Many people are familiar with the Fishline food bank in Poulsbo—but may not know that Fishline offers a number of additional programs serving the larger community.
Fishline’s HomeShare program is a housemate matching service that connects people with space to rent in their homes who are willing to charge an affordable rate (“home providers”) with those in need of housing (“home seekers”). Space in a home may be offered in exchange for rent, services like cleaning or yard work, or a combination of both. Fishline’s program is open to those who have a home to share or want to rent a room in Kitsap County.
The HomeShare program serves people from all walks of life: working professionals, people with disabilities on a fixed income, families, and seniors.
Rental rates in Kitsap County have increased 60% over the last five years, to almost $1500/month for the average apartment. Wages and earned benefits like Social Security, however, have not kept up, and many of our region’s residents—particularly seniors—are struggling to afford a place to call home.
For renters, home sharing puts affordable housing within reach. For home owners, especially those who are retired or on a fixed income, renting a room can help to offset the expenses of home ownership, providing income from rent, or, if they choose to trade for services, providing savings on costly home maintenance. Even for those who aren’t struggling financially, having someone around to help with household chores, yard work, errands, transportation, or pet care can be a huge relief.
For home seekers and home providers alike, the sense of security that comes from having another person around—especially for those who would otherwise live alone—is a major benefit of shared living. Having someone at home when you are away, having another person present in case of an emergency, and just having someone there to talk to can dramatically increase your peace of mind and quality of life.
There is no cost to participate in Fishline’s HomeShare program, and we carefully vet each applicant to help insure safety and compatibility. As part of the application process, we require a state and national background check, character references, and an in-person interview. Our participants create a detailed profile that covers their likes, dislikes, values, personality, and goals for shared living, in order to help them find the best possible match. We also ask that participants complete a home sharing agreement—like a lease, but more detailed—that spells out, in writing, expectations, obligations, and house rules.
Home sharing programs have been helping to create affordable housing options in communities around the nation for many years—no new construction required! From small-town Vermont, to New York City, to Denver, Dallas, and Portland, Oregon, home share organizations help residents find shared housing arrangements that meet their needs. Here in Washington, Shared Housing Services in Tacoma works with residents of Pierce County, and Senior Services for the South Sound has a home share program for seniors in Olympia-Lacey.
Fishline is proud to be part of the solution to our region’s housing crisis—but we can’t do it without you! Do you or someone you know have extra space in your home? Could you use a little extra income or help around the house? If so, please consider joining our home share community!
You can also view the Road Ahead episode on the HomeShare program on the Compass & Clock website @ https://www.compassandclock.com/post/the-road-ahead-homeshare-program-fishline
Article Submitted by: Emily Klein, Homeshare Coordinator, Fishline-Poulsbo