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Shared Housing

Shared Housing FAQs

How does Shared Housing work?
We match people who are looking for housing with people who have a room in their house to rent out. Most of the time the two people exchange rent, but from time to time, there is a situation in which there is an exchange of work for rent. We do not own the housing. All the homes are owned by private individuals. We act as the matching service.

Are the matches successful?
Most of the matches made through our program last for more than six months with many lasting for a year or longer. There are some cases where people are looking for short term situations and those may be accommodated as well depending on the two people who are making the match.

Where do the renters/landlords come from?
People hear about our program in a variety of different ways. Many hear about us from friends who have had a good experience with the program. A number of people find us on lists of programs that social services agencies distribute throughout the metro area. There are also people who hear about the program through the paper, their church or by seeing our flyers or other information listings.

What happens if I don’t like the place I’m living/my renter?
You may call back to Shared Housing at any time to reactivate your file. We will do so immediately and restart your search. We will ask you to update the search information we have for your matches over the phone. There is no need to come in to the office for another interview. Please remember that you must live up to the terms of your homeshare rental agreement when discontinuing your present situation and give proper notice to your renter or landlord, stay current with the rent, and leave/maintain the property in good order. If these conditions are not met and that is reported to Shared Housing, you may not be allowed to continue in the program.

Does it cost anything to join in the program?
There is a one-time program fee that helps us offset our expenses a little. The fee is based on your income and is $10-50. This is a one-time fee and is required of all program participants.

I want to rent to someone who will share the master bedroom with me. Can I do that?
No. Our policy is that the renter(s) should have his/her own room.

I don’t have any money – can you help me?
Possibly. There are some situations in which the homeprovider needs assistance and where they are willing to exchange room or room and board for those services in their home. There are fewer of these situations than there are of the traditional rooms-for-rent, however, and it may take quite some time before you find a suitable match.

Do you provide rent, mortgage or utility assistance?

Do you take Section 8?
Section 8 vouchers may be accepted by homeproviders, but not typically. To use your Section 8 voucher with a homeshare, you would need to make arrangements directly with the person from whom you are renting the room.

How long is your waiting list?
There is no waiting list with Shared Housing. There are always people looking for housemates. Since the agreements are between the two individuals, it is a matter of the right people making a connection. When you join the program, you will receive profile sheets for each person you are matched with. Those will be all the matches for you in the database at that time. You may call those people immediately. How long it takes to find housing will depend on your criteria and the matches that are available at the time.

I think I joined a program like this before. How would I know if it was the same one?
We can look your name up in our files and find out if you’ve joined the program before.

Can you help me find a shared housing situation somewhere else in Oregon?
No. Shared Housing operates in the four counties around the Portland metro area only. The program does have the ability to consult with agencies in other parts of the state to start up a similar program in another city or country if that is of interest.

Are there other shared housing programs in the state?
At present, there are no other programs in Oregon. There is a listing of home sharing programs throughout the country at

Where does your funding come from?
We are primarily funded by the City of Portland and by Washington County. We also get some funding from local churches, charitable giving organizations and individuals. If you wish to donate to Shared Housing, please contact us directly at, (503) 225-9924 or go to EMO’s donation page.



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