Renting a room is a time-honored way for homeowners to generate additional income or gain helping hands. For renters, finding the right room near work, school or public transportation can solve a short- or long-term housing need. Open Communities’ Homesharing program matches north suburban residents who have rooms to share with renters who need them. Since 1985, we’ve facilitated more than 1,000 matches throughout the northern suburbs, turning strangers into friends.

Homesharing is a free, award-winning shared housing program that facilitates compatible matches between prospective housemates in Chicago’s northern suburbs. Homesharing succeeds in advancing Open Communities’ mission to foster inclusive northern suburbs when matches grow into bonds of friendship. And when the friendships are between people of different ages, abilities or cultures, we build diverse communities that reflect true American diversity. Like all Open Communities’ programs, the Homesharing service is free of charge and confidential.

How it does it work?

Homeowners must have a separate bedroom to rent and be willing to share their kitchen and laundry facilities. Renters must have a monthly income and excellent references. Average monthly rents range from $450 to $600, which includes utilities. To make sure potential housemates are compatible, our Shared Housing Coordinator prescreens both homeowners and renters, getting to know their personalities, living habits, and expectations before introducing them to one another. We take great care in making matches and helping both homeowners and renters prepare to sharing living space. We are a member of the National Shared Housing Resource Center (NSHR). If you’re looking for a homesharing opportunity outside Open Communities’ service area, visit the NSRC website to learn about your options.

Who Benefits?

Renting a room may generate the additional income homeowners need to cover their mortgage payments, keep their homes and stay in the neighborhoods they love. For an elderly homeowner, having someone share living space may delay a move into assisted living. Homesharing "providers" are homeowners, condo owners, and sometimes renters who enjoy sharing their homes and who can benefit from additional rent or help. Homesharing is a creative way for single persons, families with children, people with disabilities, and retirees to remain in their communities, maintain their homes and supplement their incomes. Homeowners who are frail but in good health as well as some people with disabilities benefit from help with minor chores in order to remain independent. They will often charge a lower rent in exchange for this assistance.
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Homesharing is a stepping stone. For some, it's an economical living arrangement that allows them to save enough money to buy their own homes. For others, it serves as an ideal, short-term solution during a life transition. Homesharing "seekers" or renters are individuals for whom renting a room meets a short-term or long-term need. They come to Homesharing because they enjoy people and want a safe, clean and affordable home. Most want to live near their job, school or public transportation. Homesharing appeals to working women and men who hold positions in the community as librarians, first-year teachers, church secretaries, medical receptionists, food service workers, caregivers, and retail workers.
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Homesharing contributes to strong, welcoming neighborhoods by keeping people in their homes who might otherwise be forced to leave. It also creates an affordable avenue into communities that have high a cost of living.
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