Program pairs seniors with affordable housing seekers

ENCINITAS — A pilot program in Encinitas will pair seniors who live in their homes but need daily assistance with adults in need of affordable housing that can provide said care.

The partnership between Encinitas and ElderHelp, a San Diego-based nonprofit, is being hailed as a “win-win” by city and nonprofit officials.

“The city of Encinitas remains committed to serving all of our businesses and residents, and that includes seniors and residents with low income,” said Alan Lerchbacker of the Encinitas Senior Citizen Commission, which spearheaded the partnership. “The HomeShare partnership is a unique program that serves both of those groups while also alleviating some housing pressure within the community in the short term without a single new home being constructed.”

The HomeShare Program matches homeowners, primarily seniors, with people in the community seeking an affordable place to live.  In exchange for sharing their home, homeowners are compensated through affordable, below market, rent or services such as cooking, household chores, grocery shopping, transportation, gardening, running errands or other assistance, according to a news release.

ElderHelp will identify eligible homes through in-home interviews and screenings of all potential homes and home providers. They will also work to identify eligible home seekers and will provide a thorough background check.

Once a match is made, ElderHelp will conduct a match visit to work out an agreement outlining the terms of the match.

Encinitas provided the seed money for the partnership in the form of a $15,000 grant.

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