Making It in the Bay

Need a Roommate? Home Match San Francisco Can Help

The average rent for a one bedroom in San Francisco is $3,700 a month and $2,600 in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties.

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You’ve likely heard of online dating, but how about roommate matching?

It’s a growing industry in the Bay Area where it has become almost impossible for residents to live on their own.

“I was freaking out. I actually got the job before I moved here, and I said, ‘yeah that should be enough,’” said renter Shahil Pema. “rent back in Reno was like $400,” he said.

Now, Pema lives in San Francisco where he pays $1,300 a month living with Kathy Brennessel.

She moved there from Brooklyn in 1992 and bought a home 10 years later.

“Kids grew up, went to college,” the homeowner said. “I found myself with three bedrooms living here alone.”

The 66-year-old baby boomer is recently single and now an empty nester. The salary she makes from her small cleaning business just isn’t cutting it.

“I always say this is my retirement because I’m self-employed,” Brennessel said.  “I don’t want to sell it. I want to stay here.”

In order to stay, Brennessel needed to find a roommate. She found Pema through Home Match, a home sharing program based in the city.

“We help pair up people who have extra space in their home or apartment with people seeking affordable housing,” said Karen Coppock.

The Bay Area is on the list of most expensive places to live in. The average rent for a one bedroom in San Francisco is $3,700 a month and $2,600 in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, so home sharing is a growing industry.

“We think if you own a home you have it made, it’s really not the case,” said Coppock. “A third of homeowners in the Bay Area barely make ends meet.”

That’s why Facebook has become a popular place to find a home sharing situation.  There are also other companies and apps out there that can help people finds roommates so they can live in one of the most expensive places in the country.

Pema said he feels lucky he found a place to live in this housing crisis.

“Living with people my age is sometimes not ideal, it’s kind of a mess,” Pema said. “It was nice to know I can come to a place it was going to be a stable situation wouldn’t have to deal with drama I could have a place to live.”

Brennessel said she would, “do it again because financially, it does help it really does.”

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