HomeshareSLO offering new type of housing program
–Finding affordable housing is an issue for all communities on the Central Coast and one way to accomplish this is to share housing costs. The concept of sharing homes is the bulwark of HomeshareSLO’s mission. Operating under the nonprofit Smart Share Housing Solutions, they have been answering the needs of the increased housing challenges since 2016.
HomeShareSLO facilitates matches between home providers. They match up people with an extra room and home seekers, those looking for a home. In response to the increased housing challenges of the COVID-19 health emergency, they have launched a new Homeshare option.
The new Reduced Rent Task Exchange Homeshare allows housing seekers to trade some hours of assistance with household tasks for a reduction in rent, bringing monthly costs down to as low as a $150 utility share for a full task exchange arrangement of 15 hours per week. Home providers who have an extra bedroom can now offer it for rent only (average rent in the program is $725/month) partial task exchange, or full task exchange.
“This new option means that if you’re a senior living alone in your home and could use some help with housekeeping, pet care, yard work, computer help or other sorts of tasks, you can now leverage your underutilized extra bedroom to get the assistance you need,” said Celeste Goyer, Executive Director for Smart Share, noting that the possible task list doesn’t include personal or home health care.
“We do background screening on all program participants to begin, then guide folks through a multi-step process designed to help both parties figure out if the match could be stable and meet their needs. Once the home provider selects the person they want to share their home with, a trial match period begins, and if that’s successful, we all get together to complete a very detailed Living Together Agreement–Homeshare’s version of a month-to-month lease,” explained Goyer.
This program as well as their regular rent-share program, Tiny House Consulting, and Co-Living Collaborative offer Central Coast residents many options to not only find affordable housing but to offer aid to those in need. The new Rent Task program got off to a great start in February in rural San Luis Obispo County with the new housemate providing yardwork and pet care in exchange for a private living space. Most providers offer spaces of private bedrooms with either private or shared bath and use of the common spaces.
Goyer said that Morro Bay, Los Osos, and San Luis Obispo are always sought-after locations, but recently found that north county inland home providers have requested home seekers. These homes are in Paso Robles and Atascadero. “What we are not getting for these areas are home seekers,” Goyer said.
HomeshareSLO has modified their entry qualifications and no longer charges seeker fees and has cut the home provider’s match fee in half. Screening fees and credit minimums for seekers have been eliminated to allow the programs to serve more SLO County residents.
Interested home seekers and providers can learn more at www.smartsharehousingsolutions.org or call (805) 215-5474.
HomeshareSLO is also looking for volunteers to help in the office. Following the launch of their new Reduced Rent Task Exchange Homeshare program late last year, new housing seeker and home provider client numbers have really taken off! Current volunteers have all they can handle and have asked for more help with one aspect of new client intake: making reference calls.
Each new client provides three personal references that volunteers call to ask a set of questions. Each call takes about 4-6 minutes. A volunteer would be speaking with the applicant’s former roommates, childhood friends, pastors, neighbors, etc.
Interested parties should call the office at (805) 215-5474 and Volunteer Coordinator Carol Lambert will get in touch.
By Ruth Ann Angus