‘Home Match’ pairs homeowners with home-seekers

San Francisco Supervisor Katy Tang is floating a new housing scheme to address the City’s chronic shortage by pairing up people who need housing with those who have an extra room available.

At a community meeting Wednesday, Tang said that through participation in the program, homeowners and home-seekers will voluntarily choose each other, because Home Match is “not a housing placement service.”

Instead, Home Match would figure out who best would be paired up with each other. Tang said:

“That’s something that you don’t get from something like a Craigslist or going out to look for rental units yourself on your own.”

The program was put in the City budget this year, drawing $230,000 annually from the general fund on an ongoing basis, and will be funded through the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development at their discretion.

The eligibility requirements for home-seekers under the program would include being 18 years of age or older and living, working, or attending school in San Francisco. Gross income must not exceed 90 percent of AMI — $67,850 per year for one person, according to Tang — proof of identification, income verification, and a list of personal references.

An “intake application” would be completed that includes the passing of a background check — and, of course, a signature on a housing agreement with the homeowner.

Homeowners would need to provide proof of property ownership and that the owner actually resides in the same residence; provide the staff a tour of the property during the interview process; provide proof of identification, income verification, and a list of personal references; completion of all documentation related to the aforementioned.

One non-profit partnering in the program is Episcopal Senior Communities. ESC President & CEO, Kevin Gerber, said:

“Home Match will provide affordable housing in the City where, we know, all too well, the realities and frustrations of long waiting lists in our affordable housing communities. … Home Match has many benefits, we believe, for home owners. And just a few, that we would like to highlight, is sharing costs. So, if you’re a homeowner and you can have someone who can help out with the rent or the mortgage, you might have a little extra money in your pocket.”

Tang said:

“We are trying to match homeowners with home seekers … We are actually trying to figure out ways to match people in homes within existing housing stock. As we all know, we have many challenges here in San Francisco and sometimes it is very difficult for us to continue building new housing.”

Tang added:

“There will be non-profit organizations that will be in-taking applications from people who are either home owners or home seekers, and for the home seekers, you would be earning about 90 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI) or below.”

Brian Cheu of the MOHCD, said:

“Why didn’t we think of this before? … I really want to encourage you to talk to your friends, talk to your neighbors, anybody who you feel might have an empty room in their house that they feel could be well-occupied by a student who desperately needs a place to stay, a teacher who wants to stay in San Francisco.

Shireen McSpadden, Executive Director of the San Francisco Department of Aging and Adult Services, also chimed in her support for the idea:

“We’re trying so hard to keep teachers in San Francisco, and it’s so expensive for them, that this would be a perfect kind of partnership.

McSpadden added:

“One of the things that we do in the department is we study the senior population of San Francisco to try to figure out what their needs are. And one of the things I can say is that we know that San Francisco’s senior households, more than 50 percent of senior households, are likely to own their own home … The senior population is also living with less income than the rest of the general population.”