HomeShareThe Affordable Housing Alliance (AHA) is pleased to announce a new program to assist New Jersey residents secure affordable housing. AHA is currently accepting applications for the new HomeShare program which matches home seekers with home providers.
What is “homesharing”?
Simply described, AHA’s HomeShare program provides an opportunity for residents in Mercer, Monmouth and Ocean counties (NJ) who have additional space in their homes to provide a room (or rooms) to individuals in need of affordable housing in exchange for rent or services.
What are the benefits of homesharing?
Affordable Housing Alliance’s HomeShare Program helps individuals in need of affordable housing and those who would benefit from additional income to be able to comfortably remain in their homes. Homesharing helps prevent homelessness and foreclosure, is designed to improve participants’ financial situations and living circumstances, and fosters independence with dignity.
Is homesharing for me?
Homeowners or tenants (with their landlord’s permission) might consider becoming HomeProviders if they:
- Have an extra room or rooms
- Are having difficulty affording their mortgage or rent
- Are on fixed incomes
- Need help with chores or home maintenance
- Have physical limitations (all applicants, however, must be capable of meeting their basic needs)
- Desire additional companionship
- Are senior citizens concerned about their ability to safely live alone
HomeSeekers might include:
- Individuals experiencing financial difficulty
- Displaced individuals or families
- Individuals in transition, such as those
- undergoing a career change
- recently relocated to a new area
- recently separated or divorced
- recently widowed
- recently retired
- Single parents
- Renters who cannot find acceptable and affordable housing because of the severe shortage of properties
- College students (over the age of 18)
How are homesharers matched?
Affordable Housing Alliance’s HomeShare program matches potential homesharers based on the compatibility of their stated requirements and preferences.
Anyone interested in becoming a HomeSeeker may review the list of properties whose owners or tenants have submitted applications and are approved as HomeProviders. Street addresses are NOT included in this database, and are provided to approved HomeSeekers when a HomeProvider chooses, after a review of their information, to meet the HomeSeeker.
HomeProviders will be given information to review on compatible HomeSeekers or those HomeSeekers who have expressed an interest in their property. If HomeProviders are satisfied with the review and choose to proceed, their information will be given to the HomeSeekers.
If both parties agree to meet, AHA will facilitate the introduction. When both parties decide that a particular HomeSharing arrangement is right for them, AHA will work with the parties to coordinate and document their desired agreement.
Is Homesharing new?
Homesharing is not a new idea, but is gaining popularity as creative solutions for the housing crisis become more necessary. Articles on the benefits of homesharing have been published in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Baltimore Sun, and The Catholic Review, among other publications. Helpful information may be found at The National Shared Housing Resource Center (NSHRC) at http://nationalsharedhousing.org.
What does the application process involve?
All applicants complete HomeShare program’s extensive but streamlined application process, including an initial phone intake, written application, criminal background and personal reference checks, and a personal interview. The process also includes a mandatory site visit of all potential homesharing properties.
What are HomeShare Eligibility Requirements?
HomeProviders and HomeSeekers must:
- Have no recent or violent criminal background
- Have no current drug and/or alcohol abuse, and be clean and sober for at least one year
- Provide names of 4 people who have known the person for at least 5 years to be personal references
- Be able to verify their income/ability to pay rent or mortgage regularly
- Be willing to submit to a criminal background check and authorize a credit report (at a combined fee of $55.00)
- Be willing, if requested, to authorize their physician to complete the Patient Health Evaluation
In addition, HomeSeekers must:
- Receive a monthly income of at least $750
- Be able to afford a minimum rent of $450 per month or, in certain instances, be willing and able to provide service(s) for the homeowner (details can be found in the HomeShare applications)
- Provide references from a previous landlord or roommate that support the HomeSeeker’s ability to be reliable and responsible in a rental or shared housing situation
How may I apply for HomeShare?
Individuals who are interested in participating in the HomeShare program and meet the eligibility criteria may complete an intake form