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Intergenerational house-sharing for South Bay

Status: Ongoing

San Diego United States of America
Print this page City population: 100050% over 60Practice started in 2018


ElderHelp’s HomeShare program uses existing housing stock to pair home providers with those who are seeking affordable housing. For years, adhering to the ElderHelp mission, HomeShare has focused on seniors in San Diego, either those that need housing or those that want a housemate in exchange for rent income. Now HomeShare has undertaken a new venture, reaching a new population and a new area of San Diego. Services have expanded to South Bay, known for its relatively large immigrant population. The target population will be the student and alumni population of Southwestern College. We will offer HomeShare as an intergenerational housing option for college students, many of whom cannot find affordable housing in the community. Our goal for the first year is to enlist 6 home providers and succeed in matching each provider with a college student.

The first step is marketing to potential home providers in the surrounding area. ElderHelp will partner with the College to produce one joint marketing piece annually to share with the school’s retiree group, the continuing education program, and college alumni to recruit senior home providers. For the student home-seeker, notices will be posted widely on the campus and in campus publications.

The match process will follow the same pattern that has proved successful for the traditional HomeShare program.  Program enrollment involves screening clients through in-person interviews to get a sense of personality and housing preferences; conducting reference and background checks; and reviewing income helping us to determine that both parties have enough income to pay rent, household expenses, and to honor other financial commitments.  For home providers, we conduct an in-home visit to assess the home for habitability, looking at the spare room and shared spaces.  This is to confirm a roommate has space for their personal belongings, and that the home poses no safety hazards to a potential roommate. Once the client has been enrolled into the program, we being to look for roommates matches based on rental or service exchange amounts as well as compatible personalities.  We then finalize the match with a Match Agreement contract. The vital piece of the process is setting expectations to circumvent potential conflict. This is accomplished by clearly communicating expectations to each participant throughout the enrollment and matching processes. This includes establishing responsibilities for each participant, setting boundaries that are understood, and agreed upon, and by making clear the particular rental specifications that are required by the provider.  All of this information is captured in the Match Agreement contract and is signed by both roommates. The appeal of this small program is that it is local, it is innovative, and it is intergenerational, a perfect solution to promote an age-friendly community.

Key facts

Main target group: Both younger and older people (i.e. intergenerational)

Sector(s): Housing

Desired outcome for older people:

Other issues the Age-friendly practice aims to address:
  • Intergenerational activities

Contact details

Name: Delacruz, Anya

Email address:

Preferred language(s): English

Age-friendly practice in detail (click to expand):

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