January 15, 2022

7th World Homeshare Congress

While nonprofit homesharing programs are new to many of the people that we reach out to, we always stress that they're not actually new at all. In fact, since the first one was started in Vermont over 40 years ago, the concept has gone global! Case in point, Homeshare International just announced their 7th World Homeshare Conference.

Homesharing... it's kind of a big deal!

December 30, 2021

New Staff Update! A Continuum of an Ever-Expanding Network

HSAR is blessed to be joined in our mission with two new Outreach Specialists, Tara Loughran Benavides and Lauren Werner. Both were real "gets" for us, and have already contributed majorly to getting the word out about our service. By way of introduction:

Tara first brought her passions for social justice, public education, and information management to HSAR as a volunteer, before we were lucky enough to hire her aboard. A member of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Sacramento, she holds a B.A. in Anthropology, and is completing her Master's in Sociology.

Lauren has been a lifelong advocate and volunteer for underrepresented and misunderstood youth minority groups. She is sincerely passionate about instigating positive change in our collective community (and not least in its housing needs!). A recent graduate of Humboldt State University, she holds a B.A. in International Studies.

December 20, 2021

Note from Executive Director of HSAR

I am very grateful for the opportunity to present yesterday to St. John's Lutheran Church of Sacramento as part of their "Expanding Home" series of Education Hours.

While there, Pastor Amy explained to me that most folks misunderstand what the physical structure in which Jesus was born if we use our current understanding of "stable" or "inn" as we'd understand it today.

Or as the linked article explains: “'The actual design of Palestinian homes (even to the present day) makes sense of the whole story,” Paul writes. “Most families would live in a single-room house, with a lower compartment for animals to be brought in at night, and either a room at the back for visitors, or space on the roof. The family living area would usually have hollows in the ground, filled with straw, in the living area, where the animals would feed.' So Jesus would not have been born in a detached stable, but in the lower floor of a peasant house, where the animals were kept.'"

The upshot being that Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus were not consigned to an out-building, but were lodged in the "secondary guest room," and were thus truly *sharing the home* of their hosts.

Here's to the blessings of hospitality, generosity of spirit, finding home, and of giving itself!

Sincerely, Justin Ellerby

October 15, 2021

Hand in Hand: HSAR & Rebuilding Together

It is beneficial to witness and learn more about Rebuilding Together Sacramento's great work throughout the County!

Sometimes, affordable home repair/rehab/modification is the critical obstacle keeping someone from sharing their home (and pulling in that rental income / household services / companionship).

So when organizations like Rebuilding Together do their great work restoring one home, they can actually be saving TWO *homes*. Bravo!

Learn more here:

Rebuilding Together

Rebuiding Together Sacramento Facebook

September 24, 2021

Renters Helpline Notice

Just a reminder that the Covid-19 Moratorium is ending on September 30, 2021.

Please read below what this means and how we can help provide you with any assistance!

Renters Helpline Facebook

September 13, 2021

KAHI News Radio Feature

HSAR Executive Director Justin Ellerby will be on KAHI 104.5 FM / 950 AM Auburn on "A Time for Seniors" this Tuesday, September 14th with host Anne Hidalgo to talk about HomeShare American River!

You can hear/distribute the episode now/anytime as an MP3 at:

KAHI Interview 9.14.21 - A Time For Seniors

August 12, 2021

Community Building for River Fire Victims

If you want to help any of the 100+ households displaced by the River Fire and:

(A) have a room, or even space for a trailer, on your property, OR

(B) know someone who does,

then HomeShare American River will work to make it safe, easy, and fair to provide a short- to medium-term placement.

Our sister program SHARE Sonoma did this beautifully in the wake of the Camp Fire, and their careful but swift placements made life much easier for those moved to help and those who needed it.

June 26, 2021

Feature: California Eviction Moratorium Deal

"Tenants, as well as their landlords, will be able to apply for 100% of back rent and up to three months of forward rent."

"The bill also shields evictions over non-payment of rent from appearing on a tenant’s record..."

"Evictions over non-payment of rent could resume on Oct. 1, but people who make less than 80% of the area median income and were financially affected by COVID would have another six months to apply for rental assistance funds.

Sounds great! But the devil's in the details, as always:

"Tenants Together said while the additional legal protections sound good in theory, they... [are] 'wishful thinking'.

"[Also, rent relief] money has gone out at a snail’s pace. While billions have been available since January, the state has distributed from its pot only $61.6 million in relief to a little more than 5,000 households so far."

Learn how tenants are affected and read this article at

June 24, 2021

KFBK News Radio Feature

HSAR Executive Director Justin Ellerby will be on The Afternoon News with Kitty O'Neal on KFBK NewsRadio! The shorter on-air interview will air twice on June 24, 2021, at 4:47pm and 6:17pm.

Justin will explore the struggles of the current housing market and speak of the valuable non-profit services provided by HSAR that matches renters with hosts with available rooms, including detailed background checking and follow-up.

Listen to the full 17-minute interview here:

Non-Profit Home Sharing Services Matches Hosts with Guests

June 23, 2021

Soothing Concerns

We received an inquiry last week from a senior facing daunting medical and housing challenges. We asked her if she would offer a potential Host some services as part of a partial rent-for-service exchange.

She was very surprised and cheered to realize:

(A) she can offer both committed companionship time AND driving services; and

(B) there are people out there with a spare room that would REALLY value both... we've just got to get the word to them!

Taking people's "haves"* seriously instead of only their "lacks" unlocks so much of value hiding everywhere around us.

*(personality, "everyday" skills, living space, vehicle)

June 21, 2021

Call to Matchmakers!

A key limit to how many people we can help, and where, is the strength and the breadth of our team of Matchmakers.

Some who are already matchmaking in their regular job duties (e.g; senior or on-campus social workers), but also many who are amazing volunteers like these and just can't help themselves from making and keeping matches for YEARS on end.

Currently inviting inquiries from Sacramento, Placer, Nevada, El Dorado, and Yolo Counties!

Also, read here what they say about why and how much they love bringing (and keeping!) matches together as a learning team:

The Dedicated Volunteers of HomeShare Vermont

Matchmakers: HomeShare Vermont Volunteers on YouTube

June 17, 2021

THIS is the kind of awfulness that HomeShare American River is here to prevent and address:

'Even for people who have these good incomes, they're having trouble,' Strauch explained. 'So I'm just like seniors and disabled people, boy, we can forget it.'

'You have these owners of single-family homes and it might be you know, their retirement, or they might be using it to take care of a parent who's in long term care, and the tenant was able to go for over a year without making any payments,' Skarbek said.

'And when you place that on a single individual owner, some of those owners can't bear it, and they're put into a position where they're forced to sell for financial reasons.'

Help spread the word about our service and our call for additions to our team of skilled, trained, volunteer Matchmakers!

June 18, 2021

Inspiration from the Executive Director of HSAR

A friend just shared that she'd lost her home to price-gouging years ago. Me too! I and Marta's rent went up *34%* with 30 days' notice! And tiny homes around us in Central Oak Park were going for ludicrous amounts.

BUT with homesharing, we MADE our housing affordable by buying a big *but not fancy* home that we've been happily sharing with 4 renter-housemates for a couple years now.... a GREAT strategy to beat the price-gougers while also preparing for later on also having kids and eventually housing our elders as they age.

Best part: We only charge $400, $425, $425, and $600 (all-included) for our rooms to local workers and STILL get the support we need for this big ol' place. These huge homes can be VERY affordable if you don't keep them all to yourself!

Sincerely, Justin Ellerby

June 18, 2021

Is California still facing an Eviction Tsunami when the Moratorium ends?

Think rent relief is going to solve the eviction crisis?

"[It] is unclear whether... [rent] relief will get to all households that need it soon enough... the funds are sufficient to pay back owed rent [and] whether households took on other forms of unsustainable debt — for example, through credit cards or other higher cost products like payday loans — to make ends meet during the pandemic."

"About 900,000 households in California are behind on rent, with an average of $4,600 in rental arrears."

And of course, HUGE disparities by race and family status.

"Analysis by PolicyLink suggests that about 900,000 households in California are behind on rent, with an average of $4,600 in rental arrears."

June 18, 2021

A Match Made in Heaven

Had a great Matchmaker Info Session yesterday morning (more TBD here), and we are thrilled to welcome our first official volunteer Matchmaker, Mrs. Lynn Nelson of Roseville!

Lynn has lived a life of passionate dedication to social justice, literacy (here and abroad), and organizational development.

Read this incredible write-up of her story (and of Virgil, our dear Co-Founder). It is humbling to be working with these people who talk a good talk, and then WALK IT every day.

Learn more about their inspiring journey to develop Project Understanding, and the efforts they continue to take to create a more caring community.

Read the full Eskaton Article: A Catalyst for Change

Lynn & Virgil Nelson

Watch their interview on YouTube