1. What is Homesharing?

Home Sharing is a living arrangement that involves a Home Provider and a Home Seeker. A Home Provider is a person who wants to share his or her present home with another with another, unrelated individual. A Home Seeker is a person who is looking to move into the home of someone else. In a Home Sharing arrangement, each person has his or her own bedroom but usually shares the common areas of the home, such as the kitchen or living room.  In some cases, the Home Provider may have a separated Accessory Dwelling Unit or apartment in their home with a private living area and/or kitchen.  A financial exchange, service exchange, or combination of both is arranged by the Homesharers to pay for rent.

 

  1. What are the benefits to Homesharing?

There are many benefits to a successful Home Sharing arrangement, for both the Home Provider and the Home Seeker. For a Home Provider, Home Sharing can offer extra income or provide help with household chores. It can help a Home Provider remain in their home if financial reasons have made this difficult. 

For Home Seekers, Home Sharing can provide an opportunity to exchange services for partial or complete rent.  For both housemates, Home Sharing offers a more affordable way of living, the security of another person in the home, and the opportunity to create a lifelong friendship.

 

  1. Is there a fee?

There is a $10 fee that is used to cover the costs of the background check.  Applicants who have lived out of state within the last ten years must pay $25 for the background check.

 

  1. Can HomeShare replace my in-home health care provider?

A Home Sharing arrangement can lessen the need for in-home health care by providing a housemate to help with chores and household tasks. However, Vashon Household Homeshare is NOT a healthcare service and cannot provide trained caregivers or arrange for 24 hour care. While drawing up a Home Sharing agreement, Home Providers and Home Seekers should be very specific about which services they are able to do and which services (if any) will be exchanged for rent.

 

  1. How are potential Homesharers screened?

A criminal background check must be completed on applicants before approval.  VHHHS staff will meet with all potential homesharers and visit the homes of the Home Providers.

 

  1. What if I have a criminal record?

Applicants with a criminal record who are still eligible for the program are approved on a limited basis; they cannot receive the contact information for potential matches, but their own information can be given out. Those who receive their contact information will be informed as to the criminal record of the applicant.

 

  1. How are matches made?

Once an applicant is approved and the background check fee has been received, VHH will send the applicant a list of all the available Home Providers or Home Seekers.  This list will provide a brief description of each Home Provider or Home Seeker without providing any personally identifying information.  If an applicant identifies a potential match they must contact the VHHHP office.  The Home Provider will then be given the Home Seeker’s contact information.  VHHHP highly recommends that the two parties make arrangements to meet in a neutral place (library or café) before visiting the home to be shared.

 

If the Home Provider and Home Seeker agree that a HomeShare will work, the two parties should draw up a Homeshare Agreement and agree to a trial period of 90 days. 

 

  1. How much rent will a home provider charge?

Rent rates will vary match to match. Rent will be determined by the Home Provider and is part of the Homesharing agreement.  Rent will also depend on the type of services (if any) the Home Seeker will provide.

 

  1. How do the Home Provider and Home Seeker determine how much provided services are worth and how often they should occur?

It is extremely important for the Home Provider and Home Seeker to be clear on expectations for services being exchanged for rent.  This information should be detailed in the Homeshare Agreement. 

VHH suggests that the two parties agree how many hours will be worked per week, what tasks will be accomplished during that time, and how much “pay” will be per hour.  $10-$15 per hour is the suggested amount of pay for work done under a Homeshare Agreement.

 

  1. Should the Homeshare Agreement include house rules or expectations?

Absolutely!! The Homeshare Agreement should include things like housekeeping responsibilities, cooking arrangements, the purchase and sharing of food, the use of common areas, guest policy, parking, expectations of pets or children, etc…

 

  1. 11.    Why does the Homeshare Application ask for information regarding my health and other personal information?

For safety reasons, it is important to share any health conditions you may have with someone who lives with you (for example – heart conditions, diabetes, etc.), in case that person needs to assist you in an emergency.  It also important for both Homesharers to understand any other situations or limitations that may impact living together. 

 

  1. Is the agency involved once a match is completed?

After a match is made, VHHHP contacts both Homesharers after three months, six months, one year, and then annually to complete a basic follow-up interview.  VHH is also available to talk with both parties if issues arise. 

 

  1. How long does it take to make a match?

It can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months to make a match, depending on the pool of applicants. Applicants in need of emergency housing should look into other options while applying to VHHHP.  If you are more flexible in your specifications for a Homesharer, you will be more likely to find one quickly!  VHHHP cannot guarantee making a Homeshare Match for anyone.  If you know you will need a HomeShare situation, it is best to contact VHHHP as soon as possible so that the process can get started.   

 

  1. Do I have to make a Home Sharing agreement?

VHH highly recommends that anyone participating in some sort of Homesharing arrangement create and sign a Homesharing agreement, either using the VHH sample form or one of the Homesharers’ own design. Without a Homesharing agreement a Home Seeker cannot legally prove that they live in the Home Provider’s residence, a Home Provider has no stipulations for evicting an uncooperative tenant, etc.

 

  1. What if I do not like the person after we are living together?

A policy for termination of the arrangement should be outlined your Homesharing agreement. If one Homesharer wants to end the arrangement, it can be dissolved according to these terms. However, Homesharers are encouraged to first try to work through their differences; living with another person is always somewhat difficult and often takes work.  This is another reason why a trial period can be a great way to start out.

 

  1. How long do matches last?

Match length will vary based on the needs and situations of the Homesharers.

 

  1. How long does the service last?

After being approved for Homeshare, an applicant will remain in our database indefinitely, until they find a match or contact us to cancel. After the termination of a match, Homesharers may rejoin our pool of those actively seeking matches if they desire.

 

  1. Is Homeshare a “last resort” option?

No! Homeshare is a viable way to make your housing situation more affordable but it is also a great option for anyone seeking companionship or simply the security of someone else in the house at night. Additionally, those who seek Homesharing arrangements are often going through a transitional period such as a divorce, change in occupation, or return to school.