In the middle of the night in October 2021, Brenda Rose was up with her sick dog, Hazel, searching the web for housing in Portland, Oregon. For 15 months, Rose, 62, had been living on the city’s streets in an RV. The pandemic had wiped out her photography business, and she could no longer afford her rent. When her RV broke down, she says, she was feeling “at the end of my rope.”
“I didn’t think I would get to retirement age and not have money,” says Rose, who had a housing budget of $900 a month in a city where the average rent of a one-bedroom apartment is nearly double that.
After scouring ads on every corner of the web that night and finding nothing in her price range, Rose finally found what she calls “a lifesaver”: Home Share Oregon, a nonprofit launched in 2019 to match people in need of affordable housing with financially struggling homeowners who have open rooms. Home Share Oregon provides access to a platform called Silvernest which, much like Match.com does for dating, pairs housemates together through compatibility surveys. Without hesitation, Rose signed up.