In cities across the US, affordable housing is a major challenge. In particular, older adults on a fixed income struggle to contend with rising housing prices and property taxes. With its concentrated population and demographics, the city of Washington, DC is particularly hard-hit by these housing-related issues.
According to a recent study by real estate platform Trulia, DC has the highest amount of homes with extra rooms available for rent, yet residents still report experiencing challenges finding affordable housing. The challenges are particularly apparent for DC residents over age 60, a population that has grown to over 100,000 in the past ten years. A study by the Urban Institute reports, over 50% of DC seniors rent their homes, and over 34% report being cost-burdened due to housing—which is no surprise considering the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in DC is $2,019.
How does homesharing work? Colorado-based Silvernest, which began operations in 2015, is matching renters and homeowners across the country, including Reston and Herndon. After the renter/housemate (monthly membership fee $29.99) completes a profile with preferences, location, and budget, he/she can then explore potential matches. Homeowners (fee $24.99 monthly) are provided background checks on potential housemates, a rent calculator (value of space), automated rent collection and home-sharing contract agreement, All Silvernest members are ID-verified to ensure a community of real users (no robots allowed).