9News – By Noel Brennan

KUSA – Sometimes the only thing missing from a house is the just the right person who makes it feel like home.

“I had my 80th birthday in June,” Sally Collins said, sitting beside her new housemate, Marty Holmes.

“I’ll be 69 in July,” Marty said.

Sally and Marty are still trying to get to know each other. Marty moved in to Sally’s Arvada home a little more than a week ago.

“Sally’s such an open person and a very likable person, and that made it so easy for me,” Marty said.

Of course, Marty will also admit, finding affordable housing in the Denver metro area is not so easy.

“I saw my IRA dwindling as rents were going up, and of course, my health issues kept adding up,” he said.

Although Marty has family in the Denver area, he was looking for a place to call his own that he could afford.

“We have hit a housing crisis,” Alison Joucovsky said, executive director of Sunshine Home Share Colorado.

Joucovsky brought Marty and Sally together through her nonprofit that matches senior homeowners with renters looking for affordable housing. Joucovsky explained the matching process is slow, thoughtful and careful.

“Everybody goes through background checks, screenings, social work intake,” she said. “We check references.”

After a pair is matched, Joucovsky said they sign a “living together contract” which details expectations of the relationship.

“Who’s going to take out the trash? Who’s going to walk the dog? And when does it have to be clean? And when does it have to be quiet?” Joucovsky explained.

Joucovsky said the goal for Sunshine Home Share Colorado is to set up 10 matches in 2017.

“As a new program, we could use the support of the community to make this a viable model and have a footprint in the affordable housing and senior supportive services solutions,” Joucovsky said.

The model seems to be working so far for Sally Collins and Marty Holmes. Marty helps around the house to save on rent. Sally gets a bit of income and some company. Both get a house that feels like home.

“Longer, healthier, happier life,” Mary said as Sally nodded in agreement.

“Yeah! That sounds good,” Sally said with a smile.

(© 2017 KUSA)

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