CARLSBAD — With housing affordability a difficult challenge for many to overcome in San Diego County, the city of Carlsbad has partnered with ElderHelp to alleviate some of those challenges.
The two entities launched HomeShare on Jan. 4, which matches vetted adults of all ages with seniors who are 60 years and older. Anya Delacruz, associate executive director of ElderHelp, said seniors may be in need of help with offsetting their mortgage to remain in their homes, a roommate for companion or other services, or at least a lower cost rent.
“Our mission is to keep seniors in their homes,” Delacruz said. “A lot of seniors have too much home. This is a way to match them with a roommate who can either pay rent … or provide some services.”
ElderHelp screens all applicants and matches potential partners through numerous compatibility methods. Becky Mayeaux, city housing services coordinator, said ElderHelp is contracted for the pilot program.
The city will not engage in the screening process, but felt it was necessary to add another housing option for residents.
Delacruz said the screening process includes a background check, references, in-home check, an interview and, possibly depending on the situation, a DMV check. The program also includes roommate meditation, while rent is up to the homeowner or landlord’s discretion.
Those seniors who rent an apartment, mobile home or other residence are eligible for the program, according to Dana Vacante-Garcia, North County HomeShare coordinator.
“We are really here to make sure that they are a good match and compatible,” she said. “We’re not here to throw people into a home to get a match.”
For the past 25 years, ElderHelp has been matching seniors and other adults in San Diego and Poway. The partnership with Carlsbad is the first expansion into North County, and Mayeaux said she hopes it will spur other North County cities to jump on board.
Delacruz, meanwhile, said the age differences have not been an issue in the past, as some people are looking for an intergenerational connection.
“For the person that moves in, they’re getting affordable rent they may not have access to,” she added. “Again, for them it could also be companionship or a sense of stability.”
Mayeaux said the city has been looking at all options for housing and reviewing its affordable housing stock through its various programs, including the Homeless Outreach Program.
“Any housing options that we can offer the citizens is what we want,” she explained. “This is a great way for folks to get access to affordable housing.”
Delacruz said ElderHelp is also open to placing a senior with a family, which allows the program to expand its pool of available housing. However, Delacruz said the pilot program will also allow ElderHelp and the city to identify needs other than housing.
“There are people who are making tons of phone calls to figure out where to live,” Delacruz said. “For us to put them into housing and stably housed, it puts less pressure on the other housing resources in the community.”
To apply for the program, visit www.elderhelpofsandiego.org.