Osceola County is one of only two communities in the state of Florida offering a Home Sharing program for community residents. The program is managed by the Osceola Council on Aging (OCOA) and has been serving the Osceola community for four years. Funded in conjunction with the Osceola County Human Services division, the Home Sharing program is a vital component in supporting the need for additional low-income housing options in Osceola County.
Home Sharing is simply co-housing, co-living, and/or renting a room from the owner/occupant of a residence, whether it be a home, condominium, or apartment. The arrangement enables two or more people to share housing for their mutual benefit. A person can offer a private bedroom and shared common area in exchange for rent, for helping around the house, or a combination of the two. Every Home Sharing arrangement is unique. Fundamentally, the arrangements are about people helping people. To date, the Council has placed more than fifty property owners with renters.
The OCOA works as a coordinating liaison interfacing with the homeowner and renter to explore suitable matches. Homeowners/occupants and renters are both required to complete rather extensive applications to determine living compatibility. Questionnaires consist of inquiries related to pets, smoking, housekeeping habits, driving abilities, etc. Additionally, questions include financial responsibilities such as rental deposits and costs which normally include charges for electric, water, and cable, but not always. If a match is made, the Council oversees the execution of a rental agreement.
“The Home Sharing program supports OCOA’s mission to support our community’s low-income housing needs since we have a waiting list of individuals looking for Council housing,” said Nancy Vega, St. Cloud Housing director for the OCOA.
The OCOA is a member of the National Shared Housing Resource Center, a network of independent, non-profit Home Sharing organizations. The goal nationally, as it is locally, is to foster opportunities to raise awareness of the many benefits of Home Sharing while increasing health, safety, and socialization for seniors.
For more information on the OCOA’s Home Sharing program, contact Sandra Alvarez at 407-891-1467.