THE SILVER LINING CHRONICLES - HOMESHARE - A New Option for Seniors Wishing to Age in Place

Real Estate Agent with Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. 516-575-7500 NRDS ID#641625055

In many different cultures, i.e., Asian, Native American, African American and Latino, there is a firm tradition of family commitment to the elderly. Seniors are respected for their many years of experience and wisdom. Elder care remains a family issue. Private care may not be an option and there may be few state-funded facilities. The elderly live out their years at home. Common obstacles facing American seniors today are generally not a problem in these other cultures.

In the U.S., families are more likely to live far apart. Children grow up and settle in other states, oftentimes after college graduation. People are left alone to cope without benefit of family or community. For many, senior housing will become an issue at some point in their lives.

The concept of HomeShare began in Atlanta in the 1980's, and is now available in about 30 states including Florida, Arizona and Oregon. It's available internationally, as well, in Australia, England and France. While it was originally aimed at seniors, over the years, it's been modified to accommodate people of various ages and situations. Quite simply put, someone who is suffering from financial hardship or social isolation and who has an extra bedroom to rent is matched up with someone who has a need for an affordable place to live.

The living room and kitchen, and in some instances, the bath, are shared which gives this arrangement the feel of having a housemate rather than a boarder. The homeowner and homeseeker have absolute say over the match. The Agency can only make suggestions. As the program's literature states, "It's not without its challenges but it is a way for older adults to maintain their homes and it can help people of all ages through transitional periods such as divorce, loss of spouse, company downsizing or educational pursuits."

The process can take a couple of months to complete. Dolores Tibbets, M.S.W., the Nassau County's Program Coordinator is meticulous about conducting an exhaustive pre-screening that includes criminal background checks, character references, and meetings between the potential housemates. All the employees and volunteers are sensitive to the fact that this concept involves letting a complete stranger into your home and they are extremely diligent about making sure these potential tenants are mature, trustworthy and consistent in their financial obligations. Additionally, they probe to insure that no former addictions, abuse or other criminal activity go undetected because, after all, homeowner security is paramount.

The Golden Girls

While they have already had a lot of success (think along the lines of The Golden Girls), naturally, some matches don't work out. Just like in any real life family situation, there are bound to be conflicts between people. Sometimes, lifestyles and habits don't mesh. It could be as simple a problem as experienced by the famous T.V. Odd Couple where one person is finicky and the other one is domestically challenged. Or, it could just be of a logistical nature like the renter's commute turns out to be too far from his job.

The Odd Couple

In any case, the Agency is there for follow-up. For a year after the match, they'll check in periodically and mediate, if necessary. They are completely committed to making these pairings work and they can always set up a different match, if need be. HomeShares don't have to be forever. They typically last 6 months to 2 years until someone's life situation changes and he is back on his feet again.

If you know of anyone who can benefit from this program, feel free to pass along the contact information:

Family and Children's Association


100 E. Old Country Road

Suite 29

Mineola, NY  11501

516.292.1300 ext. 2312

Fax 516.538.2548

This YouTube video will further explain the program and who it is best suited for:


The Golden Girls courtesy of Litandmore's photostream

The Odd Couple courtesy of Vintagecat's photostream







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Jill Sackler, NYS Real Estate Broker Associate based on Long Island's South Shore

Jill Sackler




     Specializing in Lifecycle Real Estate Transitions

"When your family doesn't fit your family home, I can help."




©Jill Sackler 2010



Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Gary Coles (International Referrals) 01/27/2011 02:34 PM
  2. Gloria Todor 01/28/2011 02:31 PM
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Cindy Westfall
Premiere Property Group,LLC Portland Metro & Suburbs Oregon - Tualatin, OR
ABR,GRI Your Tualatin & Portland Metro Real Estate

Hi Jill, A very well written post! I didn't know they had that here in Oregon. I'll have to look into this program. Sounds like a good one..and yes, can picture the Golden Girls Easy. Sounds like a good way to be able to stay in your home.

Jan 24, 2011 01:55 PM #1
Gary Coles (International Referrals)
Venture Realty International - Las Vegas, NV
Latin America Real Estate

Jill,  This sounds like a great option.  I plan on learning more about it.  Thanks for sharing.

Jan 24, 2011 04:12 PM #2
Ellen Caruso
Daniel Gale Sotheby's International Realty - Glen Head, NY

Jill my daughter lives away at college in a situation like this. An older women rents her a room and access to the kitchen and a bath. The rent money we pay helps her able to keep her home, and as for my daughter, a warm nurturing home is better than the dorms.

Jan 24, 2011 10:45 PM #3
Jill Sackler
Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. 516-575-7500 - Long Beach, NY
LI South Shore Real Estate - Broker Associate

Cindy - Thanks. Without question, people are living longer. Right here on Long Island, we have an aging population. It's time to plan for the future and delve into different housing options, especially when we know they're working in other places.

Gary - Thanks for stopping by. By all means look into it. You never know when someone you care about is going to need this option.

Ellen - You're a walking testimonial. I'm sure you can tell me about the advantages and disadvantages of a program like this. I strongly believe in the concept. That's why I became a volunteer for HomeShare.

Jan 25, 2011 02:44 AM #4
Scott Hayes
(512) 786-8300 - Austin, TX
Realty Austin, Broker Associate


You learn something new every day on Activerain. I didn't know about these sharing programs. But I have learned, thanks to your well written post.

Jan 28, 2011 01:59 PM #5
Gloria Todor
Century 21 Absolute Realty - Media, PA
& Doug Durren (484) 431-3686 in SE PA

Jill, Thanks to Gary's re-blog I found your great post.  This is such a great way for people to live as they age.  When I lived in Seattle more people were open to this idea, even younger people.  The time is ripe for such ideas. 


Thank you.

Jan 28, 2011 02:29 PM #6
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD
Roy and Dolores Kelley Photographs

Very good idea and a possible housing solution for many seniors. Thanks for sharing.

I posted your blog on my Facebook business page.

 The colors of winter in Maryland. Life is good for this senior.

Jan 29, 2011 07:32 AM #7
Jill Sackler
Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. 516-575-7500 - Long Beach, NY
LI South Shore Real Estate - Broker Associate

Scott - Thanks so much. I meet people everyday who could benefit from this concept.

Doug and Gloria - Yes, the timing is good for introducing this everywhere. It's great that you've seen this working in Seattle, even with young people.

Roy - Thank you for promoting this solution on your Facebook business page. I appreciate it very much and I'm glad you're enjoying all this snow.

Jan 29, 2011 12:12 PM #8
Sharon Alters
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308 - Fleming Island, FL
Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL

Jill, this is a scenario that I could imagine many walks of life needing at one poinr or other, especially in this economic situation. The article mentions a few like divorce, relocation and I could see college students and people starting out on their own who just aren't ready for a full blown rent or mortgage payment.

Jan 29, 2011 02:47 PM #9
Jill Sackler
Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. 516-575-7500 - Long Beach, NY
LI South Shore Real Estate - Broker Associate

Thanks Frank and Sharon - That's absolutely true.

Jan 30, 2011 02:34 AM #10
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Jill Sackler

LI South Shore Real Estate - Broker Associate
Long Island Living - Where Memories Are Made
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