Can intergenerational housing make a comeback after the heyday of boarding houses in the 19th century? Is there a place for seniors within the sharing economy? nesterly, an aspiring social enterprise focused on alleviating housing insecurity for two of the most budget-constrained demographics—young adults and seniors—answers these questions with a resounding yes.
At the heart of nesterly’s mission is the recognition that there are more than 50 million bedrooms that “sit empty” nationwide virtually every night. The concept builds on the increasingly popular trend towards intergenerational housing through the use of a technological platform in an attempt to fill some of those empty bedrooms. The system devised by nesterly would connect seniors and young adults in a way that benefits both groups financially and socially. Often times, seniors are on a fixed budget and could use extra money as well as help around the house. On the other side of the age spectrum, many college students and young professionals find that housing near their school or work is unaffordable. nesterly brings these two groups together to help solve each other’s problems.
The platform facilitates matches between households with extra rooms, many of which are headed by people over 55, and urban dwellers seeking affordable rents. In exchange for simple services performed around the house such as mowing the lawn, folding laundry, or walking the homeowner’s dog, the renter pays a reduced rate for housing. nesterly allows seniors to post descriptions of their available rooms and specify the duties they would like performed. Guests provide some personal information including the tasks they are willing to perform in return for reduced rent. After a homeowner and prospective renter form a connection and both parties come to an agreement on the terms, nesterly manages rent, insurance, task tracking, and conflict mediation.
The initial launch is planned for this summer and will be restricted to the northeast during this stage; but, nesterly plans to roll out to a much larger market at the beginning of the academic year in September. Still in the private beta phase of production, nesterly’s goal is to bring their housing solution to the Greater Boston area, expand through Massachusetts, and then eventually bring this solution to other communities worldwide.
A permanent answer to the temporary housing options available through services like Airbnb and FlipKey, nesterly is a startup planning to connect renters to homeowners and young to old. Thanks to nesterly, older adults may soon have an aging in place option that also provides companionship, help around the house, and extra income.