Monday, February 25, 2013

Home Share: An Affordable-Housing Option

When Ms. Smith moved into her two-bedroom bungalow, she could well afford the $750 monthly rent.

Five years later, she found herself very ill with diabetes, out of work and not eligible for medical insurance with the state. The light at the end of the tunnel was still 18 months away when she would turn 65 and be eligible for a Social Security pension and Medicare. In the meantime, she had unemployment of $165 per week on which to live.

To complicate matters,  she also had two beloved pets she simply could not bear to part with. She knew she could no longer afford the rent and would have to leave her rental, but with no family in the area, where could she afford to live on $660 per month? Where would she find the money to pay for the deposit, the first and last month’s rent, the electricity deposit, the moving van?

With the looming fear of living in her car or a shelter,  Ms. Smith visited Fishline for answers. She was introduced to the Home Share Program, which offered her what seemed to be a small miracle. Her landlord approved a second individual in the home and a roommate was located and screened. The roommate paid half the rent and utilities. Ms. Smith was able to stay in her rental, keep her pets, and the roommate was equally as happy to have found a secure and affordable housing option for herself and her cat.

In these trying financial times, it takes very little to upset the stability we have come to rely upon.  An illness, loss of job or a family crisis can quickly lead to homelessness for the most unlikely of people.  While we cannot solve all the housing issues of our economic times, we have created a “housing bridge” to link home providers and home seekers to a temporary solution for an immediate and urgent problem.

Each and every Home Share situation is unique and should be considered a viable option for anyone seeking affordable housing options. Home owners at risk of foreclosure can access the Home Share Program to place a renter in the home and supplement the house payment.  Individuals and couples with limited incomes can access the Home Share Program to find a room for rent,  making life a bit easier until their income improves or they are able to get into low income housing.

Anyone interested in applying for  the Home Share Program should contact North Kitsap Fishline at 779-5190.

— Rae Rodriguez is client services manager for North Kitsap Fishline.  Contact her at

This article was originally printed on Friday, February 22, 2013 in the North Kitsap Herald as part of the Neighbors Helping Neighbors series.

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