HOMESHARING: helpful or harmful?
Councilor Armacost has, in council meetings 4/11 and 4/25, used the example of the 2017 tragic and brutal killings of Cynthia Little and her dog as reason to fear a homesharing program as presented by Councilor Vicki Lowe.
Little was a member of the county Court Appointed Special Advocates program for foster care children who have been abused and neglected, a retired lady with a big heart. She became a grandmother figure to this young man, diagnosed with ADHD and believed to suffer from paranoid schizophrenia. His parents knew Cynthia and actually found her body. This was not home sharing.
WHAT IS HOMESHARING?
As defined in the UW study linked below, it is situations where a person who owns or is otherwise in possession of a home with a spare bedroom makes a written agreement to make such space available to a home seeker, usually for an exchange of rent under market value, a small stipend, or exchange of services.
It has wonderful potential to help persons at risk of becoming homeless. Persons with available space can share it with persons who are having a hard time financially. Such an arrangement can be rewarding to both parties. Possibilities of mutual help abound, such as driving, errands, shopping, food prep and sharing meals and yard work are some that come to mind.
A 2018 Housing Study conducted for the City of Sequim found a significant number of single persons aging in place in homes that are becoming hard for them to take care of. The January 2019 Point in Time count of homeless persons in Sequim indicated the increased number over 2018 was primarily due to senior women. Put those two together and you have a win-win.
Now, as Vicki Lowe says, this is low hanging fruit for the problem of homelessness, but it is a solution for some. I’ve provided the link to the recent and very informative UW report that covers the topic broadly as well as organizations in Tacoma, Bainbridge, and Northern Kitsap. Vicki reported the cost of pairings is about $1000 each and can be assisted by the city and county.
In the spirit of good governance, I don’t want this excellent idea to be trashed by stoking fear based on an unrelated occurrence.