Affordable Living for the Aging

In the 35 years since ALA was founded, we have helped more than 30,000 seniors in their search for safe, stable housing that preserves their dignity and independence and keeps them engaged in their communities. Our most significant achievement to date is partnering with the National Shared Housing Resource Center to lead the revival of the shared housing movement by rebuilding the Center’s capacity and launching a national campaign to strengthen existing programs. Through a collaborative six-month process ALA worked with stakeholders from around the country to develop the Strategic Guide on Scaling Shared Housing, which highlights the exciting work happening in the field and identifies the new opportunities for growth. For example, New York City used shared housing as a disaster response solution in the wake of super storm Sandy. With the support of Enterprise Community Partners and the Archstone Foundation, ALA hosted a Shared Housing Symposium that convened leaders from Illinois, Vermont, New Jersey, Maryland, Washington, Michigan and California to launch the Strategic Guide and discuss ideas for reinvigorating this decades-old movement. Helpful links: Strategic Guide on Scaling Shared Housing: How New York City used Shared Housing during Hurricane Sandy: The National Shared Housing Resource Center wrote about ALA's Shared Housing Symposium here:


1 Submitted Idea

  • 2013 Grants Challenge

    Shared Housing Helps Los Angeles Become a National Model!

    In addition to rising healthcare costs and lower public benefits for vulnerable populations, the most taxing cost burden on older adults is housing. Today, approximately 13 million older Americas cannot afford their housing costs. Many are forced to choose between paying their mortgage or rent and buying groceries or medicine. In response, ALA is leading a national effort to expand its shared housing program so that all individuals in need have access to safe and supportive housing options as they age. Although particularly beneficial for seniors on fixed incomes and those risking isolation, the shared housing movement goes beyond addressing the needs of any single user group. Shared housing provides opportunities for anyone interested in fostering social connections and remaining integrated in their community while accessing affordable housing. When a program is delivered by an experienced housing or social service agency, the model is also well suited for supporting veterans, single mothers and other vulnerable individuals. Shared housing is a simple idea. One individual, typically a homeowner, offers accommodation to another in exchange for rent, help around the house or light caregiving support. Home “sharees” have access to a blend of private and communal space. Even when the primary motivation for sharing is financial, many individuals enjoy the added benefits of companionship and shared responsibilities that come with cooperative living. ALA is positioned to build upon our four decades of experience to scale our shared housing program for the benefit of more individuals and entire communities. To attract a wider audience of home sharers, ALA will create a compelling and engaging viral and social media campaign that emphasizes the benefits of shared housing. The campaign will stimulate interest among potential sharers and spark conversations about how communities can use shared housing to achieve their affordable housing goals. ALA staff, in partnership with the Enterprise Community Foundation, will continue to train and educate other agencies who will help support the increased demand for services.