FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 8, 2017
For More Information, Contact:
Gabe Carhart
(408) 299-5050 office
(650) 740-9399 cell
[email protected]    COUNTY PURSUES HOUSE-SHARING PROGRAM: HIGH IMPACT ‘WITHOUT POUNDING A SINGLE NAIL’   SAN JOSE – The Board of Supervisors this week took the first steps toward establishing a house sharing program in Santa Clara County. On a motion by Supervisor Joe Simitian, the Board asked County staff to consider developing a program based on existing models already in place in San Francisco and San Mateo counties.   “House sharing allows for what is effectively an expansion of the housing supply without the need to spend a dollar on property acquisition or pound a single nail,” said County Supervisor Joe Simitian, who brought the item before the Board. “It takes advantage of excess capacity, and gets more people under the roofs we already have.”    House sharing programs connect people who have their own housing (with an extra room and an interest in extra income) with a person who is in need of housing. The government role, usually effected by a third-party non-profit, is often limited to a promotional, vetting and matching function, with some follow-up support provided.   House sharing programs can be especially attractive to some seniors, who might be interested in renting out their extra space, but might not feel comfortable using internet-based solutions. Because of this, such programs include measures to reduce the opportunity for any type of misuse or abuse.   “House sharing has the opportunity to solve two problems at once,” said Simitian. “It gives folks who have space a way to get a little extra income, and it helps folks in need find housing.” Similar house sharing programs are already up and running in nearby counties. San Mateo County’s program began in 1972 and serves over 700 residents a year, while San Francisco County began their program last year.   Simitian noted that, “If San Mateo County, which has less than half the population of Santa Clara County, can find housing for more than 700 folks, the potential here is really extraordinary.”   “We’ve seen that this model can work,” said Simitian. “There’s a real need for housing, and there’s available space that’s ready to be used. Our goal here is to connect the two.”   “There are already 15 home sharing programs throughout the state of California connecting people with rooms to rent and people in need of housing” said Laura Fanucchi, Associate Executive Director of Human Investment Project, HIP Housing, which facilitates a Home Sharing Program in the County of San Mateo and in the City of Fremont.    “With a lack of affordable housing in our area,” said Fanucchi, “home sharing uses existing housing stock to create an affordable housing option for both the home provider who has an extra room to rent and for people seeking housing in communities where they live, work, and make their homes.”   County staff will now begin the process of studying the feasibility of such a plan, and will return to the Board with possible options.   ###

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