Michele Fiasca launched Let’s Share Housing after realizing the need for older people seeking community and cost-saving benefits. She is bringing a new housing model to market.
Name of Business: Let’s Share Housing
What the business does: Helps people in their 50’s 60’s, and older find housing. Not just housing: but cost sharing, community, and education.
How did Let’s Share Housing come into being? Michele had been hosting meetups in the Portland area for some time. Turns out there was an unintended consequence of these meetings. People at her meetups were becoming roommates.
“Women are primarily interested in shared housing because they can’t always afford to live alone. But they still want to be autonomous. Section 8 housing as an alternative is closed (or at least has a long waiting list). And there are people who own homes and have rooms to rent. They can pool resources and live better together.”
“A few years ago, only two percent of the population would consider sharing housing according to AARP. But more recently, 18 percent are favorable to the idea of having roommates.”
Let’s Share Housing offers education: How to live with others, conflict resolution, and how to pick a roommate.
Michele is planning to offer meetups on how to use the Let’s Share Housing web site. There will be two separate classes: one for renters and one for those renting the space.
Michele’s experience helping older adults find housing goes back to 1997, when she founded Adult Placement Network.
What is working now? Since homeowners and housing seekers were finding each other at the meetups, Michele started promoting the meetups as the place to find one another. The fee to participate in meet ups for six months is only $60.
Michele now works with Anne Adler to do the education part of the process. She really likes Anne as an educator as Anne breaks the information down into easy to understand considerations and steps. “People can think about how they want to live with someone and think about boundaries and what they can and cannot tolerate. The classes also teach the legal aspects of renting and sharing housing.
“This is a new model for aging,” Michele continues. “People find their tribe in their respective age groups. They watch out for each other. The government doesn’t need to provide; you can do it yourself.” She also notes that “Isolation can harm your health, akin to smoking. sharing your living space can bring many health benefits.
Take Away/Lessons Learned/Advice: “Jackie gave me the nuts and bolts I needed to put the business together. Jackie is a big believer in shared housing since she knows so many people won’t have the financial wherewithal to be able to retire or afford housing.” Shared housing can solve that problem.
Michele first started working with Jackie in about 2005 and has been coached by Jackie over the years.
Look for information sessions “Over 55 and Worried About Money,” which includes Let’s Share Housing, in Better, Smarter, Richer Events.