Aug 29, 2019
By Joy Lovinger
There’s a lot of publicity about the lack of affordable housing both nationwide and locally and Sonoma County is doing something about it. SHARE (Shared Housing and Resource Exchange) Sonoma County offers a timely alternative throughout Sonoma County and the Sonoma Valley.
A “Provider” has a room or rooms in his/her home and might need a bit of extra income or some sort of service exchange in order to remain home safely to age-in-place. The “Provider” is carefully and thoughtfully matched with a “Seeker,” someone in need of housing, who is screened and thoroughly background checked with proven financial sustainability should rent be exchanged.
Executive Director Amy Appleton started this non-profit program with her own money, now in its 6th year, and it’s become so successful that SHARE has multiple ongoing grants that help keep it running. SHARE has completed over 400 matches with an attrition rate of only 6%. The demand for affordable housing is great and continues to grow at an accelerated rate.
A focus for SHARE is to continue to find housing for the wildfire survivors, having placed 2 this month alone.
Some of SHARE’s Seekers are those who cannot afford to rent an apartment due to the increased rental rates and have great success helping to prevent homelessness and keep folks from experiencing long-term homelessness.
Services that are exchanged might include companionship, being in the home at nighttime, driving, house cleaning, meal preparation, gardening, pet care and personal care.
Rents exchanged average between $650 upwards to $900 per month for renting a room. SHARE also helps facilitate use of county or city of Santa Rosa HUD vouchers which values are very attractive for someone in need of additional income.
The reason for our low attrition rate is very simple. SHARE facilitates the match, completing paperwork, clearly and carefully defining and documenting the arrangement. In addition, SHARE provides ongoing support to ensure the match is successful.
Communication with any family member and/or friend support is key as is collaboration with any other agency that is involved with each participant.
SHARE is keenly aware of participants’ vulnerabilities, that we are introducing a literal stranger into someone’s home. We do our very best to help each participant to step through our process in order to create a successful and safe home share.
SHARE provides a valuable housing solution for Sonoma County. If you’d like more information or wish to support SHARE with a tax-deductible donation, please contact SHARE at 707/766-8800, online at www.sharesonomacounty.org or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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