By Lisa Smith
In cities across the US, affordable housing is a major challenge. It’s no secret that older adults on a fixed income struggle to contend with rising housing prices and property taxes, but plenty of other groups are impacted as well—including teachers, civil servants, veterans, and others. With its concentrated population and demographics, the city of Washington, DC is particularly hard-hit by these housing-related issues… which is why the Mayor’s Office and Age-Friendly DC began exploring ways to address them for DC residents.
After looking into different housing-related strategies and solutions, the Mayor’s Office identified homesharing as a valuable alternative to traditional living arrangements that can create extra income, save on the price of retail rent, and even combat social isolation and its associated healthcare costs. Beyond that, they identified Silvernest as a recommended partner to bring homesharing to DC.
What makes Silvernest and DC a good match? Let’s explore the benefits of homesharing for our nation’s capital.
DC Homesharing Benefit #1: Senior Housing
According to a recent study by real estate platform Trulia, DC has the highest amount of homes with extra rooms available for rent, yet residents still report experiencing challenges finding affordable housing. The challenges are particularly apparent for DC residents over age 60, a population that has grown to over 100,000 in the past ten years. A study by the Urban Institute reports, over 50% of DC seniors rent their homes, and over 34% report being cost-burdened due to housing—which is no surprise considering the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in DC is $2,019.
Homesharing through Silvernest provides a positive, viable housing alternative to seniors in the DC area. With the ability to match with housemates based on preferences and compatibility, Silvernest offers a much more secure and personalized experience than the traditional process of finding and selecting a housemate. And because Silvernest allows users to indicate whether they will accept reduced rent in exchange for help around the house, it also helps older adults stay in their homes. Sometimes help with home maintenance can be the main deciding factor in a person’s ability to age in place.
DC Homesharing Benefit #2: Housing for Other Income-Sensitive Populations
The over-50 crowd isn’t the only group in DC that could benefit from more affordable housing options. Civil servants, veterans, teachers, and volunteers all face the challenge of making ends meet in an expensive city. For these folks, homesharing through Silvernest is an excellent option. It not only provides renters access to homes that might not be on the market otherwise—it’s also significantly less costly than typical retail rent. The average rent for a housemate on the Silvernest platform is $750/month—about one-third of the average one-bedroom retail rent in DC.
Silvernest serves users of all ages, providing affordable housing options and life-enriching companionship. In fact, 30% of pairings on the Silvernest platform are intergenerational, and 80% of homeowners say they have no preference for the age of their housemate.
DC Homesharing Benefit #3: An Alternative Landlord-Tenant Relationship
Because of its landlord-tenant regulations, DC can be a challenging city for homeowners and renters. Homesharing through Silvernest matches users based on compatibility, including lifestyle, preferences, and budget, helping lay the foundation for a harmonious co-housing relationship. And if things start to go south, Silvernest offers legal and relationship-management resources to help resolve the issue.
To learn more about homesharing in DC and create your own Home Sweet Shared Home™, visit www.silvernest.com/dc.
About the Author Lisa Smith
Lisa served in the Air Force before hanging up her beret for the life of a social worker. She obtained her Social Work degree at Colorado State and continued on for her Masters in Social Work at Boston College, focused on nonprofit management and older adults. Lisa has spent her career focused on housing issues and older adults while always keeping veterans issues close to her heart. Before moving into her Partnerships Manager role at Silvernest, she served in the Boston Mayors Housing Innovation Lab where she helped pilot and implement new solutions to the housing crisis in Boston. She continues to work and serve veterans during her free time through programs such as Team Rubicon, Service to School and Veteran Legal Services.
House sharing with Silvernest
You can learn more about renting out your spare room at Silvernest.com – Silvernest is a complete home sharing solution. With our 100% satisfaction guarantee, our unique roommate matching system, background checks, secure in-website chat and more, listing your room is easy, so you can focus on choosing the housemate that’s right for you!