2008-11-21 / Community

Home Sharing Gives Queens Residents Relief

With rising rents and fuels costs, many Queens residents are turning to Home Sharing, New York Foundation for Senior Citizens' free matching service and affordable housing option to help them cope with the cost of maintaining a home or as an alternative to renting their own apartment.

Home Sharing, the only such service in New York City, matches "hosts" who have extra private bedrooms in their homes or apartments to share with a responsible, compatible "guest" seeking suitable, affordable housing. Guests contribute toward the host's monthly household expenses and, in some cases, provide household help or other services in exchange for reduced payment. One of the "match-mates" must be age 60 or older.

In the past few months, NYFSC free Home Sharing Program has received the largest increase in home sharing applicants at any time in the program's 27 year history. The Foundation attributes this jump to the economic hardship experienced by both homeowners and renters and the

difficulties experienced by those seeking affordable housing in the city. Home Sharing's professional social workers carefully screen all applicants and conduct in-depth interviews to

determine compatibility of potential hosts and guests, instantly identifying the most appropriate matchmates through Quickmatch, a computer program designed to pair participants and facilitate matches. Once a match is made and prior to moving in, the service offers a license agreement to help hosts and guests clarify the terms of their shared living arrangements. The staff continues services following move in.

Home Sharing is funded by New York State and New York City legislators, New York State Office for the Aging, New York State Office of Mental Retardation and Develop-mental Disablilities, New York City Department for the Aging and private contributions. To learn more about the New York Foundation for Senior Citizens' free Home Sharing service, call 212-962-7559, visit www.nyfsc.org or e-mail home.sharing@yahoo.com.

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