Harvey A. Friedman Center for Aging and Community Partners Offer Intergenerational Housing Opportunity for WashU Graduate Students
HomeShare St. Louis aims to match Washington University graduate students who are interested in saving 30-50% on housing costs to older adults with homes in nearby neighborhoods.
Together with community partners, the Harvey A. Friedman Center for Aging is making it easier and more affordable for WashU graduate students and aging residents to communicate, collaborate and cohabitate.
Home sharing is a mutually beneficial arrangement in which older adult homeowners provide spare space to graduate students at below-market rates. This allows students to limit incurred debt while pursuing an education and, to live in neighborhoods near the University that may otherwise be financially inaccessible. Simultaneously, older adults can benefit socially from sharing their homes with a younger housemate and gain extra income, which can enable home maintenance and better health. Read more about the origins and advantages of home sharing.
In 2017, with support from the Harvey A. Friedman Center for Aging, the Skinker DeBaliviere Community Council began developing its own home sharing program, HomeShare St. Louis, in an effort to address several residents’ concerns about their ability to remain in their homes as they age. Many properties in the Skinker DeBaliviere neighborhood are quite large and can be expensive to maintain, but their size also means there are extra rooms that can be rented out to students in a mutually beneficial arrangement.
In early 2018, HomeShare St. Louis began recruiting homeowners and students for their initial pilot program, which ultimately included two student-homeowner pairs for the 2018-2019 academic year.
“HomeShare St. Louis provided a comfortable transition into a new and unknown city,” says Julia Taylor, an occupational therapy student at the School of Medicine who participated in the initial pilot program. “My hosts are wonderful to live with—hospitable, understanding, friendly, hilarious, and willing to be tested again and again on all sorts of occupational therapy assessments and evaluations.” Being a part of HomeShare St. Louis has benefited Julia in a number of ways and she looks forward to extending her arrangement and continuing to live with her housemates for a few more months.
Following the success of the pilot program, HomeShare St. Louis expanded its service area and hopes to match additional Washington University graduate students with older adult housemates for the 2019-2020 academic year. The program’s service area now includes the Skinker DeBaliviere, University City, Clayton, and Central West End neighborhoods. All of these neighborhoods are conveniently located minutes away from Washington University in St. Louis and several public transportation routes, local amenities, and culturally significant sites and attractions. These neighborhoods are already home to hundreds of students and are known to be safe and easy to navigate.
Currently, HomeShare St. Louis is currently matching graduate and professional students with older adult homeowners; the program is unable to provide housing to undergraduates at this time. Students studying fields related to older adults and health, including social work, psychology, applied health, public health, and geriatric medicine, are especially encouraged to apply.
The program aims to match interested students with homeowners within a month of receiving a student’s application by collecting substantial information such as compatible needs and preferences, values, and schedules. Interviews will conducted and the requisite background, credit and reference checks are required.
Find more information and application materials for both graduate students and older homeowners on the Skinker DeBaliviere Community Council’s website.