As a long-time advocate for national service and for all things encore, I’m thrilled to be able to share some good news that connects my two passions.

Silvernest, a homesharing platform, has just announced an innovative partnership with two AmeriCorps programs — Teach For America in Denver and City Year in Miami — to connect older people willing to rent an extra room in their homes with idealistic young adults starting new jobs in public schools and struggling to make ends meet.

It’s a huge win-win with the potential to chip away at big problems — like the shortage of affordable housing, the need many older people have for income and companionship, and the persistent divides of race, income and age that keep us from getting to know one another.

Teach For America members — typically new college graduates preparing to spend at least two years as public school teachers — often face an affordable housing crisis. Rents in Denver are more than twice the national average, but Colorado ranks 49th in the nation in teacher pay, with beginning salaries averaging about $26,000.

City Year members — new high school or college grads ready to spend 11 months providing academic and other support to students and teachers in high-need schools — face high rents in Miami while earning stipends of about $15,000 per year.

This partnership has the potential to change so many lives. People working long hours to improve outcomes for students will get affordable rent, guidance in navigating new cities, and an experienced friend. Homeowners will get a source of modest income, a chance to mentor and perhaps make a new friend, plus the prospect of comfort, security and help around the house. And children in local public schools will get an influx of energetic, young people eager to help them succeed.

Imagine how many lives could change if these pilot partnerships thrive and spread across the nation! But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Now’s the time to raise your hand so AmeriCorps members in Denver and Miami will be ready for work when schools open in the fall.

  • If you’re a homeowner in Denver willing to rent a room to a TFA member beginning this summer, get more information here.
  • If you’re a homeowner in Miami willing to rent a room to a City Year member beginning this summer, get more information here.
  • If you know homeowners in Denver or Miami who may be interested or have networks that would help spread the word, please forward this email to them and encourage them to visit Silvernest.

I’m proud to say that Encore.org played a critical role in bringing Silvernest, Teach For America and City Year together. We’re so pleased to connect the dots…and the generations.

 

Phyllis Segal is a vice president at Encore.org.

Published: June 5, 2019