Finding an affordable place to live in Denver is challenging, especially for a single person. The roommate matching company Odd Couples Housing is hoping intergenerational housing can be part of the solution. The company just came to Denver and is looking to match up older homeowners or renters with younger roommates.
“People are living to be older now and choose to age in place and want to stay in their homes, but sometimes need a little bit of extra help,” said Erin Loughrey, director of Colorado development for Odd Couples Housing.
Odd Couples helps the two parties negotiate a contract. If the younger roommate is expected to help out with chores, they may benefit from a lower rent. But not all homeowners are seeking help. One user, Betsy Schmidt, is only 60, but just didn’t want to live alone.
“I think we've all learned a lot in the last year of how isolation can impact your health and wellbeing,” Schmidt said.
The St. Louis, Missouri resident found out about Odd Couples Housing and decided to take a chance. Meanwhile, St. Louis graduate student Ndina Nehemia was looking for an affordable place to live. She’s from Namibia, and didn’t know anyone in the city, so she created a profile.
“It did feel like a dating site,” Nehemia said.
Like a dating site, Odd Couples asks several questions about habits and personality to try to make compatible matches. They also partner with a background check service if the parties want to run background checks. If a successful match is made, the Odd Couples charges a $200 fee to the homeowner and a $50 fee to the “seeker.”
While they may not be roommates forever, Schmidt and Nehemia say they both are getting much more than just a break on the rent.
“I got friendship, I got company, and kindness,” Nehemia said. “I told Betsy I'll be staying with her forever."
Odd Couples Housing is offering a free sign-up in Denver right now, using the promo code OCHDenver.