Home Match: An Innovative Approach to the Housing Crisis
Could the new Home Match program help to solve San Francisco's housing crisis by making better use of the city's existing housing supply?
When discussing the housing shortage in San Francisco, the focus is usually on building additional units to meet the ever-growing demand.
But a new initiative called Home Match, which is a collaboration between government and local non-profit organizations, is instead looking at how to better utilize the city’s existing housing supply by pairing homeowners who have room to spare with those in need of lodging.
What Is Home Match?
Home Match is exactly what it sounds like: the new program will match homeowners who have extra space available in their homes with those seeking housing.
The initiative will focus specifically on housing seekers who are low-income, defined as those making less than 90% of the Area Median Income, which is $67,850 for an individual person.
The program’s key backer is San Francisco Supervisor Katy Tang, who is partnering with the United Way Bay Area, the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development (MOHCD), and the Department of Aging and Adult Services (DAAS) to bring Home Match to life.
“We are partnering on this with the Mayor’s Office of Housing & Community Development to find creative solutions to address our housing challenges—not just building new housing, but looking at our existing stock,” said Tang, according to a recent Hoodline article.
How Will the Program Work?
The collaboration between government and non-profit organizations doesn’t end when it comes to administering the program.
That role will be played by two local organizations, Northern California Presbyterian Homes and Services (NCPHS) and Episcopal Senior Communities, which Hoodline characterizes as “nonprofit operators of retirement homes in San Francisco and the greater Bay Area.”
According to the same Hoodline article, Tang explained that the two non-profit organizations “will act as a third-party matchmaking service.”
“‘They’ll have time to interview both parties and find who would be best to match with landlords and applicants, versus renting on the free market.'”
A pilot program for Home Match is launching this month and is slated to run for one year, during which time the program administrators will track how many matches are made using the service in order to assess the initiative’s effectiveness.
Caption: Kevin Gerber, President and CEO of Episcopal Senior Communities, talks about Supervisor Katy Tang’s new housing plan at a recent community meeting she hosted. (Image credit: Thomas K. Pendergast/SF Bay)
The Inspiration Behind Home Match
The inspiration behind San Francisco’s Home Match program comes at least in part from a similar home sharing program that’s been successful in San Mateo.
Tang also took inspiration from the San Francisco residents she represents as Supervisor of District 4, which includes Parkside and the Sunset.
“There are a lot of seniors who have empty homes in the Sunset,” Tang explained. “And a lot of them have expressed that if they were able to work with a nonprofit, they’d feel more comfortable [renting out a room].”
To learn more about the Home Match program, you can contact Tang’s office at 415-554-7460 or via email directed to [email protected].
If you have questions regarding the administration of the program, you can also call NCPHS and Episcopal Senior Communities at 415-351-1000.