A program pairing seniors who need affordable housing with homeowners aims to keep Hawaii's kupuna Aging Well. The idea is about more than giving seniors a financial break or providing a new source of income for landlords.
If you have an extra room to rent, or are a senior looking for affordable housing in a shared living situation, then a program called Homesharing Hawai'i might be perfect for you. Founder Chuck Larson says, "There are 26,000 people on Oahu living by themselves in isolation. Almost every one of us knows someone who fits that category."
Larson started Homesharing Hawai'i, a project of the Hawai'i Intergenerational Network, because of "the need for affordable housing and the need to help people living alone in isolation."
He says it sounds simple but it's difficult to make a match. Think of it like dating. You need a large pool of candidates to find the right fit. "It's almost like a dating app. We find out what people prefer and match them up. If you had 100 [people] in each category you'd make 20 matches. That's the perspective on how many are going to be successful."
Right now, the program only has a dozen participants in each category. Larson encourges more to sign up by assuring people it's safe. "We make sure there's criminal history checks; there's so much criteria people have to meet."
He says the pandemic has impacted participation. "Since the COVID crisis, people have a lot more consideration on who they'd like to meet with or who they're even going to live with."
But he's still optimistic that when the program is up and running it can bring a lot of happiness. His ideal situation: "It's sort of like The Golden Girls where people come together and hopefully live out the rest of their lives happily ever after."
To sign up or learn more about Homesharing Hawai'i, go to https://homesharinghawaii.org/. You can also call (808) 308-5291.