HOMESHARE - A Great Option for Seniors

 Some cultures have a firm tradition of family commitment to the elderly; Asian, Native American, African American and Latino, to name a few. Seniors are respected for their many years of experience and wisdom. Elder care remains a family issue. Private care may not be an option and there may be few state-funded facilities. The elderly live out their years at home. Common obstacles facing American seniors today are generally not a problem in these other cultures.


In the U.S., families are more likely to live far apart. Children grow up and settle in other states, oftentimes after college graduation. People are left alone to cope without benefit of family or community. For many, senior housing will become an issue at some point in their lives.


The concept of HomeShare began in Atlanta in the 1980's, and is now available in about 30 states including Florida, Arizona and Oregon. It's available internationally, as well, in Australia, England and France. While it was originally aimed at seniors, over the years, it's been modified to accommodate people of various ages and situations. Quite simply put, someone who is suffering from financial hardship or social isolation and who has an extra bedroom to rent is matched up with someone who has a need for an affordable place to live.


The living room and kitchen, and in some instances, the bath, are shared which gives this arrangement the feel of having a housemate rather than a boarder. The homeowner and homeseeker have absolute say over the match.


"It's not without its challenges but it is a way for older adults to maintain their homes and it can help people of all ages through transitional periods such as divorce, loss of spouse, company downsizing or educational pursuits," reads a brochure put out by the Agency named below.


The process can take a couple of months to complete because the Nassau County's Program Coordinator is meticulous about conducting an exhaustive pre-screening that includes criminal background checks, character references, and meetings between the potential housemates. All the employees and volunteers are sensitive to the fact that this concept involves letting a complete stranger into your home and they are extremely diligent about making sure these potential tenants are mature, trustworthy and consistent in their financial obligations. Additionally, they probe to insure that no former addictions, abuse or other criminal activity go undetected because, after all, homeowner security is paramount.


While they have already had a lot of success (think along the lines of The Golden Girls), naturally, some matches don't work out. Just like in any real life family situation, there are bound to be conflicts between people. Sometimes, lifestyles and habits don't mesh. It could be as simple a problem as experienced by the famous T.V. Odd Couple where one person is finicky and the other one is domestically challenged. Or, it could just be of a logistical nature like the renter's commute turns out to be too far from his job.


In any case, the Agency is there for follow-up. For a year after the match, they'll check in periodically and mediate, if necessary. They are completely committed to making these pairings work and they can always set up a different match, if need be. HomeShares don't have to be forever. They typically last 6 months to 2 years until someone's life situation changes and he is back on his feet again.


If you know of anyone who can benefit from this program, feel free to pass along the contact information:


Family and Children's Association


100 E. Old Country Road

Suite 29

Mineola, NY  11501





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Comment balloon 8 commentsJill Sackler • April 10 2019 10:11PM


Hi Jill! Enjoyed your post! Two years ago we had to make the decision to move my mother in with us because she couldn't continue to live on her own. We let her live in her home for as long as could. Put in a stairlift and pretty much outfitted the house to make her life easy. I wish we could have done a home share for her in PA. Thank you for sharing this info!!!!

Posted by Kim Johnson, Selling South Florida (Realty Associates of Florida I Inc.) 3 months ago

This is the first I've heard of Homeshare.  It's a very interesting concept that I can see working for many seniors.

Posted by Myrl Jeffcoat, Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent (GreatWest Realty) 3 months ago

Good morning Jill. This is very impoprtant and Something I have thought about personally.

Posted by Sheila Anderson, The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133 (Referral Group Incorporated) 3 months ago

Kim Johnson Thank you for taking the time to read it. I first learned about it around 10 years ago and liked the idea immediately since isolation and loneliness are real concerns. It's not perfect but can be helpful if someone needs to be reminded to take their medication, for instance, or needs help with the home maintenance. You might need to work out certain things in advance like if the grandchildren can come over and how long can they stay. Anyway, it's an option.

Posted by Jill Sackler, LI South Shore Real Estate - Broker Associate (Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. 516-575-7500) 3 months ago

Myrl Jeffcoat That's how I feel also. It could be similar to living in an adult community with those sets of guidelines and restrictions but the benefits are worth it.

Posted by Jill Sackler, LI South Shore Real Estate - Broker Associate (Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. 516-575-7500) 3 months ago

Sheila Anderson I would definitely encourage you to learn everything you can about the concept. Remember that you need not agree to anything that you're not 100% on board with and I imagine a roommate situation could work for almost anyone.

Posted by Jill Sackler, LI South Shore Real Estate - Broker Associate (Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. 516-575-7500) 3 months ago

Jill, this is great information. I wish I knew this a few years ago when my mother was still healthy enough to do this. She's in an assisted living facility now. Her health requires more frequent attention today, but this would have been great when she was healthier.

Posted by Mike Cooper, GRI, Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro (Cornerstone Business Group Inc) 3 months ago

Mike Cooper, GRI  Sorry, you're dealing with your mother's health concerns at this time. We're definitely at that stage of life. We'll have to see if this takes off. I learned about it a long time ago but I just saw it mentioned on the news last week for the very first time.


Posted by Jill Sackler, LI South Shore Real Estate - Broker Associate (Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. 516-575-7500) 3 months ago

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