Sharing is Caring

The Giving Coast

With our community’s demographic profile a surplus of retirees, Southwest Florida still finds itself with a higher-than-normal share of unoccupied bedrooms in the midst of a regional housing shortage. According to a recent study, every third house, apartment or condo in Sarasota County has just one person living inside—with almost 60 percent of them occupied by single occupants 65 or older—that’s well above average for the nation’s 37.5 percent of 65+ solo residents. As housing costs across the country skyrocket in cities for the average American, nonprofit programs step in to help facilitate residence-sharing arrangements between isolated older householders and cash-strapped younger housemates. Enter The Friendship Centers. The Community Foundation of Sarasota County and Age-Friendly Sarasota, a countywide effort in Florida to promote active, engaged and healthy living for people of all ages, announced their partnership with the nonprofit network. The meeting of the minds is meant to encourage a harmonious home-sharing network and co-housing initiative between different generations—seeking to craft matches between elders with empty space to spare and young professionals trying to make ends meet

The Friendship Centers recently launched its pilot project, structured to work with seniors and younger workers, to create a private domestic arrangement. CEO Erin McLeod shares the goal to not only modestly address the affordable housing crunch, but their hope to forge new friendships for retirees who may have lost a number of loved ones. While it could mean an additional rental income for senior homeowners, McLeod mentions, “Money may not be so much of an issue for them, but boy, it would be nice to have someone to talk to at the end of the day, ” as opposed to “rattling around in a big house alone.”

All matches will be facilitated by The Friendship Centers with strict intent and efforts geared to making sure matches provide safety, comfort and an improved quality of life for both parties involved. If you are interested, please fill out the eligibility form below or contact project coordinator Evan Farrar at 941-556-3208.

The Community Foundation of Sarasota County is proud to partner with SRQ Media Group to highlight stories about community impact powered by philanthropy in our region, thanks to the support of donors and our local nonprofit partners. The Community Foundation is a public charity founded in 1979 by the Southwest Florida Estate Planning Council as a resource for caring individuals and the causes they support, enabling them to make a charitable impact on the community.

The Friendship Centers Home Share Program

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