July 21, 2008 / Sports

Expanded home sharing program

The Brooklyn Paper

Younger New Yorkers have responded to New York Foundation for Senior Citizens’ expanded Home Sharing Program, a unique affordable housing option and free matching service, which has recently allowed younger “hosts” under the age of 60 to share their homes with older “guests.”

In the past, hosts were required to be 60 and over and adult guests 18 and over. Seventeen younger hosts with extra bedrooms in their homes are ready to be matched with “guests” over the age of 60; one match has already been made in Brooklyn.

Of the younger hosts, seven are in Brooklyn — two are in Carnarsie; one in Crown Heights; one in Ditmas Park; one in East New York; one in East Flatbush and one in Old Mill Basin. Ages range from 42 to 58 years-old.

“Now that we are welcoming the participation of younger hosts living within New York City’s five boroughs, we find that many do indeed want to share their homes with independent, self-sufficient older persons who will contribute toward household expenses and also provide social benefits,” says Linda Hoffman, president, New York Foundation for Senior Citizens. “For older guests, there are similar advantages to sharing with a younger person, couple or family.”

In addition to the financial benefit of shared living, some potential younger hosts express a desire to help seniors who need affordable housing as a reason for applying for Home Sharing. “There are people in need and I want to help,” says Mary Croney, a 54-year-old retired nurse’s aide who resides in Far Rockaway with her husband.

Another potential host, Anita Lipscomb, a 45-year-old divorced teacher, who owns her own home in Rosedale, Queens, is about to become an empty nester. Her daughter will leave for college soon and her son is in the military. “Besides looking forward to the companionship of an older guest, I believe there are older people who need affordable, safe homes. It’s a humanitarian issue with me,” she says.

Ditmas Park resident, Carol Smith, is a 50-year-old part-time insurance saleswoman, who owns a large four-unit home. “I think older people are respectful and can also be fun,” says Smith.

The Home Sharing staff recently made its first match between a younger host and older guest. They matched a 43-year-old woman with three extra bedrooms in her Brooklyn home with a 70-year-old man, a former host, who was forced to give up his Harlem apartment because the apartment building was sold.

Here is how New York Foundation for Senior Citizens’ Home Sharing Program works: Home Sharing helps adult “hosts” in all five boroughs with extra bedrooms in their homes or apartments locate appropriate adult “guests” to share their space. One of the matchmates must be age 60 or over.

Professional social workers carefully screen applicants and conduct in-depth interviews to determine compatibility of potential hosts and guests and help to facilitate and implement matches. Prior to moving in, the program offers a license agreement to help hosts and guests clarify the terms of their shared living arrangements.

Once the match is made, the staff continues to provide follow-up services. Guests contribute toward hosts’ monthly household expenses and, in some cases, provide household help or other services in exchange for reduced payment. Benefits to both hosts and guests include easing financial burdens, reducing feelings of isolation and loneliness and providing companionship and a sense of security.

To learn more about New York Foundation for Senior Citizens’ free Home Sharing service, call 212-962-7559, email aleven@nyfscltcop.org or visit www.nyfsc.org.


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