This App Aims to Solve Housing Woes Faced by Both Older and Younger Adults

Days before I got the job offer to work for The Penny Hoarder in sunny St. Petersburg, Florida, I was shoveling snow at my grandmother’s home in East Orange, New Jersey, where I was living at the time.

Instead of doing the typical millennial boomerang and moving back home with my parents, I spent time living with both sets of grandparents and a family friend who’s over 80.

I saved on rent and was able to help them out around the house by doing laundry, grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning.

So when I heard about a new housing arrangement app called Nesterly, I could totally relate.

Pairing Roommates from Different Generations

Created by two urban planners who graduated from MIT, Nesterly will pair college students with baby boomers willing to open their homes up to renters, City Lab reported. The millennials can benefit from lower rental rates in exchange for helping the homeowner out with agreed-upon tasks.

“We’re really excited about the opportunity to help the rapidly aging population in the U.S. stay in their homes, and one way is helping them access household help like changing the light bulb or shoveling the snow,” Noelle Marcus, co-founder of Nesterly, told Apartment Therapy. “Simple tasks that students can do, but could really make a big difference for an aging household.”

The app’s website states the service will be piloted in the northeast this summer, with plans to roll out more widely in September.

A Growing Trend in Home Sharing

Pairing older individuals up with younger ones in shared housing isn’t a new phenomenon.

A Cleveland retirement home opened its doors in 2015 to a handful of college students majoring in the arts, Smithsonian Magazine reported. They stayed there rent-free in exchange for giving recitals and concerts, leading art therapy classes and just being there to socialize and help out.

In 2016, CNN reported on senior centers in Finland and the Netherlands inviting young people to live amongst the older residents at low rental rates. In return, the young adults committed time to helping their elderly neighbors.

But not everyone has had positive experiences with senior home sharing. Writer Nicola Slawson explained in a piece for The Guardian that her experience turned sour when she was expected to provide more care than she originally bargained for.

If living with someone outside your generation isn’t your thing, you can always consider renting a home with friends to save on housing costs.

Or if you already have a place of your own, renting out a room in your residence can help you keep more money in your pocket.

Nicole Dow is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.