A home-sharing program launched in 2017 to assist those looking for a place to live on the Central Coast continues to look for home providers.
“Since 2017, we've matched almost 140 clients together in housing,” said Anne Wyatt, executive director for Smart Share Housing Solutions.
Have an empty room in your house you’re looking to fill with a tenant? Or just looking for someone to live with? HomeShareSLO, a program run by Smart Share Housing Solutions, matches a home provider with a home seeker, offering benefits for both sides; affordable rent averaging just north of $700 for the home seeker, and possibly thousands of dollars of extra income each year for the home provider.
“I was looking at ways to make household budget stretch, and so it was a great match,” said Lou Barron Melendez, a home provider through HomeShareSLO.
Melendez has been matched with housemates through HomeShareSLO for almost half a decade on the Central Coast.
“They sit with you and walk you through any questions,” said Melendez. “They walk through the whole contract because it's a contractual thing, and it gives you some peace of mind if you're going to do it the first time.”
Wyatt says HomeShareSLO is for anyone on the Central Coast. A task exchange program is another option offered through the program; help with tasks around the home, pay less rent.
“Safety, and security, is the primary component of this,” said Wyatt.
If you’re wondering how safe the program is, or whether the home seeker and provider would be a good fit, Wyatt says the organization does a criminal background and reference check for everyone involved, as well as compatibility tests.
“A lot of them help ensure that the match, the home providers and seekers, will be compatible,” said Wyatt. “At the end of the day, there's some risk involved. Some of the counseling is setting expectations and helping people understand that there is some risk in this, and whether the benefits are worth it.
“I would definitely recommend it. It's like a no-brainer in some ways,” said Melendez.
At times, the program has struggled to pair the large number of home seekers with the smaller pool of home providers. Now, HomeShareSLO is offering providers that sign up for the first time a $1,000 incentive. To receive the incentive, those offering housing must make less than $54,000 per year, offer rent at $850 or less per month, and plan to share the space for more than a year.
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