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Home Match home sharing program sees early successes in Monterey County.

Good Morning.

Pam Marino here with some good news to reportIn February I reported on Home Match, a home sharing program that launched in Monterey County last fall. When the story came out, the organization had just successfully matched its first home seeker with a home owner in Seaside.

Now, they’ve completed 10 matches. That means 10 people, nearly all senior citizens who are considered low-income, are now housed in four cities in our county, according to Program Manager Doris Beckman. That also means 10 homeowners whose living situations are now more affordable thanks to the fees that their matches pay in exchange for a room.

Home Match, a service of Bay Area nonprofit organization Covia, uses questionnaires and interviews to learn about each participant and successfully match seekers to owners. So far there have been no roommate issues within the 10 matches here in Monterey County, says Beckman. “Of course if we do, we’re there to mediate and help out. We don’t just leave after the match is made.”

One match in Moss Landing turned out to be especially perfect: both of the people have backgrounds in marine biology. “It just worked out really well and they’re both excited,” Beckman says.

There are more reasons to be excited, she says. In April Covia hired a Home Match director for Monterey County, Alyssa Kroeger. Kroeger and Beckman are now working together to spread the word about the program and house even more people.

Kroeger says solving the affordable housing crisis is her passion. She had previously worked for Project Sentinel, a fair housing nonprofit in Santa Clara County. Then she went to work for a reproductive and environmental justice nonprofit in San Diego. When the pandemic hit, it caused Kroeger to rethink her priorities. She realized housing was what she wanted to focus on. She calls her own match with Home Match “serendipitous.” 

Beyond finding more homeowners and home seekers to match, Kroeger is looking at how home sharing can help municipalities meet their Regional Housing Needs Allocation quotas. Each city or county is required by the state to meet a certain number of affordable housing units based on the needs of their residents. Most are failing at meeting those targets. Since the state does allow accessory dwelling units, or ADUs, to count toward RHNA numbers, Kroeger believes a case can be made for home sharing units, since some come with private bathrooms and private entrances just like ADUs.

Kroeger brings a lot of enthusiasm and passion to the job, and Beckman remains committed to the goal she set a few years ago when she tried launching a home share program here. She wasn’t successful on her own but she didn’t give up. It was her persistence that helped bring Covia and Home Match to Monterey County.

If you are in need of a home, or if you have a home you are willing to sharecontact Home Match here or call 831-760-5529. You can also email Doris at dbackman@covia.org.

-Pam Marino, staff writer, pam@mcweekly.com

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