The HomeShare Vermont 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 HomeShare Vermont is supported by the Vermont Adult Services Division of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living (DAIL), and is administered via HomeShare Vermont. (While this program is not available statewide, one might consider moving to a county in which the program operates.) HomeShare Vermont operates in Addison, Chittenden, Franklin, Grand Isle, Lamoille, Orange, and Washington counties, as well as the Town of Brandon.
Background screenings, logistical assistance in helping the parties find the right match, and assistance structuring the arrangement to assure both parties receive the benefits they require are provided by both organizations.
*Please note that this program also used to be administered by a second organization, HomeShare Now. However, HomeShare Now closed in 2019, and HomeShare Vermont took over their service areas.
There are no age or ability restrictions. However, these arrangements typically 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.
For the senior’s safety, housemates are screened and must have no criminal record and no substantiated cases of abuse. In addition, four references are required, as well as a positive landlord reference.
There are no income or asset limits to utilize HomeShare Vermont’s services. However, if you are matched with a housemate, there is a match fee, which is based on one’s income level. The fee ranges from $60-$500, with most people paying $120. For very low-income applicants, it’s possible this fee may be waived.
The primary benefit that the administering agencies provide 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:
In addition, assistance with rent and / or utilities may also be provided by the housemate if they are not providing assistance with tasks.
The application process consists of an initial interview, background and reference check, and a screening interview between matched applicants. To apply, one has three options:
To learn more about the home-sharing program, visit HomeShare Vermont’s webpage.