A creative avenue for expanding housing options for individuals of all ages is now available in Montclair and neighboring communities, with a particular focus on helping Township seniors to “age in place.” The effort will be spearheaded by HomeSharing, Inc., an organization with more than 30 years of experience. It is being funded by a three-year grant totaling $227,000 from the Partners for Health Foundation.
HomeSharing adds to Montclair’s affordable housing stock by matching “providers,” residents who wish to share their homes or apartments in order to keep them, with “seekers,” individuals searching for affordable housing in their communities. HomeSharing also assists its clients in locating and utilizing other resources such as area food pantries, low-cost medical care, and other support services. The organization’s services are provided free of charge.
Providers benefit by being able to stay in their homes without leaving the community and without needing to utilize public assistance, or, in the case of many older adults, being institutionalized. Seekers benefit by finding below market-rate rents that are more within their means. All clients benefit from these shared affordable housing relationships, which provide increased income for food, medications and clothing. In some cases, providers arrange for an exchange of service with seekers, such as meal preparation, errands, or house cleaning in lieu of rent payments.
Ann Lippel, Chair of Montclair’s Senior Citizens Advisory Committee (SCAC), states, “Both formal (2013 SCAC Survey) and informal testimony demonstrate that the lack of appropriate housing for seniors is the most critical impediment to aging in place in our town. The presence of HomeSharing is a first step toward alleviating that shortage for providers whose large homes with many empty rooms are tax burdens, as well as home seekers who cannot identify affordable and compatible housing options within the conventional housing market. We are grateful that HomeSharing is here.”
“HomeSharing is an outside-of-the-box way to address affordable housing in Montclair,” says Katie York, Project Director of Lifelong Montclair, Montclair’s aging in place initiative. “They will provide valuable opportunities for individuals to develop mutually beneficial housing arrangements with the support of a longstanding organization. Lifelong Montclair’s partner organizations will be working closely with Homesharing to help ensure its success.”
For more information about HomeSharing call the agency at 908-526-4663, visit homesharing.org or email Homesharing@verizon.net.