Department of Aging Launches Campaign to Promote Shared Housing Program

The Pennsylvania Department of Aging has launched its first-ever marketing campaign to promote its Shared Housing and Resource Exchange Program, also known as SHARE.

SHARE is an affordable housing choice that brings together home hosts who have extra room in their home with home seekers who are looking for housing, in exchange for rent, help around the house, or a combination of both. Now in its fourth year, SHARE is currently available in Pike, Wayne, Monroe, Venango, Crawford, Adams, Union, and Snyder counties, with planning underway for expansion into additional counties.

SHARE participants must be at least 18 years of age and one of the individuals in the match must be over 60. The campaign, which features television, radio, and online ads including Facebook, is designed to reach and appeal to multiple age groups. The campaign uses animation and light-hearted scenarios to describe the contributions that both parties bring to a shared housing arrangement, and how they each benefit.

“We wanted to portray a positive perspective of a family of choice, and the fact all parties in the SHARE program bring something to the table to make home sharing successful,” said Margo Muchinsky, Aging Services Specialist with PDA’s Division of Housing and Community Services. “This campaign is aimed at educating people of all ages about the home-sharing program and how it could work for them.”

So, why share a home? Some people like the idea of having another person around the house. Others are looking for an affordable place to live or a way to share in household expenses. In some cases, it enables the older adult to remain in their home and community.

The SHARE program follows a structured, one on one, thorough application process to ensure safety, verify compatibility and collaboratively establish ground rules with the host and sharer. A home host and home sharer meet separately with the SHARE Housing Counselor to discuss needs and preferences, complete the application, and provide references. A SHARE Housing Counselor will conduct an introduction with the potential home host and home sharer, conduct reference and criminal background checks, and arrange a home sharing trial.

Upon completion of a successful trial, a written home sharing agreement is developed with the SHARE Housing Counselor, home host and home sharer. Once the home sharer has moved into the home, the counselor provides scheduled contacts with the home host and home sharer to provide ongoing support throughout the match. The counselor also serves as a referral source to community resources for all SHARE participants.

To date, the program has resulted in 61 matches, with the longest match lasting three years and eight months.

The SHARE campaign can be viewed at www.aging.pa.gov/SHARE.