Wednesday, October 22, 2014

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Service Helps Seniors Find Roommates Of All Ages

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Younger and older people can close the generation gap, and find a place to live, thanks a free roommate matching service. NY1 Home reporter Jill Scott filed the following report.

For more than three decades, 67-year-old Maxine Glorsky has opened up the spare bedrooms in her spacious three-bedroom West Village apartment to roommates. Now, one of her roommates, Amy, is almost half her age. It may seem like an unusual situation to some, but these two couldn't be more compatible. They met each other through a free roommate matching service offered by the New York Foundation for Senior Citizens.

Since the early 1980s, Home Sharing Program has allowed adults aged 60 or over to find potential roommates. As the need for affordable housing increases, so does the program’s popularity. Seniors not only find housing and financial support, but also companionship.

“There are many seniors who are so lonely. Their children are either far away or they don't have children, they have lost their spouses and in many instances may have even lost their friends,” says Linda Hoffman, president of NY Foundation for Senior Citizens. “So bringing a new person into the home, whether they are older or younger, it brings back life into their homes.”

Not all cases are like Glorsky and her roommate Amy. Some bring together seniors with seniors, or younger hosts with senior guests, but Glorsky says in her case, it’s definitely a win-win situation.

“It deals with the economics of where young people are and where older people might be. I think it really satisfies a great need,” says Glorsky.

All applicants must undergo a thorough screening process and reference check, starting with a computerized quick match program including 31 different lifestyle questions to maximize compatibility.

Once the questions are answered, the social workers from the program then interview each potential guest and host to find a perfect match. This two-part process offers a level of confidence in the match and a sense of security.

“When I moved to New York I did not know a single person, and so it didn’t know anyone well enough to live with them. This seemed to be a better choice because it was someone that someone else had vetted,” says Glorsky’s roommate Amy.

Unlike many roommate situations, there is no lease involved and signed agreements are brokered through the organization.

If it's a frail elderly person, in some cases the guest can offer services as a form of payment.

If you're interested in being a host or a guest, you can contact the free Home Sharing service, at 212- 962-7559 or visit www.nyfsc.org.

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