Home-Sharing: Where Affordable Housing and Aging in Place Intersect

Guest Contributor

The following article was provided by Sunshine Home Share Colorado, a grantee of the Honey Hochstadt Family Fund, a donor-advised fund of The Denver Foundation. 

Sunshine Home Share Colorado(Sunshine)  is a nonprofit organization builds relationships within the community by thoughtfully and safely matching a home provider over the age of 55 with a home seeker of any age.  Started in 2015 by Alison L. Joucovsky, a geriatric counselor, care manager, and community organizer who was on the other end of phone calls all day watching the housing crisis rise, and seeing the basic in-home services needed to “age in place” become increasingly cost-prohibitive for low to middle income older adults. The Sunshine home-sharing model is based on the best practices model established from 64 nonprofit home share programs across the US. This was the first home-sharing program in the state. 

Sunshine matches are based on “goodness of fit” and the social work process conducted by Geriatric social workers, supports safety and compatibility in the matching process. This mutually beneficial relationship potentially offering the opportunity for trading supportive services (gardening, household chores, transportation) and companionship for affordable rent. Home sharing helps an older adult earn extra income while helping someone in need of affordable rent find a home. When matches are made slowly, and thoughtfully they last. This is a longer term-housing solution helping our seniors to age in place and remains a vibrant part of our neighborhoods and communities.

Meet Natalie and Lisa

Natalie recently moved from Breckenridge to Denver to pursue her degree in nursing at the University of Colorado Anschutz Campus. She was coming with her aging Golden Retriever, Buddy, and was looking for a place that was affordable and welcoming to her and her dog. When looking for housing Natalie was faced with the high costs of rent in Denver. This is a common challenge our Denver students are facing, unable to rent without taking out large additional loans to cover living expenses. When Natalie heard about Sunshine Home Share, she thought it could be a great fit for her.

Lisa is an empty nester living in a large and welcoming home in an Englewood suburb. She came to Sunshine looking for assistance finding the right person to move into her home. Lisa was excited to hear that Natalie had a dog, as she had owned dogs all her life. Lisa and Natalie were recently matched, and it seems to be the perfect fit! Natalie found an affordable place to live with someone who loves Buddy as much as she does, and Lisa gets a little extra income and purpose from helping a student obtain affordable housing in an expensive market. 

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