Jewish Family & Career Services (JF&CS) of Atlanta launched HomeShare ATL, a matching service for older adults and home sharers in Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton, and Gwinnett counties.
The program is the only one of its kind in Georgia, and serves all people regardless of their race, religion, gender, or nationality. HomeShare ATL provides housing alternatives to older adults who may need a more supportive environment, but do not yet need assisted living or skilled nursing services.
“The need for senior house sharing is on the rise,” said Jean Cohen, program manager of HomeShare ATL at JF&CS who plays a proverbial matchmaker role. “Atlanta is home to one of the fastest growing senior communities in the country, and HomeShare ATL is an innovative solution for many older adults who want to continue to live independently in their homes.”
HomeShare ATL is unique in that it is built on establishing relationships rather than just connecting homeowners and home sharers with the right location, amenities, and price. Potential matches go through a comprehensive multi-stage process to ensure the highest chance of compatibility.
“Our goal isn’t just to put a roof over people’s heads,” said Cohen. “Our goal is to build relationships, enable older adults to stay at home, and create affordable housing opportunities for both parties.”
Relationships begin with a two-week trial match followed by a three-month lease and ultimately extending to a year. Home sharing participants are not expected to and advised not to provide hands-on personal care such as assistance with bathing, dressing, lifting, or medications. The program is available to anyone age 21 or over and at least one party must be age 60 or more. Typically, the senior is the home provider, but seniors can be home seekers; and two older adults can also be matched.
“We anticipate receiving more applications from individuals seeking a home than from homeowners offering shared space; but we are only able to make as many matches as we have providers,” said Cohen, noting they are currently building the provider pool. “Home seekers and sharers can include many combinations from graduate students to widows to anyone looking to share their home for any number of reasons.”
The program complements other services for older adults offered by Aviv Older Adult Services of JF&CS, such as the One Good Deed friendly visitor program.
“This service will help transform lives by offering older adults additional options to stay in their homes as well as to have more help with household tasks,” said Terri Bonoff, CEO of JF&CS Atlanta, noting the program is a natural fit for the social services agency.
“Participants in HomeShare ATL will also have the benefit of getting connected to other resources JF&CS offers to the community.”
HomeShare ATL is one of close to 50 programs of its kind in the U.S. and is a member of the National Shared Housing Resource Center, where resources and information on best practices is exchanged.
The program is free to participants other than a one-time $35 application fee to support the background screening of all home providers and potential housemates conducted by a third- party vendor. Learn more at jfcsatl.org/homeshareatl or call 770-677-9435.
Established in 1891, Jewish Family & Career Services (JF&CS) offers programs and resources to help the Atlanta community. Guided by Jewish values, JF&CS serves thousands of individuals annually regardless of age, gender, race, religion, national origin, or ability to pay. We offer counseling and therapy for individuals, families and groups, older adult services, careers and support services, intellectual and developmental disabilities services, as well as free dental services at the Ben Massell Dental Clinic. For more information, please call 770.677.9300 or visit JFCSatl.org.
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