A new program in San Luis Obispo county connects residents who have extra rooms in their homes to students in need of affordable housing: HomeShare SLO.
San Luis Obispo is home to nearly 11,000 elderly people who live with extra bedrooms. If those extra rooms were offered to college students, the city could create nearly 2,200 housing units without having to build new housing, HomeShare SLO Director of Operations Celeste Goyer said.
“It’s a sharing economy,” Goyer said. “We are leveraging existing resources to create new housing.”
Goyer said older individuals will be the primary providers of rooms rented by students. She also said the program offers students a quieter and more home-like atmosphere. Specifically, the program could be more attractive to graduate students looking for a more serious atmosphere.
The program was introduced to San Luis Obispo in 2016 and is still in the process of taking off. San Luis Obispo’s HomeShare SLO organization is one of more than 60 like it across the country. Currently, HomeShare SLO has 12 available rooms and 15 to 20 home seekers, according to Goyer.
Goyer said HomeShare SLO differs from other online buying methods because it does background screenings, verifying the identities of both the homeowner and the renter.
“You know you’re moving in with someone who doesn’t have criminal records or have red flags about them,” Goyer said.
HomeShare SLO offers rentals for up to nine months, making it compatible with Cal Poly students’ academic schedules. Prices per unit, which are often private bedrooms, cost between $525 and $800.
“It’s not designed for a summer lease,” Goyer said. “It’s more likely the student would rent for nine months and then not have the unit for summer.”
However, Goyer said there could be possible openings for three-month leases as well.
The program requires that the renter earns $1,200 monthly. If college students cannot meet the minimum income requirement, their parents can issue a statement of commitment to make up for the cost. The written statement verifies to HomeShare SLO that the parents will provide the difference between the student’s monthly income and the $1,200.
Goyer said the $1,200 minimum monthly income ensures the security of the homeowner.
“It’s to protect home providers so that the rent isn’t virtually all the money the student is making,” Goyer said. “We want the home provider to be comfortable that the renter pays rent, and more security is what we’re after.”
Home Share SLO is accepting student applications at its website, http://www.homeshareslo.org/contact/.