2008-07-23 / Seniors

Free Home Sharing For Older Guests Throughout Queens

Seventeen "younger" New Yorkers have responded to the New York Foundation for Senior Citizens' Home Sharing Program. The younger hosts, under the age of 60, with extra bedrooms in their homes, are ready to be matched with guests over the age of 60. One match has already been made. Of the younger hosts, seven are in Queens; three are in Rosedale; one in Flushing; one in Far Rockaway, one in East Elmhurst, and one in Flushing. Their ages range from 42 to 57 years old.

"Now that we are welcoming the participation of younger hosts living within New York City's five boroughs, we find that many do indeed want to share their homes with independent, selfsufficient older persons who will contribute toward household expenses and also provide social benefits," says Linda Hoffman, president, New York Foundation for Senior Citizens. "For older guests, there are similar advantages to sharing with a younger person, couple or family."

In addition to the financial benefit of shared living, some potential younger hosts express a desire to help seniors who need affordable housing as a reason for applying for home sharing. "There are people in need and I want to help," said Mary Croney, a 54-year-old retired nurse's aide who resides in Far Rockaway with her husband.

Another potential host, Anita Lipscomb, a 45- year-old divorced teacher, who owns her own home in Rosedale, is about to become an "empty nester". Her daughter will leave for college soon and her son is in the military. "Besides looking forward to the companionship of an older guest, I believe there are older people who need affordable, safe homes. It's a humanitarian issue with me," she said.

Ditmas Park, Brooklyn resident, Carol Smith, a 50-year-old part-time insurance saleswoman who owns a large four-unit home, said, "I think older people are respectful and can also be fun."

Recently the home sharing staff made its first match between a younger host and older guest. They matched a 43-year-old woman who had three extra bedrooms in her Brooklyn home, with a 70-year-old man, a former host, who was forced to give up his Harlem apartment because the apartment building was sold.

New York Foundation for Senior Citizens' Home Sharing Program helps adult hosts in all five boroughs who have extra bedrooms in their homes or apartments locate appropriate adult guests to share their space. One of the matchmates must be age 60 or over. Professional social workers carefully screen applicants and conduct in-depth interviews to determine compatibility of potential hosts and guests and help to facilitate and implement matches.

Prior to moving in, the program offers a license agreement to help hosts and guests clarify the terms of their shared living arrangements. Once the match is made, the staff continues to provide follow-up services. Guests contribute toward hosts' monthly household expenses and, in some cases, provide household help or other services in exchange for reduced payment. Benefits to both hosts and guests include easing financial burdens, reducing feelings of isolation and loneliness and providing companionship and a sense of security.

The Home Sharing Program is administered by the New York Foundation for Senior Citizens through funding from New York state and New York City legislators, New York State Office for the Aging, New York State Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, New York City Department for the Aging and private contributions.

To learn more about New York Foundation for Senior Citizens' free home sharing service, call 212-962-7559, e-mail aleven@nyfscltcop.org or go to www.nyfsc.org.

Established in 1968, New York Foundation for Senior Citizens is the only non-profit, nonsectarian organization serving New York's seniors in all five boroughs. New York Foundation for Senior Citizens is dedicated to helping New York's seniors enjoy healthier, safer, and more productive and dignified lives

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