GRHomeShare is a program of New Development which uses home-sharing to as a creative housing solution to the Grand Rapids Housing Crisis. We match existing homeowners (“providers”) who have a little extra space in their home with local residents looking for affordable housing (“seekers”) in an increasingly expensive and limited housing market. Providers are able to make a financial tool of an extra bedroom and shared common spaces in their home, receive additional support with home maintenance tasks, be a help to someone struggling to find housing, and build a long-lasting friendship, while seekers are able to find safe, convenient, affordable housing and use their completion of helpful household tasks to reduce monthly rent. All applicants undergo background, credit, property, and reference checks to ensure the safety and compatibility of our matches. All matches are guided by our staff and social workers and supported through the process of selecting a housemate, negotiating a rental agreement, and the first three months of the match.
Interested in becoming a homesharer?
Apply online, ask questions, or request additional materials by contacting email@example.com
We use a two-phase application process to assess your eligibility for the program and potential compatibility with other homesharers. All household sizes and income levels are welcome.
Phase 1 – Phase 1 is a paper application similar to what you would fill out applying for an apartment or other rental. It includes basic contact information, housing and employment background, and consent to complete a series of safety checks including a background check, 2-3 reference checks, credit check, and property check. The safety of our participants is our first priority. If you have concerns about your eligibility for the program or want to hear more about our safety checks, see “Eligibility” below. Looking to begin your application process? Apply online, ask questions, or request a mailed form by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org
Phase 2 – Phase 2 of our application process is a sit down interview with our staff. During this interview we delve into compatibility questions (e.g. preferences on pets, cleanliness, entertaining friends, sharing meals, services needed, etc.) to understand who would make the best possible housemate for you. Housing seekers join us in the New Development offices for their interview. Provider interviews take place at the home so that we can perform home safety checks and determine what areas of the home will be provider-only, seeker only, or shared. We encourage our applicants to share living room and kitchens as common spaces to support relationship building within the home.
The safety of our participants is our first priority. As a result, we cannot accept individuals listed on the lifetime sex offender registry or who have been convicted of any crime related to heroin or methamphetamines. All other past convictions are scored on a stringent points-based scale and judged on the basis of the age, relevancy, and severity of the crime. Should an applicant with a previous conviction still be eligible for the program, all convictions will be disclosed to any potential housemates by GRHomeShare. Other factors that may affect eligibility include public judgments, foreclosures, evictions, back taxes, and open code enforcement cases. We encourage out applicants to discuss any potential eligibility issues with us prior to applying so that we can problem solve together and make the best possible use of applicant time.
Choosing a Housemate
Once your application is accepted, you’ll begin receiving Candidate Profiles for current participants who are a good match for you based your preferences and needs. Candidate profiles are essentially the potential housemate on paper. They include the candidate’s first name, age, gender, profession or hobbies, rent range preferences, lifestyle information, and safety check results. If you’re a seeker looking for a provider, you’ll also see information about the home, shared spaces, and neighborhood. If you approve a candidate profile, and that candidate approves your profile, GRHomeShare facilitates a first meeting to get to know one another better at our offices or at the home. If both candidates would like to move forward with the match they may negotiate a rental agreement with GRHomeShare staff acting as an optional facilitator and advocate. We offer a sample rental agreement to guide the discussion, help to negotiate an affordable rent amount, and take into account any services exchanged. We require the use of a month-to-month lease for the first three months of the match in order to ensure flexibility for both participants during the probationary period.
Trying Out a Match
The first three months of each match acts as a probationary period to explore the experience of homesharing. Our staff meets with both members of the match together and individually once a month to check in and discuss how the homeshare is going. We take this opportunity as a program to survey our participants on how homesharing is affecting their housing security, sense of safety, health, and social and community engagement.
We understand that there are bumps in any new relationship when living together, and we offer mediation services with our social workers to discuss and move forward from any potential issues not only for the first three months, but throughout the duration of the match.
In order to ensure the sustainability of our program and support the completion of safety checks on all participants, we charge a standard $25 application fee for the processing of your Phase 1 Application, and an income-based match fee upon signing a rental agreement.