1. How does Home Sharing work?
Homesharing is what it sounds like: sharing your home or rented home. Typically, home-share programs exist to help seniors age in place so they don't have to move. PHS is putting a twist on the typical home-sharing model by matching low-income adults with Denver homeowners/renters of any age that have a spare bedroom or basement apartment. PHS acts as a matchmaker between Denver homeowners/home-renters who have an extra bedroom or basement apartment, with persons seeking stable and affordable housing who are participating in a career development program.
2. Why did you start PHS?
While working for a career development organization in Denver, we realized that stable and affordable housing is a key determining factor in the success of program participant's. While trying to access stable and affordable housing, people ran into countless road blocks that prohibited them from getting the necessary stability to thrive.
The only requirement is that home-providers care about their neighborhood flourishing. Right now, many people lack access to stable and affordable housing. We want to re-think our homes as a resource for offering a hand-up to neighbors that are motivated and able to make big changes in their lives.
Each person will have their own space and will agree upon what areas will be private and what areas will be shared. After clients are interviewed by a PHS staff member, clients are given referrals and contact potential housemates on their own using a guide provided by the agency. PHS help complete a lease agreement between housemates and provides follow-up support.
3. Is it safe?
Home-sharing is a national model and we have travelled to 3 different organizations (and talked to many more) to make sure we are utilizing best practices that ensure safety and comfortability on both ends.
Our vetting process is comprehensive-we conduct a short interview for both home-seeker/owner’s, perform background checks, require a completed thorough application, call references and make sure home-seekers and homeowners are good fits and that it will be mutually beneficial.
We require home-seekers to be enrolled in school or career development program to ensure they are on a path towards self-sufficiency and enforce a strict, drug-free policy.
4. What are the benefits of Home Sharing?
There are benefits for the home-provider, the home-seeker and the community at large.
For home-providers, the benefits are numerous. They are able to earn extra income, build relationships across racial and socio-economic lines and be a powerful change-agent in our community.
For home-seeker, one of the reasons neighbors decide to home-share is because they find it difficult to afford housing costs on their own. For those hoping to find an affordable or low-income housing unit, they may encounter long or closed waiting lists. The reality of getting low- income housing within a short period of time isn’t likely. That’s why home-sharing can be a unique housing option.
Home-seekers share a home while they are in school or a career development program, which allows them to save money, reduce debt and keep housing and utility costs affordable. With market rents unattainable for many, home sharing gives the home-seekers an affordable room or space in a home atmosphere.
Right now, thousands of low-income families are forced to live in unhealthy or unaffordable options due to gentrification, an increasingly high wage-gap and the gap between needed and available housing. By joining PHS, you join a movement of people who want to see our community flourish and are willing to sacrifice their own comfort for the betterment of our community.
5. Who is eligible to be a Home-Provider or Home-Seeker for PHS?
You live in Denver-metro (we are currently working in Denver, Douglas and Arapahoe County!)
You can provide proof of property ownership and you reside in the home or you can provide proof your landlord approves joining PHS as a home-provider
You can provide PHS staff a tour of the property during the interview process
You can provide proof of ID and a list of personal references
You are willing to complete an intake application and sign and follow a match agreement with the home-seeker
You are actively pursuing self-sufficiency through a career development program, community college or technical training program
You are drug-free (PHS reserves the right to perform drug tests at any point during our program)
You can provide excellent references
• 1 employer
• 1 housing-related (former roommate or landlord)
• 1 of your choice
6. What information do we need from the person applying for home sharing?
Home-seekers are asked to provide proof of ID, names and phone numbers of three persons they would like to use as a reference (preferably employment, residence and personal) and proof of their income. PHS will conduct a criminal background check. Information obtained will require disclosure on the application and disclosure to potential housemates.
Home providers will need proof that they own the property or are allowed to sublease. They will also need proof of ID, names and phone numbers of three persons they would like to use as a reference (preferably employment, residence and personal).
Our staff will ask parties to provide other documentation as needed so that we may contact past landlords, run background checks and other pre-screening tools.
7. How long does it take to place someone in home-share match?
Our hope is that people will find a good match quickly, however, there are no guarantees that what you are looking for is or will become available right away.
Home-providers and Home-seekers are encouraged to keep in regular contact with their home sharing coordinator to receive referrals of potential housemates and then follow-up with the referrals given by scheduling phone interviews with them.
The number of referrals given depend on a number of factors: family size seeking housing, amount of rent charged/able to pay, location, pets, smoking and other personal preferences. PHS will work with Home Seekers/Owners for the duration of the time they are searching for a housemate whether they find housing through our program or something on their own.
8. How long do matches last?
If both parties are happy with the match after the initial 1-month trial period, a living agreement will be signed for up to one year. We handle the length of the "living agreements" on a case-by-case basis. A second year is dependent on the homeowner and home-seeker both agreeing to a renewed Match Agreement. The maximum time in our program is 2-years.
9. Do you match people of different ages, interests, and genders?
Yes. Home-seekers/providers are asked to complete a questionnaire giving them the opportunity to share with us their ideal home share arrangement, personal characteristics and other factors regarding living with another person. PHS does not determine matches, we find potential matches and let home-seekers and home-providers decide if they're a good fit for one another.
Once given the potential matches, home-seekers and home-providers have the opportunity to interview and select their own housemate.
10. How do you complete a match?
Our application is very thorough and goes through comprehensive lists of preferences and stipulations. Once a potential match occurs, homeowners interview the potential home-seeker over the phone and if that goes well, both of you come into the office to talk through a Match Agreement (Lease).
The two parties in a home sharing match are offered the opportunity to put their understandings in writing by completing a lease agreement with the assistance of PHS. PHS is available to help housemates work through any issues or concerns once the housing arrangement begins. The agreement can be changed if both parties agree to this and contact our staff to fill out a new form.
If the match needs to end, each participant is expected to fulfill whatever their lease agreement stipulated.
11. What can you do to help encourage persons to home share?
People may not consider home sharing an option because they believe they can find their own place, find a housemate on their own or may have had a negative experience home sharing on their own.
For those seeking housing, finding independent housing may be a longer term goal and Home-Seekers should take into consideration their ability to pay a first and last month’s rent and deposit, credit and debt situation and paying a rent that may be beyond their means.
For Home-providers, they may have had a negative experience sharing with someone in the past. It’s possible they were not provided with the guidance and support needed to help make a successful shared living arrangement (i.e. how to interview a housemate, checking references, completing a "living agreement", follow-up support). PHS provides one-on-one support to Home Seekers/Owners to help create a positive shared housing arrangement.
12. How do people apply to the HomeSharing Program?
Persons can fill out an application online. They can also call or email us to discuss home sharing as a possibility for them. Contact Taylor for information.
14. If I rent a home, can I still join Providence HomeShare and sublet a room?
Persons can sublet if they rent a home and get written and signed permission from their landlord to do so.
15. How is rent amount determined?
PHS will do an initial review and valuation of the space and give a “market-rate” assessment. Our policy is that all rates must be 70% of market-rate or less. Homeowners have the option to charge anywhere between 0%-70% of the market-rate.
16. Are there any fees or costs associated?
Yes. There is a $10 application fee to cover background checks and administrative costs. There is also a monthly fee charged to the home-seeker to help PHS have a sustainable budget. These fees will vary between 10%-25% based on income and rent amount.
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