Housing – Shared Housing Article _ VHCB apply for housing benefit

Visit any non-profit owned or developed shared housing project in vermont and you’ll find much more than a safe, decent, and affordable place to live. You’ll find a mutually supportive community of people who share not only a roof, but often meals, activities, and other aspects of their lives.

Shared housing exists in many forms and locations in vermont. In general, residents have their own bedroom/living area and bathroom, but share kitchen, dining, and activity facilities. The choice to live in shared housing may be made because economic circumstances or physical frailty preclude the option of living alone, or because of a preference to live in a community of other people. Shared housing can provide an important alternative for folks who are unable or do not want to live on their own yet who do not need the level of care and services found in an institutional setting.How can i apply for housing benefit

the successful shared housing developments are the ones in which an involved community group or dedicated staff have created a “home” for the residents,” explains joanna villone, development director at cathedral square corporation in burlington, an organization that has helped community groups throughout the state develop shared housing, particularly for frail elders. That home-like atmosphere is key,” she continues. It’s a model that can be incredibly successful, but it’s definitely not for everyone.”

Shared housing is not assisted living nor residential care, both of which are licensed and regulated by the state of vermont. The assisted living model emphasizes keeping people in their own homes and bringing in services. Residential care emphasizes care being provided by paid staff. Shared housing emphasizes doing for oneself and others to the greatest extent possible.How can i apply for housing benefit

The creation of a successful shared housing development takes expertise in both housing development and the provision of services. In vermont, especially in the case of shared housing for elders, such development has typically been undertaken by a local group such as a senior center or meals program with development assistance from the cathedral square corporation. Another common model is for a regional housing non-profit to undertake the real estate development on behalf of a human service provider who then provides the supportive services to their clients living in the facility. This model tends to be used when the housing is created for individuals with particular special housing needs. Not surprisingly, there are almost as many specific shared housing development models as there are projects.

Shared housing has been the physical salvation for a number of lovely old “white elephants” throughout the state.How can i apply for housing benefit mansions such as the noyes house in putney and evarts house in windsor have found a new life as shared housing. Former inns such as the rochester inn in rochester (now park place) have been converted to shared housing as have former schools such as the lincoln school in barre (now lincoln house), and nursing homes such as the eastern star home in randolph (now joslyn house).

“shared housing provides a creative solution for people who, for a variety of reasons, choose to live in a mutually supportive environment,” says joanna villone of cathedral square. “it is an alternative housing arrangement for many rural vermonters who do not have access to affordable housing in their towns or who could not remain independent without a supportive environment.” in rural as well as more urban communities, shared housing can provide companionship, nutritious meals and staff coverage in the event of an emergency yet enable residents to maintain a high degree of independence.How can i apply for housing benefit the cost of living in shared housing is modest compared to private pay retirement residences. For example, the most deeply subsidized small bedroom with a private bath in a shared housing facility might cost $570/month including meals and utilities, as compared with $1,278-$1,673/month for a roughly similar arrangement in a private pay residence. The benefits of shared housing accrue not only to the residents but to the community as a whole. A community eyesore may be rehabilitated into a residence that contributes to the community in many ways, both financially and socially. The large common areas present in many shared housing residences lend themselves to use by the community as a whole. For example, plays, concerts, and other community activities often take place at rochester’s park house. As the brochure for randolph’s joslyn house notes, “shared housing provides you with—security, companionship, stimulation, daily activity, and a built-in support system.”

how can i apply for housing benefit

In spite of its many benefits, the development and operation of shared housing is among the most challenging forms of non-profit housing development. Shared housing projects often take many months to reach full occupancy. Potential residents tend to move in only after a major life event such as a hospitalization, death of a spouse, or homelessness. Elders are often reluctant to give up a large home filled with a lifetime of possessions to winnow those possessions down to those that will fit into one room. In addition, after having spent one’s life as part of a nuclear family or alone, the concept of living with a large group of people, whether they be strangers or friends, is often difficult to accept. Because rent up is slow and turnover may be high, shared housing operators often find ongoing local fundraising to be a necessary component of “staying in the black.” shared housing isn’t for everyone, however, the various forms of shared housing provide a refreshing and important alternative.How can i apply for housing benefit

Service supported housing–ranging from transitional to permanent housing, from group homes to semi-independent apartments. Residents have their own bedroom and share group living space, cook their own meals or group meals in a shared kitchen, and receive supportive services from a human service agency. Development: usually developed either by or for a social service agency. Examples: 20 south willard street, spectrum transitional housing for homeless youth, and monroe place in burlington, the allen house in winooski, castleton supportive living, and the rutland county parent child center transitional housing.

Shared housing for elders – elders have their own bedroom and bathroom. Meals and housekeeping services are provided for an additional fee. Not licensed by the state of vermont; do not provide nursing or other medical care.How can i apply for housing benefit development: often undertaken by local community groups, many with technical assistance and staff support from cathedral square corporation. Examples: joslyn house in randolph, park house in rochester, lincoln house in barre, evarts house in windsor, and noyes house in putney.

Home sharing – homeowners, usually elderly, who have more space than they need, are matched with individuals looking for a place to live. Both parties benefit economically and have companionship that they would not have living alone. Home sharing matches are coordinated by homeshare vermont in chittenden, grand isle, and addison counties, and by homeshare of central vermont in washington, lamoille, and orange counties.”

SRO’s (single room occupancy) – residents are provided with a private bedroom/living area and generally cook their own meals in a common kitchen and share access to common facilities such as bathrooms, living and dining area.How can i apply for housing benefit examples: the cobblestone and 10 horton place in brattleboro; pearl south union, st. Jean’s hall, and the YWCA in burlington.

Coops – residents occupy independent apartments but ownership of the development itself, including land and infrastructure, is in common with each resident purchasing a “share” of the property. Cooperatively-owned apartments in vermont are largely in chittenden county with a few in brattleboro. Examples: flynn avenue, thelma maple, rose street, and park place coops in burlington.

Co-housing – A first cousin to the housing cooperative, co-housing involves individual ownership of living space and shared ownership of land and common space, usually including a large kitchen and dining room as well as an area for meetings and other group activities. The amount of residential living space owned by an individual household tends to be smaller than it would be in a conventional ownership structure, and may not include a full kitchen and dining area.How can i apply for housing benefit examples: co-housing is a model that is just beginning to take hold in vermont with a developments in charlotte, hartland and burlington.