Family of Woodstock pilot project matches housing seekers with rooms

A A new program is launched to help alleviate a severe lack of affordable housing and keep older residents in their homes. Family of Woodstock has announced a roommate pilot project in Woodstock where, in return for a reduced rent, people can provide homeowners with house and yard work, transportation, IT help, help with other duties or company. Tenants will live either in the house or in accessory apartments on the property.

Homeowners and those looking for living space can find out more at an information session on December 8 at the Mescal Hornbeck Community Center, 56 Rock City Road, from 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm Masks are required. Applications for landlords and housing applicants will be available in English and Spanish during the session and at Family of Woodstock, 16 Rock City Road.

Once the program is up and running, we hope other communities will follow suit, said Susan Goldman, Woodstock Housing Committee co-chair and longtime Woodstock family volunteer. Hosts and guests will be interviewed by three people; a retired social worker, a graduate student whose field is social work and a pastor. “It’s important to only have a few people so that they are familiar with the people who are matched,” Goldman said. “The first thing is to have enough houses for us to have a choice.” She noted that there should be a lot of tenants, or guests, who want to join the program.

The Woodstock Worker Family will perform full criminal and financial checks on all applicants and all information will be kept confidential until it is time to match a host with a guest. “Then they meet. There is a preliminary agreement with the expectations and the tasks, ”she said.

Once both parties are satisfied, there is a two week trial period during which no money is exchanged. The guest should keep their current accommodation during the trial period in case things don’t work out, so they have a place to go.

The program will seek to match homeowners with a space to share within a 10 mile radius of downtown Woodstock with those in need of housing. Priority is given to those who work or volunteer in the city, who already live in the city, or who have recently been forced to vacate their rental. The living space offered by the host can include a bedroom in his home, an apartment above a garage or a studio or gîte separate from the main house.

In communities that have colocation programs, very few arrangements go wrong, and Goldman is confident in the so-called “high intensity” approach of the Woodstock program. But she understands that we are all human and that people’s situations can change. Some hotline staff who are familiar with conflict resolution will handle any issues or disputes that may arise, Goldman said.

One of the large target audiences is local businesses, as many store and restaurant workers and even volunteers live elsewhere. “You don’t go into any business in town where they don’t say it’s hard,” Goldman said.

“Every community in Ulster County has been affected by the scarcity of affordable rentals, and Woodstock has been among the hardest hit,” said Maria-Elena Conte, deputy warden and elected city councilor, who has done a lot of advocacy. to set up the program. happen. “Many people working in restaurants or stores in our city find it difficult to fit into the very community they support economically… Woodstock has always helped our citizens in tangible ways. I believe relationships can grow and deepen through mutually beneficial housing sharing offers. This proven solution will help our seniors, artists and workers.

The New York State Office for the Aging supports the new Woodstock program. “Roommate projects have been shown to be effective in lowering the cost of housing, increasing friendships, combating social isolation, and often helping an older person with household chores that help them maintain their independence,” said said Greg Olsen, director of NYSOFA.

For more information, email [email protected], or call / text (845) 679-2485.

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