Home Share program brings different generations under one roof

Dec 19, 2011

The Ann Arbor Home Share program at the University of Michigan connects homeowners over the age of 55 with younger people looking for a place to live. 

The program allows senior homeowners to manage household chores and offset costs--but it also offers companionship. 

Every arrangement is unique.

In some cases, younger roommates take on housework or run errands in exchange for lower rent. 

Michigan Radio's Christina Shockley spoke with Carol Tice and Kristina Gifford, who participate in the Home Share program. Tice, 80, rents out part of her home to Gifford, 24. Tice has been a participant for over 7 years.

Gifford--a graduate student--discovered the program when she was looking for affordable housing in Ann Arbor. "I was thinking, for a very responsible, motivated type of person who--probably a grad student in general--for someone who is very responsible and mature and flexible in their living, this could be a really good opportunity," says Gifford.

For Tice, it's important to have a young person around the house. "It keeps me thinking young, and keeps me on my toes," she says.

Gifford, too, sees the benefits of her non-traditional living arrangement. "It's just very valuable to have a connection to a different generation...that really motivates me to have a wider perspective on things. And a more balanced perspective, I would hope," says Gifford.

The Ann Arbor Home Share program gives Tice more independence than other senior living arrangements. "I expect to live long, and I don't really want to go into assisted living at this point. I have too many things that I want to do that are more comfortable for me to do in my house," she says. And the program allows her to stay there. 

-Meg Cramer, Michigan Radio Newsroom