The United States is aging and the baby boom generation is leading the most dramatic shift in our demographics. As of 2018, about 52 million Americans were seniors aged 65 or older but, by 2060, that demographic will reach 95 million, or 23 percent of all Americans.
With that shift comes new needs in a variety of areas, one of the greatest being a seniors’ desire to age at home within their communities. In Chico, Calif., one non-profit is helping to meet that need while solving another problem: affordable housing.
Home & Heart is a home-sharing program that connects older adults who have extra room at home but need assistance to age in place with members of the community who need affordable housing. It’s a win-win for residents who are happy to offer help with meal preparation, transportation, and companionship in exchange for a safe and comfortable place to live. And, it’s a win-win for seniors who can benefit from those services and use some extra income.
At first glance, home-sharing doesn’t seem much different than the roommate situations anyone can find on Craigslist or through word of mouth. But, as any renter can attest, those kinds of arrangements aren’t necessarily “safe and comfortable” for both parties. Key advantages to non-profit programs like Home & Heart are oversight and background checks.
Acceptance into the program—for both the home providers and home seekers—begins with an application and an in-depth interview to assess needs. Home inspections are done with the housing providers. Background checks are run on providers and seekers. Then, once successful matches are made, ongoing support is provided through monthly follow-ups for the duration of the home share.
According to the National Shared Housing Resource Center, there are programs similar to Home & Heart available in 16 states across the U.S., but that number is likely to grow as the population ages and the economy struggles through COVID-19 and beyond.
ClearStar offers non-profit background check solutions that can help housing match providers keep up with the pace nationally and make housing arrangements efficiently by offering fast turnaround times and low overall costs for services. Exceptional candidate care also makes the screening process a positive one so all parties can begin their home share experience on a happy note.