Are you in need of affordable housing?

Rental rates in Kitsap County are at an all-time high, and many community members are struggling to find housing that fits their budget. HomeShare home providers agree to charge an affordable rental rate, and occasionally offer reduced rent in exchange for help around the house. A shared living arrangement can be a great way to find affordable housing, participate in a household, and build savings.

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Why HomeShare?

Shared living is a win-win for everyone! Increased affordability, the chance to give and receive help with household tasks, and the security and companionship offered by shared living are some of the benefits. Fishline’s HomeShare program carefully screens applicants to insure safety and promote compatibility.

How does it work?

People interested in the HomeShare program fill out an application, and a “get to know you” interview is conducted with the program coordinator. A profile is created for every participant, identifying their needs and preferences in a shared living arrangement. Each participant undergoes a criminal background and reference check. When the HomeShare coordinator identifies a potential match, participants are put into direct contact with each other. It is up to them to schedule an in-person meeting at a neutral location, followed by a home visit. If both parties want to move forward, we recommend that they begin with a trial match (a period of time—usually two weeks—during which the participants have a chance to experience living together and decide if they want to proceed). When a match is made, we encourage participants to create a written home-sharing agreement and sign a lease (we provide samples of these documents).

Who is HomeShare for?

Home seekers can be working people, those with disabilities on a fixed income, seniors, students, and single parents. Home providers may need a little extra income, help around the home, or simply the security and companionship of shared living, and are willing to offer an affordable rental rate. They can be single, a couple, or a family. Many home providers are seniors who want to age in place and need a little extra support.

What are the eligibility requirements?

HomeShare participants must live in Kitsap County. Home providers need to provide a private bedroom, as well as access to a bathroom (shared or private). HomeShare is not a good fit for people who have had certain criminal convictions, have no income, struggle with substance abuse, or have disabilities that prevent them from functioning with a high level of independence.

Do I have to live in Poulsbo?

No! All residents of Kitsap County are welcome to apply.

Is there a cost to participate?

There is no fee for program participants. The cost of the background check is covered by Fishline.

Are there income restrictions for participants?

No. The HomeShare program is open to community members at all income levels. However, those who cannot afford to pay any rent generally have difficulty finding a match.

How much is the rent?

Home providers agree to charge an affordable rental rate – generally between $350 – $600/month for a private room and shared common areas. Some providers offer reduced rent in exchange for help around the house, transportation, and other services.

How do providers and seekers negotiate an exchange of services?

It is extremely important for participants to be clear on expectations around any exchange of services for rent. This information should be detailed in the home sharing agreement. Fishline suggests that the two parties agree how many hours will be worked per week, what tasks will be accomplished during that time, and how much “pay” will be per hour. The “going rate” for compensation is between $15-$20/hour, but it is up to the participants to determine the rate of exchange they’re comfortable with.

Do I have to sign a home sharing agreement? 

We highly recommend that all participants sign a home sharing agreement. This protects all parties involved by clearly outlining expectations and the terms of the arrangement.

How long does it take to make a match?

Matches can take anywhere from a few weeks to many months. Applicants in need of emergency housing should look into other options while applying to Fishline’s HomeShare program. In general, the more flexible you are, the faster you will find a match. Fishline cannot guarantee a HomeShare match for anyone.

How long do matches last?

Match length varies based on the needs of the individuals involved. They can be long-term, or temporary.

Is Fishline involved once a match is made?

After a match is made, Fishline will periodically follow up to see how the match is going.  The HomeShare coordinator is also available to talk with both parties at any time if issues arise.  

What if I don’t like the person after we are living together?

A policy for ending the arrangement should be outlined in your home sharing agreement (a requirement for written notice of 20 days is typical). If either home sharer wants to end the arrangement, it can be dissolved according to these terms. However, participants are encouraged to try to work through their differences before ending a match. Living with another person is often somewhat challenging, and usually takes work. This is another reason why a trial period can be a great way to start out.

Is HomeShare a “last resort” option?

No! HomeShare is not only a way to make housing more affordable, but can also be a great option for anyone seeking companionship or simply the security of having another person around. Many people seeking a home sharing arrangement are going through a transition, such as a job change, divorce, or return to school. HomeShare can also be a great way for participants to build their savings.