Many more people are turning to homesharing to help make ends meet.
In the past year, HomeShare Vermont saw a 39 percent increase in people needing an affordable place to live. The local non-profit agency also saw more homeowners who needed financial assistance with rent or utilities to be able to stay at home. In the past, most homeowners were looking primarily for services and help to stay at home, but now help with rent is a greater need.
The average rent for new homesharing matches this year was $164/month. While still affordable, that is up from previous years.
HomeShare Vermont has noted a real difference between the rural and urban towns in its three-county service area. In Chittenden County, for example, there are many more people looking for a place to live than there are homes available. In Grand Isle and Addison counties, volunteers have done a great job encouraging folks to open their homes, but are finding fewer people wanting to live in the more rural areas. Despite these imbalances, HomeShare Vermont saw a 39 percent increase in placements over the previous year.
The services offered by HomeShare Vermont focus on recruitment, screening and matching and are are customized to the individual. HomeShare Vermont provides comprehensive screening including five different background checks, and requires at least three positive references including landlord references. In homesharing, participants are able to choose who to live with based on who is most compatible. HomeShare Vermont staff and volunteers stay actively involved in all matches to help with changing needs or any issues which may arise.
Homesharing is an old fashioned bartering arrangement where someone with a spare room in the home needs a little help, such as companionship, help with meals or simply a protective presence in the home, and is matched with someone who is looking for an affordable place to live and can offer an average of ten hours a week of service. An affordable rent or help with utilities can also be part of the exchange.
For more information call 802-863-5625 or visit HomeShareVermont.org.