"I've always felt really rewarded after the work we put in to start this program, because it's really become the heart of our foundation," said Linda Hoffman, president of NYFSC, which was itself established in 1968.
"We just want to help as many people as possible."
After initially being funded by a $30,000 grant from a New York state legislator, the program has expanded to become funded jointly by discretionary funding from state legislators, city councilmembers and borough presidents, as well as the state's Office for the Aging and the city's Department for the Aging.
explained that there are currently 200 homes involved in the program citywide, with some of the current matches having been together for the past 20 years or more.
Hosts and guests are able to benefit by splitting the cost of rent, while also bonding through their time shared together.
"When we first started the program, people were kind of afraid because they weren't sure about living with strangers," she
And in addition to linking up seniors or younger people coming from their own homes, the program now also helps to place adults living at NYFSC's
transitional homeless shelter - located in the East Village - into new shared residences, Hoffman
Another aspect of the program also allows prospective hosts, aged 55 and over, to share their home with a developmentally disabled adult who is capable of independent living.
said that, in terms of future expansion of the program, she
hopes one day to be able to give whole families the opportunity to enter a home sharing arrangement.
In particular, she
explained that she's
been in talks with the Mayor's Office about the possibility of setting up a pilot project that would help to give new homes to families displaced after the recent building explosion and collapse in East Harlem.