The SAGE Connection

Got an extra bedroom?  Looking for a new place to live?

Consider the Home Share Program offered by Senior Services


I recently had the pleasure of hearing Program Manager Rebecca Hutchinson speak about the newly revived Home Share Program, offered by Senior Services for South Sound.

Before the pandemic, this program was up and running, but had to be temporarily suspended for the safety of all involved.

Now, it seems, this program maybe more important than ever.  Seniors facing the possibility of not being able to continue to live independently can certainly benefit.

Potential renters and current landlords are both having a rough time. The repair costs and rent have skyrocketed, causing more and more seniors anxiety about where they will be living next month. Fortunately, help is at hand.

The Senior Services for South Sound Home Share Program:

Simply put, this is a living arrangement where Home Providers offer accommodation to Home Seekers in exchange for an agreed upon level of support in the form of combinations of financial contribution, assistance with household tasks, transportation, or companionship.

Home Providers and Home Seekers:

It works like this:

  • The Provider typically owns or rents a single-family home. However, if room is available and the landlord agrees, apartment dwellers can also be home providers.
  • The typical Seeker "is seeing rent increases that they can’t afford. We’re also seeing folks who are renting a home but the homeowner wants to sell,” Hutchinson said.
  • Provider sets the guidelines and terms, including what rent and utility costs would be. “A typical homeshare is priced at around $600 per month, but it’s important to note that it is different from provider to provider,” according to Hutchinson.
  • Seeker agrees to guidelines.
  • Seeker costs: $35 application fee.
  • Provider costs: $35 application fee & $50 match fee when matched

Application Process:

  • Anyone age 18 or older may apply
  • Three non-family references are required
  • Be as thorough as possible when filling out the application
  • A background check by the Washington State Patrol is required. If you lived out of out of state during past 10 years, a national background check will be done.
  • The $35 fee must be included with your application
  • Goals are set by both parties
  • Entrance Interviews will be conducted

Timeline - usually the biggest delay comes from hearing back from references. There are currently matches made in 2019 still going strong.

Match Making

A “Compatibility Conversation Guide” is provided to help potential matches to confirm or deny their compatibility to live together.

It includes a checklist covering a variety of subjects that should be discussed before a match can be made, clearly stating the responsibilities, interests, hobbies, dislikes, etc., of the Provider and Seeker. The final Home Share Agreement must be in writing.

The agreement can be as formal or informal as the parties are comfortable with, but must clearly state what is expected and agreed to by the provider and seeker.

Compatibility Conversations:

Pets, allergies, spiritual beliefs, sleeping hours, common interests, visitation of family members and friends are just some of the things that should be considered by both individuals.


Next to having an affordable roof over their head, companionship and continued safe independent living conditions are some of the biggest benefits.  

Responsibilities of Home Share Staff:

Once you are matched and living together, follow-up phone visits will be conducted by staff. Hutchinson herself will be a trained and certified mediator by next month and in-home visits can be conducted, if necessary, to solve problems that might arise.

Hutchinson stressed there are no guarantees for seekers– not everyone who applies can be matched. This is a niche market, not designed to cure senior homelessness.

However, since the provider’s benefits are as great as the seekers, the matches are a win-win for everyone involved.

The Shared Home Program is currently accepting applications for both providers and seekers. That being said, there are far more seekers than providers at this time.

So, if you have an extra room and are feeling a little lonely, need help around the house, or with transportation, or if you are having financial difficulties, this could be a program worth looking into.

For more information: 

Click here to connect with Senior Services' Home Share page. 

Contact: Rebecca Hutchinson,  Home Share Program Manager at Senior Services for South Sound.  360-586-6181 x111 or

Kathleen Anderson writes this column each week from her home in Olympia.  Contact her at or post your comment below.


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