By Adelene Gallego Ramos
Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County recently launched a new House Sharing program with the County of Santa Clara, providing County residents with more affordable housing options. Catholic Charities matches people willing to rent a room in their home with people seeking affordable housing. The agency is the trusted matchmaker to ensure that room providers and renters are screened and compatible.
“We are incredibly excited to be partnering alongside the County of Santa Clara’s Office of Supportive Housing for this much needed housing resource for our community,” said Lindsey Caldwell, Division Director, Emergency Programs & Housing Services Division. “I believe the House Sharing Program is going to be a great success and will truly assist those in need of housing here in the heart of Silicon Valley.”
On April 3, 2018, the County Board of Supervisors approved a contract of $1.5 million with Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County to launch the new House Sharing Program. The pilot program has a goal to match 100 households (Renters with Providers) each year over the next two and a half years.
What is House Sharing? House Sharing is when two or more unrelated people share a home. This could be a homeowner or renter (House Provider) renting out vacant bedrooms to a person (or persons) seeking housing (Renters). It could also include two or more people renting a home together. Each resident typically has his or her own bedroom, but shares the home’s common living areas. Bathrooms may be private or shared, depending on the property. No two house sharing situations are alike; each is tailored to the needs and desires of the people involved.
“We’re proud that we can support this working partnership to find creative solutions to our housing crisis,” said Supervisor Joe Simitian, President of the County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors. “If we can expand affordable housing options by matching people with extra space with those who are struggling to find a safe, affordable home, I’m all for it.” Simitian noted, “We can have a real impact here without ever pounding a single nail.”
Priority for rooms will be given to County residents with incomes below the area median income. In particular, seniors and young adults may find this a helpful solution to their housing costs. Seniors who are “house rich but cash poor,” who own their own homes and have vacant rooms, may find this option not just an attractive source of revenue, but also an opportunity for creating new friendships.
The County program is administered by Catholic Charities, who will conduct marketing, outreach, facilitate the housing agreements, screen the House Providers and the Renters through background checks, and will provide advice and support to the participants. Catholic Charities operated a similar program in the past.
Individuals interested in participating in the new House Sharing program should call (408) 325-5134 or email HousesharingSCC@catholiccharitiesscc.org. For more information, please visit www.catholiccharitiesscc.org/house-sharing-home.