2008-04-04 / Community

Home Sharing May Be Answer For Senior Women

Far more women than men in New York City are seeking the benefits of New York Foundation for Senior Citizens' Home Sharing Program, the unique free matching service and affordable housing opportunity available to New Yorkers of all ages. The Foundation has discovered that more women take advantage of Home Sharing because they are likely to have fewer financial resources, are more willing to acknowledge their need for help and are attracted to the security and companionship of shared living.

To reach many more women throughout New York City who can benefit from Home Sharing, the Foundation is launching an outreach campaign to women's organizations and colleges throughout the five boroughs. The campaign will include mailings of posters and brochures, and presentations at these organizations' events and workshops.

Here is how Home Sharing's free matching service works: prospective adult "hosts" who have private bedrooms available within their homes are matched with appropriate adult "guests" to share their living spaces. One of the "matchmates" must be age 60 or over. In addition, the program matches hosts ages 55 and over with adults with a developmental disability capable of independent living.

Of 44 Home Sharing hosts who are currently ready to be matched, 43 are female and only one is male. Of guests currently ready to be matched, more than twice as many are female (28) as male (12). Younger guests also tend to be women. Of seven guests between the ages of 18 and 30, all of them are female.

Women's high rate of participation in Home Sharing is in keeping with local and national statistics. For example, in New York City, unmarried women outnumber unmarried men by 400,000, and there are nearly 500,000 more widowed women than widowed men in the New York metro area (Census). Nationally, eight in 10 older adults who live alone are women; elderly women are less likely than elderly men to have significant income from pensions other than Social Security (U.S. SSA).

"Our outreach campaign is directed towards New York City's women's organizations so that we insure that every woman in the City who can benefit from our Home Sharing program will become aware of it," says Linda Hoffman, President, New York Foundation for Senior Citizens.

Adds Amanda Forsman, Program Director for Home Sharing, "We have found that many younger women who are students or recent graduates seek out Home Sharing to enjoy a safe and comfortable living environment. The Foundation has also noticed a trend of women relocating to New York City in mid-life who are seeking affordable housing and companionship."

The benefits of Home Sharing include providing safe, affordable housing, companionship and a sense of security, easing financial burdens and reducing feelings of isolation and loneliness. The Home Sharing professional staff personally interview all potential hosts and guests and check their references. In addition, the Quick Match database allows the staff to input 31 lifestyle choices of potential housemates and - with one click of the mouse - instantly identify the most appropriate matchmates. Prior to the move in, the service offers a license agreement to help hosts and guests feel secure in their shared living arrangement. Guests contribute toward hosts' monthly household expenses and, in some cases, provide household help or other services in exchange for reduced payment.

To learn more about the free Home Sharing service, please call 212-962- 7559 or email aforsman@nyfscltcop. org. You may also visit www.nyfsc. org.

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