SHAREFire Established to Accommodate Fire Housing Demand
Funding needed to speed up placements in available housing
Due to the increased demand for affordable housing following the fires that ravaged Northern California, SHARE Sonoma County announces the formation of SHARE California (sharecalifornia.org) which allows us to accommodate the urgent need in Sonoma County and in other counties. SHARE Sonoma County (sharesonomacounty.org) and SHAREFire (sharefire.org) are dedicated to matching people with affordable housing and operate within this larger program.
With the recent fires in Northern California, SHARE Sonoma County implemented the evidenced-based system the organization has used with seniors (since 2014) to provide immediate housing for individuals and families displaced by the fires. Within 24 hours of the fires, community members offered their homes and, in response, SHARE Sonoma County mobilized to put people who were displaced into temporary housing. Now in its second phase, SHARE Sonoma County is placing people in longer term housing for 3 to 18 months or more. SHARE is able to process 80 to 100 matches a year with one Home Matching Specialist. Donations are now being sought to bring on five additional specialists to meet the housing demand in a timely fashion.
“We have an excellent system in place to find affordable housing for those displaced by the fire. Now we need the resources to expand in order to meet the demand,“ says SHARE Sonoma County Executive Director Amy Appleton. Tax deductible donations are being solicited now through the site www.sharecalifornia.org and www.sharefire.org.
Appleton reports, “Due to people’s generosity, in just three weeks, we now have more than 1,100 homes in inventory that we can use to provide housing for those affected by the fire. These are people who have not succumbed to price gouging to take advantage of the shortage of homes. They are the true heroes by recognizing the need and responding with a sense of community. Now our objective is to act quickly to put people in those homes.”
—Amy Appleton, Executive Director, SHARE California
ABOUT SHARE California and SHARE Sonoma County
SHARE Sonoma County initially was started in 2014 and funded in 2015 with a seed grant from the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael. For the past three years, the organization has operated out of Petaluma People’s Services in Petaluma and during this time–with limited resources and staff (only one Home Matching Specialist)–provided 300 matches. These matches placed an individual needing housing into a home with a senior (over 60) who otherwise would have been unable to remain in his or her home because of the ‘house rich, cash poor’ syndrome or needing carefully defined support services which the tenant provides in exchange for paying less or no rent.
Said Sonoma County Supervisor Shirley Zane, “Amy Appleton of SHARE Sonoma County is grabbing the low hanging for fruit for affordable housing,“ referring to the system of matching people into already existent housing. SHARE Sonoma County’s program provides one of the fastest ways to place families and individuals into an affordable home. Subsidized and affordable housing is offered at the county, state and federal levels but the wait list to get into such a home is often as long as five years or more. SHARE Sonoma County has provided stopgap measures in the interim, getting people into housing much sooner, even as they remain on the wait lists. Building housing is also a lengthy and expensive process, leaving people without affordable housing options. Through the SHARE Sonoma County matching process, parties are vetted, with SHARE Sonoma County providing support, thus alleviating the most common reason for shared housing not too work, fear of allowing strangers into one’s home. The evidenced based program also is supported by municipalities throughout the county and is the preferred model for solving the housing shortage affordably.
With the October 2017 fires, SHAREfire was established, adapting this approach to quickly and securely place those displaced by the fire into existing and affordable housing without restrictions.
SHARE California is designed to be able to create genuine community, in the form of home sharing, for elders, folks with disabilities and now disaster victims, who need a decent affordable home to call their own. SHARE California is a 501 ( c ) 3.