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Affordable Housing for Teachers Expanded by Homesharing

Denver, CO, USA
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Silvernest
Contact Partner

Cost

Zero upfront cost to local government

Project Status

Operational since 2019

Keywords

aging in place
social isolation
affordable housing
income

Challenges Addressed

Civic Technology
Economic Inequality
Housing & Affordable Housing

Motivation

Resilient city
Equitable city

Funding / Financing

Public Private Partnership

Project Type

Technology
Service

At a Glance

To help a cohort of educators could find affordable housing in Denver near the schools they would be serving, Teach For America (TFA) Colorado partnered with an online homesharing platform. Through this partnership, 20% of the TFA cohort found housing.

Problem Addressed

Market-rate housing can be prohibitively expensive for educators and other essential workers, particularly if they wish to live in or near the communities they serve. Educators who spend more time commuting or in an uncertain living situation have less time and energy to devote to their students, their schools and their own wellbeing.

At the same time, many homeowners are looking for ways to supplement their income and/or become more involved in their communities. Older homeowners in particular may be looking for companionship or light help around the house. By renting out space in their homes for homesharing, these homeowners gain companionship, earn an average $850/month and provide invaluable community investment by supporting educators and other essential workers.

Teach for America used/is using Silvernest Homesharing to address this/these challenge(s).

Solution(s) Used

Silvernest is an online homesharing platform that helps homeowners and renters find one another and provides services to support a smooth homesharing experience. Homeowners list space in their home for rent and create a profile outlining their lifestyle and roommate preferences. Renters create profiles as well, and Silvernest software matches them with homeowners based on compatibility. From there, users can securely message with one another, request and process a background screen, set up a lease and begin processing rent payments.

To support affordable housing for TFA educators, Silvernest did the following:

1. Provided homesharing education and training to TFA staff members

2. Conducted an introductory training session with TFA educators as part of the TFA intake process

3. Implemented unique TFA profile badges to help interested homeowners identify TFA educators looking for housing and vice versa

4. Provided complimentary background screens (paid for by TFA) to all educators to increase their chances of finding a match

TFA provided information about homesharing to teachers via email and in their onboarding materials. They also engaged their alumni, supporters and network to create awareness among homeowners.

Homeowners and Teach for America members both used the Silvernest platform to:

1. Create profiles

2. List or search for available rooms

3. Screen and discover compatible matches for homesharing

4. Securely message with potential housemates

4. Conduct background screens

5. Create leases

6. Automatically collect monthly rent payments

Outcomes

  1. By offering Silvernest, TFA was able to help 20% of its Denver cohort find immediate affordable housing.
  2. Provided an immediate affordable housing option for educators.
  3. Provided additional income for homeowners.
  4. Built community and provided companionship for both homeowners and renters. As one teacher said, "Homesharing with Silvernest made transferring to a new job and a new city much easier."

Lessons Learned

  1. Homesharing is a powerful way for homeowners to give back to their community while also earning income.
  2. The flexibility and affordability of homesharing is ideal for teachers and others on a budget—about 40% of Silvernest homeowners are open to reducing rent for help around the house.

Something Unique

By partnering with Teach For America, Silvernest was able to help foster intergenerational relationships and unexpected bonds.

Who Should Consider?

Communities and cities interested in:

-An immediate affordable housing option

-Helping people age in place

-Preventing social isolation and loneliness

-Building community

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