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SHARE (Shared Housing and Resource Exchange) is a program available to senior citizens age 60 and older in Venango County. Shared Housing is a housing option that focuses on the needs of older adults. Since Venango County is categorized as a mostly rural community, Shared Housing is a cost-effective, non-medical housing model to address many of the barriers that senior citizens may face in our area such as:
– Insufficient number of affordable housing options
– Rising property taxes, development dues and other housing costs
– Seniors feeling isolated in their home
– Need for assistance with household chores
– An alternative to placement in a institutional setting
This program may provide companionship and security to Venango County residents. Shared housing may also help with the financial burden of living alone.
SHARE provides a mutual benefit for the Host (Individual wishing to share their home) and the Seeker (Individual moving into the home).
• Host homes must be located in Venango County and must meet HUD standards
• The Seeker must have their own bedroom
• All applicants must be over age 18; one individual must be over age 60
• The Seeker can only be charged 30% of their gross income, including utilities
• The Agreement can be for rent, resources, or a combination
• Not emergency housing
• Individuals not appropriate for the program will be referred to a community resource for assistance
– Resource Exchange
– Tobacco and Alcohol preferences
– Overnight Guests
– Home Amenities
– Hobbies and Interests
Each participant will have a SHARE Counselor who will help complete the application, assessment, and intake. The process will begin with a face-to-face interview at the Host home that takes about 90 minutes to complete. Applicants will be required to give their social security number to be used for background checks to ensure the safety of the Host and the Seeker. The main focus is providing a good match and Hosts and Seekers must be flexible, accommodating, good communicators, sensitive to others, good communicators, and problem solvers.
Once the application is accepted, the Counselor will then identify and introduce potential matches, and facilitate a trial before negotiating and implementing match agreements. Another benefit of this program is ongoing monitoring and support of the matches. The Counselor is also there to provide community outreach and education. The SHARE Counselor will also assist with any conflict resolution and conduct monthly check-ins and periodic home visits that are required. Contract termination is another duty of the Housing Counselor. Either participant can end the Agreement with a 30-day written notice. In the event of an emergency, an Agreement can end with a 5-day written notice.
The program does face some challenges however. There needs to be enough qualified housing applicants to make a good match and it is important that both the Host and the Seeker really want to share a home. In some cases, it could be that some family members are on-board with the shared housing and other family members are not. Since there are people that may be desperate for housing, they may agree to participate in the SHARE program just to get a roof over their head. Participants with a mental health diagnosis may also need on-going support from the surrounding community. These are all issues that will be addressed by Jeremy Tidd, Venango County’s Housing Counselor.
Additional information is available by contacting:
Venango County Housing Counselor