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San Francisco nonprofit helping connect potential renters, homeowners

Bay Area nonprofit helping older adults match with renters
Bay Area nonprofit helping older adults match with renters 02:54

The term "affordable housing" has become almost an oxymoron in the Bay Area, but one local nonprofit is providing innovative ways to connect potential renters with homeowners.

It has been quite the journey for Alihan Sanli. He is an adventurous nomad at heart and wanted to explore a new city to call home. The new San Francisco resident toured the U.S. a bit before finally landing in the Bay Area.

"I was living in Florida, and approximately two and a half months ago I decided to move to San Francisco," Sanli said. 

But the move was a risky one. Without a big budget, securing safe housing became a stressful challenge for Sanli. 

According to Zillow, the median rent in San Francisco is over $3,000. That is over a thousand more than the national median. 

"It is kind of complicated and difficult to find an apartment or room in San Francisco. It is a big city, and there are lots of immigrants," Sanli said.

And then there was Glen Potter. 

The two may appear to be unlikely roommates, one in his 90s, the other in his 30s, but the arrangement just made sense, thanks to Home Match, a nonprofit that helped Sanli and Potter find each other through a vetted and customized approach.

Luke Barnesmoore, with Home Match, said the housing program is beneficial for both parties. 

"The benefits of Home Match, most of our home providers are older adults, who are living at home alone and struggling either financially or with social support to be able to remain in the home, so by renting out that additional room, increasing the income, having someone around, maybe that just means you have someone to say hello to over coffee in the morning," Barnesmoore explained. 

Sanli needed a safe and affordable place to call home, while Potter needed some extra cash to pay his monthly rent. That's why Sanli's arrival was a relief to him. 

"I moved to San Francisco in 1971, right into this apartment, this is my first and only apartment in San Francisco," Potter said. 

Potter says there was no reason for him to ever move from his apartment since he lucked out with a rent-controlled space. Sanli, who culturally has deep respect for his elders, doesn't mind the arrangement at all.

With housing prices being so high, acquiring a private room was the best choice for him. 

"Now I'm here. I'm so grateful; they were super helpful," Sanli said. 

As they share stories with one another, Sanli said he is just grateful.

"I'm so happy. So far so good," Sanli told KPIX.

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