mr. Rajeshwar Prasad at the 21st Conference on June 11, 2011 at the Indian American Kerala Cultural and Civic Center in Elmont. Subject: Housing Choices for Seniors