Sisters In Time

Sisters In Time

Shared Living: Finding your Housemate

Financial and Companionship Solutions for Senior Women

SCV Senior Shared Living is a housing referral service for women, at least one of whom is age fifty-five or older. The Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center offers this program, providing resources and help for women who have space in their home to share (the householder) and people seeking housing (the home seeker).

What is SCV Senior Shared Living?

This program is a free housing referral service. It connects women age fifty-five and over with other female adults. Those with rooms to rent in their homes can find women who are seeking affordable housing for financial reasons, fear of isolation, potential homelessness, or other reasons. The program is a self-selecting service. SCV Senior Shared Living representatives provide guidance and help. The program does not match the two parties—decisions about an appropriate housemate are the responsibility of the householder and the home seeker.

All home seekers receive their own bedroom plus shared use of common areas such as the kitchen, bathroom, and yard. Financial arrangements can be straight rent, rent plus household expenses, or a combination of rent and service exchange. They are determined in advance with a written agreement.

If both parties agree, the householder can reduce or eliminate rent in exchange for help around the house. Such help could consist of household tasks, transportation, meal prep, etc. For a no-rent situation, a reasonable service exchange would be no more than 10–12 hours per week. All household members are expected to do their share of chores to keep common areas clean and safe. The services a housemate may provide under a service exchange agreement are over and above these expectations.

We recommend you conduct your own research on home sharing. Gain a better understanding of the process, your obligations, and how to best work through any difficulties that may arise. As you do so, we’ll walk you through the process, assisting you along the way. Once you and your housemate are settled, a Senior Shared Living representative will check in with you.

The Benefits of Shared Living
In our discussions with senior women, we have learned about their concerns when making the decision to share a home, especially with someone unknown to them. It may take some accommodation, but there is so much more you can gain when you select the right housemate.

Whether you are a householder or one who is looking for a place you can call home, there are many benefits to sharing an apartment or house.

Security
Having a housemate can relieve anxiety and provide a measure of security. You would have someone around who will notice if you are having difficulty and assist you, which can be extremely important if an emergency arises.

Companionship
As social beings, living alone is not good for us physically or psychologically. Connection with others is a basic human need. Isolation and loneliness can lead to impaired health in every respect. Having a housemate to greet you each day, engage in conversations, and maybe share meals can provide companionship. You might find common interests and build a friendship.

You may be the kind of person who likes more solitude. Your preferences will be an important consideration in your choice of the right match.

Financial
HOUSEHOLDER: As a homeowner or renter with space to share, you can afford to remain in your home while sharing your monthly mortgage or rent payment and utility expenses. If your expenses are already manageable, the additional income could enable you to pursue a hobby or save for a special purchase.

HOME SEEKER: For the home seeker, sharing a residence can make it possible for you to stay close to family and friends. Lowering your housing costs will allow you to not only afford life essentials, but perhaps have some money left over for your personal enjoyment.

For both, some release from financial stress may help improve health.

You may wish to consult with a tax professional or financial consultant regarding the potential impact of homesharing on your taxes or benefits, particularly if you are receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Independence
A housemate can reduce the demand of home maintenance by sharing chores. She might perform some of the daily tasks that you find difficult or that you don’t enjoy, such as cooking, yard work, or shopping. She may be able to offer transportation, further reducing your costs and getting you to your appointments promptly. Both the householder and the home seeker can continue to live with a high degree of independence each might not otherwise enjoy.

Living Lightly
Combining households allows both householders and home seekers to share furniture, appliances, and other material goods, reducing the amount needed to purchase, maintain, or store. In addition to saving money, time, and space, this reduces your carbon footprint.

WHO ARE YOU?

I am a Householder

I am a Home Seeker: