Connecting people and fostering independence through innovative and affordable housing, because everyone needs a place to call home.
Creating a culture of community members sharing resources to prevent homelessness
Shared Housing Services offers low-income individuals and families innovative and affordable solutions to prevent homelessness and foster independence through home sharing and transitional housing programs that include case management services and connections to vital community resources.
In our Youth Host Home program, we have home providers throughout all of Pierce County; our Adult Homesharing program covers all of Pierce County, South King County, and North Thurston County. Our Transitional Family Housing units are located in the City of Tacoma.
Shared Housing Services is a 501c3 nonprofit organization located in Tacoma, Washington. Our mission is “Connecting people and fostering independence through innovative and affordable housing, because everyone needs a place to call home”.
The organization was founded in 1991 with the launch of our signature Homesharing Program. Building on that success, eight years later, we purchased 12 units of housing and initiated our Transitional Family Housing Program.
At the end of 2012, we established, in partnership with the REACH (Resources for Education and Career Help) Center, the Host Home Program to address the needs of unaccompanied homeless youth and young adults.
All of our programs provide for basic human needs and promote self-sufficiency for some of the most vulnerable in our community. Shared Housing Services aims to reduce and prevent homelessness by providing low-income individuals and families with safe, stable, affordable housing, to find innovative ways, tailored to each individual, to address homelessness, to reduce dependence on public funds by providing low-cost housing alternatives, and to help struggling families and individuals, including youth, by connecting them to vital community resources.
Cities from New York to San Francisco are having a tough time trying to create enough affordable housing for the hundreds of thousands of people who need it. To expand affordable housing in these places where land and construction costs are high, we need to disrupt the model of single-family homes and bring back rooming houses and other shared living arrangements.
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"Connecting people and fostering independence through innovative and affordable housing, because everyone needs a place to call home"
Homesharing is a simple idea available to many: A home provider offers accommodation to a home seeker in exchange for an agreed
level of support in the form of financial exchange, assistance with household tasks, or simple companionship.
The community is also a beneficiary of Homesharing. Shared living makes efficient use of existing housing stock, helps preserve the fabric of the neighborhood and, in certain cases, helps lessen the need for costly chore/care services and long term institutional care.
Home providers might be senior citizens, persons with disabilities, working professionals, those at-risk of homelessness, single parents, or simply persons wishing to share their life and home with others. For these people, home sharing offers companionship, affordable housing,
security, mutual support and much more.
Rising health and housing costs, and longer lives account for home sharing’s recent popularity. Many emotional and physical benefits derive from home sharing’s friendship and engagement. Those who home share can split household chores, feel safer with companionship, and can grow older at home without feeling isolated.
Our Adult Homesharing program offers a more secure alternative to other roommate options. Our staff is trained to carefully screen each program applicant through interviewing, background checks, and personal references.
Homesharing homes are located in Pierce County, with a higher concentration in: Tacoma, Lakewood, Gig Harbor, University Place, Graham, and Puyallup. However we do have some homes available in South King and North Thurston Counties.
Homesharing is a safe option for all ages. Young people have been homesharing for years. Today more and more middle-aged and older adults are discovering that homesharing suits their needs as well.
Homesharing makes use of existing housing whether it is a single family dwelling, apartment, or a mobile home.
Adaptable and flexible, homesharing allows those involved to shape their own arrangements. Home providers set their own price and expectations for home seekers who in turn offer unique situations and rich experience. Each arrangement may be as structured or as loose, and may extend as long as the individual participants wish.
Homesharing is a way to secure (or continue in) adequate housing at a reasonable cost while maintaining privacy, independence, and self-determination.
Homesharing prevents the too early institutionalization of the elderly by providing needed services for the elderly home provider. The home seeker may provide services, or the home provider may use the additional income to afford required services. Homesharing is not only an option for older persons or persons of low-income; it is an option for many who can benefit from the mutually shared expenses and communal living.
Income from renting an extra bedroom.
Mutually shared living expenses.
Help around the house.
Help in the yard.
Safety of having someone in the house at night.
Help with running errands.
If you experience a conflict with the person you chose as a roommate, call Shared Housing Services for guidance and possible conflict resolution.
Although financial arrangements are negotiated between home providers and seekers based on their individual needs and the nature of the arrangements, some rents average $500 - $550 per month (includes utilities). However, several factors allow for free rent or rental reduction, such as: trading of services for rent, care giving, etc.
Complete the Shared Housing Services Application.
Shared Housing Services completes a background check on all applicants. Cost: Home seeker $25 for background check; Home provider $25 includes background check and site visit.
Based on the information on your application and from your conversation with our case manager, first names and phone numbers are shared for home providers and home seekers to connect. If both parties enjoy their phone conversation, we suggest both parties meet at our offices, a coffee shop or for lunch. It takes both parties to want to be roommates. Shared Housing Services does not place people in homes. We give a referral for a Homesharing match.
We also recommend a trial period (week-end, week, month), which is a good way for both parties to become acquainted and to test compatibility.
Shared Housing Services offers individuals and families innovative and affordable solutions to prevent homelessness and foster independence through home sharing and transitional housing programs that include case management services and connections to vital community resources.
Our Homesharing program extends service to Pierce, South King, and North Thurston Counties. Our Transitional Family Housing units are located on our own premises in the City of Tacoma. The Host Home program benefits from home providers who host and mentor youths throughout Pierce County.
Since 1991, the Adult Homesharing program has been matching home seekers in need of affordable housing with home providers who are willing to provide a private bedroom in their homes in exchange for rent and/or assistance. Home sharing reduces housing expenses, offers companionship, promotes independence, and increases security for both the home seeker and home provider. Home sharing makes efficient use of existing housing availability, helps preserve the fabric of the neighborhood and can lessen the need for costly chore/care services or long-term institutional care.
Though we work with all adult applicants, the major focus is on the elderly, disabled, and those with very low income.
Case managers interview and screen all applicants for compatibility of lifestyles and personalities, and the reciprocal needs of home providers and seekers. In addition, references are contacted and criminal background checks are performed.
Potential home sharers negotiate their own living arrangements and regular follow-up services and conflict resolutions are provided.
When we cannot match applicants we attempt to meet housing needs in one of our other programs or through a combination of resources and referrals.
Home seekers and providers are encouraged to contact our office to complete the application.
You can fill out the applications online by choosing the appropriate form below.
Home seekers and providers are encourage to complete and submit an application by clicking on the appropriate application below. All required documents and fee's must be brought to our office within 30 days of submitting your application.
Shared Housing Services
PO Box 5937
Tacoma, WA 98415-0937
Transitional Family Housing provides low-income homeless families with housing opportunities in one of our 12 units on the premises. To foster positive growth in a stable wholesome family atmosphere, case managers provide supportive services to stabilize families in order to graduate them to permanent housing as rapidly as possible.
Meeting critical basic family needs for housing is the first step, which is followed by a structured program of progressive support services stressing positive growth for families and based on individual needs. This encourages raising aspirations for quality of family life and provides the tools families can use to achieve their goals.
Applicants are encouraged to complete the Transitional Family Housing Interest List form below. If you qualify, you will be contacted when an opening becomes available.
Shared Housing Services
PO Box 5937
Tacoma, WA 98415-0937
As part of a countywide effort to address youth homelessness in Pierce County, Shared Housing Services partners with service providers in the community to create a comprehensive program for young people experiencing homelessness.
Modeled after our successful Adult Homesharing program that matches low-income/homeless families and individuals with community members who have room to spare. The Youth Host Home program began in January 2013, and pairs a young person experiencing homelessness with a caring individual/family wanting to make a difference in the life of a young adult. Host Home providers act as mentors, and receive support services from case managers and housing specialists along with financial assistance to cover monthly rent.
The program invites caring adults willing to open their home to a young adult experiencing homelessness to contact us. Home sharing makes efficient use of existing housing and helps prevent homelessness.
Home providers are encouraged to contact our office to complete the application available on line by downloading the document below.
For referral to our program, youth home seekers must contact Access Point 4 Housing (AP4H).
Shared Housing Services
PO Box 5937
Tacoma, WA 98415-0937
Shared Housing Services is a non-profit agency serving the Tacoma area since 1991. We need the support of generous donors to continue our tradition of service to our community.
We will gladly accept financial support but we are also always in the need for volunteer support as well. We will gladly accept other types of donations as well. Please contact us at (253) 272-1532 form information on how you can volunteer at Shared Housing Services.
If you are more comfortable with using the USPS or simply dropping off your donation then please the following address.
Shared Housing Services
901 South 11th Street
Tacoma, WA 98405
Associated Ministries has provided a comprehensive list of community resources in our area.
Ron served honorably as an Iraq-era combat Army medic, but was now homeless.
Eric, in his 90’s, was a veteran of World War II. Eric owns his home, and despite his declining health, wanted to stay there and remain as independent as possible. Shared Housing Services matched Ron and Eric more than a year ago – Eric was thrilled to live with another veteran, and Ron was happy he could use his medic training in service to an older vet. Ron is now Eric’s full-time caregiver, and both have repeatedly attended SHS events to promote the benefits of the Home Sharing Program.
Walt is in his 80s. Two years ago, he lost his wife to cancer.
Sandy is in her 50s. SHS paired them over a year ago, and now they call one another “best friends.” Sandy helps Walt when he needs to drive at night, and Walt helps Sandy with projects around the house. They even tailgate at Seahawks games! Sandy, who makes jewelry to support herself, credits Walt with teaching her how to trust again, and Walt credits Sandy with creating a warm home for the two of them.
Sandra and Ronald came to America from Guam, looking for a better life for themselves and their children, son Ricky and daughter Shana.
Sandra cannot work because of a disability (she needs a surgery she cannot afford in order to regain her mobility), so Ronald works two jobs to support the family. While participating in TFH, Sandra contributed to the property however she could, often making food for potlucks or dropping by the office to see if we needed help. Our program stabilized their situation and allowed them to save some money. Then, one month ago they were accepted into a permanent housing program. We have every reason to hope that this family will never again experience homelessness.
Michael was sleeping on a park bench. Kyle was fleeing a very unhealthy family situation. Both perform in the local underground hip hop scene.
SHS paired them with a local artist, Zeke, and his wife, Helen. With the adult guidance they’ve received from Zeke and Helen, combined with a stable place to live and support services, Michael and Kyle have made great strides forward. Michael completed his GED and is in college; Kyle completed his high school diploma and is in college. And the four of them have become a family—Kyle DJs for Zeke, and Michael sometimes performs with him. For Christmas, Helen even made Kyle’s favorite food, sweet potato pie, something he hadn’t enjoyed since his last family Christmas several years ago.
A single mom with 5 children became part of our TFH program on 4/1/11.
She was a full time college student (UW Tacoma) separating from her youngest daughter’s father, who was the bread winner that then got laid off. With little to no money she needed to survive on school financial aid and could not afford housing needed for her family of six. While stressing over housing she continued her college courses. After doing the necessary paperwork her family moved into one of our 2 bedroom cottages, and soon after a 3 bedroom opened up that had the elbow room they needed. Her children are doing awesome in school and she graduated from UWT in May. She was very concerned about not being able to afford rent when her financial aid ended. With a lot of hard work and faith, she found employment two months later at a local marketing firm. She now has her sights on purchasing her own home.
Lydia had lived in senior housing for many years and was pretty content, when suddenly she found herself with custody of her newborn grandchild.
She was forced to give up her apartment, and was given little time to look for housing for her and her grandchild. Lydia made an appointment and completed an application with SHS, and soon after, she was referred to Sonja who was also a senior and in very much need of financial help to maintain her monthly housing costs. They met and decided to give it a whirl. Sonja found that she really enjoys having a newborn around the house again and has offered to help Lydia with childcare. Lydia is grateful for Sonja’s support and help with the grandbaby.
Darrel knew that he had some unique housing needs not only because of his developmental disability (high functioning autism), but also because he was seeking housing in a very specific area with very limited income.
Up until now he had always lived with his mom but she had recently moved to a different county. Darrel was very hesitant to move from the current area where he grew up and had familiar support services and friends. Wanting to stay and try living independently, Darrel applied with SHS. He expressed his wish to remain close to what was familiar and possibly in a private apartment. We had the perfect referral for him. Nadine had a private studio apartment for a very reasonable price in the very area that Darrel was looking to live. They met and both were very excited to find that they were exactly what each was looking for. Darrel is paying a reasonable rent, independently from his family, and remains in the area he is most comfortable. Nadine is very glad she was able to provide housing for a great young man and has the financial assistance she needs.
The Shared Housing Services Guild was officially formed on December 18, 2014. Prior to the Guild’s founding, volunteers simply helped on a wide range of activities without a formal recognition. The Guild was founded to widen our reach to the community, offer Board and Staff support, increase Board diversity, and assist in our effort to recruit new Board members.
Guild volunteers are associates to the Board of Directors with limited duties and responsibilities. Under the direction of the Executive Director, they may work on special projects, depending on the volunteers’ specific qualifications and Shared Housing Services’ needs. Guild members may partner on numerous artistic, technological, legal, medical or administrative services. They can mentor and help clients, lead specific workshops, participate in fundraising efforts, establish community contacts, seek donations or procurement items on behalf of Shared Housing Services. Guild members can also provide minor property repair, landscape maintenance, and offer their specific talent and skills to help Shared Housing Services fulfill its mission.
We welcome all community members to join us as volunteers. To serve on the Guild, please contact the Executive Director.
Mark Merrill, Executive Director
901 South 11th Street
Tacoma, WA 98405
We have many partner organizations that provide valuable
resources and support that helps us complete our mission of providing safe,
affordable housing for those in need.
Shared Housing Services seeks people who are qualified, who share our mission, who share our commitment to excellence, show personal and professional integrity with a passion of wanting to make a difference in our community.