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The Vermont Home Sharing Program is a unique program that helps individuals who live in their own home and require assistance by matching them to suitable housemates who can provide assistance. While the program is not limited to elderly individuals, this article focuses on how aging persons who require assistance can benefit from this program.
The Home Share Program works as follows. An aging Vermont resident who has extra room in their home, but requires assistance to remain living in their home, takes a housemate. The housemate, in exchange for rent or reduced rent, provides a variety of services such as meal preparation, light home maintenance, housekeeping, and non-medical, personal care. The actual services provided and the financial value is different with every program participant.
The Vermont Home Sharing program is supported by the Vermont Adult Services Division of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living (DAIL), and is administered via two non-profit sister organizations: HomeShare Vermont and HomeShare Now. (While these programs are not available statewide, one might consider moving to a county in which the program operates.) HomeShare Vermont operates in Addison, Chittenden, Franklin, and Grand Isle counties and the town of Brandon, while HomeShare Now operates in Caledonia, Lamoille, Orleans, Washington, Windsor, and Orange counties.
Background screenings, logistical assistance in helping the parties to find the right match, and assistance structuring the arrangement to assure both parties receive the benefits they require are provided by both organizations.
There are no age, ability, or income restrictions to utilize Vermont's Home Sharing services. However, there may be a “match” fee for assistance in finding a housemate, which is based on one’s income level. (For very low-income applicants, it’s possible this fee may be waived). Applicants must also be Vermont residents and they must have room in their home to accommodate a housemate. Typically these arrangements remain in place for at least one year. Therefore, the elderly individual should not have a progressive medical condition that will cause a rapid decline of his or her functional abilities.
The primary benefit the administering agencies provides is matching people seeking affordable housing and caregiving opportunities with elderly Vermonters who have a home, wish to live independently but require help with basic homemaking activities.
The range of assistance options provided by caregivers (housemates) typically includes but is not limited to the following:
-Yardwork / Light Home Maintenance
In addition, assistance with rent and / or utilities may also be provided.
The application process consists of an initial interview, a background and reference check, and a screening interview between matched applicants. To learn more about the Home Sharing program, visit the Vermont DDAS webpage.
One can also contact VT's Senior HelpLine at 1-800-642-5119 or contact their local VT Area Agency on Aging. In addition, those that live in a region serviced by HomeShare Vermont can call 802-863-5625 and those who live in a region serviced by HomeShare Now can call 802-479-8544.