Roommate Matching in the Age of Coronavirus

Deciding to make a change to your living situation is a big deal. It’s an even bigger deal during a pandemic.  Having a new roommate means navigating all of the normal subjects, with the addition of COVID-19 exposure. Those get-to-know-you conversations now include things like social distancing habits, group gathering expectations, and more.

Like many, Odd Couples Housing is adapting to a world with COVID-19. We modified our match meetings and created resources for our Seekers and Homeowners. We know that it’s never been more important to have a safe and comfortable place to call home. So, amidst all the changes, we have been thrilled to continue to make roommate matches!

After the start of the pandemic, some of our Seekers and Homeowners chose to put their housing searches on a temporary hold.  Others were eager to start their homesharing journey and opted to forge ahead with their search, while taking precautions to keep themselves and their match as safe as possible.

Meet a Roommate Match

Betsy is one Homeowner who joined Odd Couples Housing during the pandemic. She signed up in August 2020 and was excited to find a housing match. She had students live with her in the past and wanted to open her home to help others, especially during these unprecedented times. Living alone, Betsy missed having company around the house, especially since her other social activities were limited. She says, “I really like having the sounds of someone else’s footsteps in the home…I just find it comforting. It’s really nice, especially as we go into the winter with COVID.”

Ndina, a Seeker who signed up around the same time as Betsy, was looking for “a change of scenery and a change of pace” from her living situation. As an international student, affordability was important to her and when she learned about Odd Couples Housing, she was immediately interested. “I like the idea that it wasn’t rent. You get to stay in a home, you get to meet someone, and I thought that was great,” Ndina remembers.

Coronavirus Concerns

Betsy and Ndina matched on the Odd Couples Housing website and when they met, the two connected right away. Both felt excited to finalize the details of their arrangement and start living together, but they wanted to be as safe as possible. Betsy recalls, “I was cautious, and I requested that both of us get COVID tested before I would let her move in.” Ndina was relieved that Betsy had brought up the topic that was on both of their minds, “I appreciated that [she] thought of it and communicated that to me so I didn’t have to wonder, should I get a test? Is she being safe?

In addition to testing, Betsy and Ndina also set clear expectations about their needs and preferences when it came to COVID-19 safety. Now that the pair is living together, they are upfront about any concerns they have and openly communicate about their activities. “We discussed a lot, where are you going? Who are you around? I think our values are aligned on that,” Betsy shares. Ndina agrees, “We are both being sensitive and trying to be safe.”

A Promising Pair

Betsy and Ndina are having a great time getting to know each other and we couldn’t be happier for them! The two enjoy watching movies and running errands together and support each other around the house. And Betsy is thrilled that Ndina doesn’t mind taking out the trash, which is her least favorite chore! Despite the pandemic, the two found safe ways to connect and establish a happy life together.

They are a great example of a roommate pair that is communicating clearly and watching out for each other. As Betsy says, “We can’t control the whole world but I think we’re both doing everything we can to make sure we stay safe.”

Odd Couples Housing encourages all roommate pairs to have open conversations about their coronavirus related concerns and preferences and stay informed about COVID-related health guidance. For COVID-19 considerations for roommates, click here. You may also be interested in these resources specifically for Homeowners and college students.

 

 

Intergenerational Camaraderie in Challenging Times

Lately, much of the media coverage around the coronavirus seems to pit generations against each other. While it may be tempting to point fingers or get swept up in these stories of millenials vs. boomers, old vs. young or us vs. them, these lines of thinking aren’t accurate or constructive. And, they make it difficult to bring generations together to do productive things like problem-solve and provide mutual support.

The coronavirus affects all of us, regardless of age, and now is an important time to come together.

At Odd Couples Housing, nothing makes us smile more than people in different life stages teaming up to support each other. It’s what inspires us and our roommate matches! We’ve spoken to a few of our matches this week, and they’ve been happy to have some company while sheltering in place at home. Hearing from them was a bright spot in our week!

What are the bright spots in your week? How are you keeping your spirits up?  If you need to hear some good news, we have some inspiring stories about people of all ages stepping up to help their community and cheer up their loved ones!

  1. Feeling antsy inside your house? Check out this young girl and her grandfather enjoying a socially-distant dance competition.
  1. Jayde Powell, a college student in Nevada, saw a gap in access to grocery delivery services among elderly residents in her community. She devised a plan to meet their needs. Danny Goldberg, a California high-schooler, had a similar idea and created an online platform where older adults can send their grocery orders to a volunteer delivery team.

  1. Celebrating special occasions can be hard when we can’t be physically together. Despite the distance, this family was able to celebrate their grandma’s 100th birthday!
  1. Dr. Jane Bedell had only been retired a few weeks when the coronavirus pandemic reached New York. Since then, she has put her plans to travel, and visit family on hold and is preparing to go back to work. She is one of the thousands of retired healthcare workers returning to the workforce to combat Covid-19.

  1. These 91 year-old twin sisters are quarantining together in their San Diego apartment–and finding ways to have some fun! Check out the daily pep rally they host for their retirement community from their balcony.

  1. Ali Jaffe is self-quarantining in New York and her grandma, Roslyn, is doing the same in Florida. But that’s not stopping Ali from learning her grandma’s favorite recipes–which are full of surprises–virtually! Listen to Ali and Roslyn’s story here.

Although we’re in complicated and challenging times, we are inspired by people coming together across generations to support each other. We hope you stay safe and healthy, and we’ll be on the look out for other good stories to share.

New Developments Enhance User Experience for Aging Homeowners, Young Adults

Over the past few months, we’ve met fantastic homeowners and young people and we have made some outstanding roommate matches. We’ve also been busy behind the scenes. By now, you’ve probably heard (or noticed) that we have made some exciting changes to our website. We can’t wait for you to explore!  

Where to Start?

While we recommend checking out our guides for seekers and homeowners and our FAQ section, the best way to get a feel for the Odd Couples Housing experience is to create your profile. With your profile, you’ll be able to answer questions about your living situation and your preferences for a roommate, and see who else is looking to get matched! Click here to get started.

Our Tech Journey

Since launching our first successful inter-generational roommate match in October 2018, Odd Couples Housing has been expanding in the St. Louis area. As we made more and more matches, we began to realize that our technological capabilities couldn’t keep up with the variety and quality of services we want to provide our users. Our team is great at a lot of things, but the knitty-gritty work of website development is a little out of our wheelhouse. Enter the Sigla team. 

Sigla is a St. Louis-based technology and venture building firm that specializes in working with innovative start-ups. They understand where we are and where we’re going. The Sigla team members have been fabulous partners and collaborators and have helped us transform our website and build the app! Like us, Sigla is dedicated to making sure that Odd Couples Housing users are at the forefront. 

As Steve Lilly, our CEO said, “Our goal with this new website is not just to improve the user experience for our participants, but also to provide a better understanding for our visitors of who we are and how we work. We want everyone to understand the importance of bringing generations together, whether they’re participating in our program or not.”

What else?

So, what is so great about this new site? Here are some of our favorite features:

  • A clear and comprehensive description of the matching process
  • Account capabilities that allow users to edit their profiles to facilitate matches
  • Easy to use call-to-action text buttons
  • This blog, where you can stay up to date on the latest Odd Couples Housing news or get relevant information on intergenerational living
  • Integrated social media buttons for connecting with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn
  • A mobile-first approach! Our new website was created with you in mind, and it’s designed to function seamlessly on both computers and mobile devices. This means you can access all of your Odd Couples Housing info, wherever you are! 

We are proud of our new site and we know that it will help us serve you better. We can’t wait to see what our second year of roommate matching has in store, for us and you! We hope you have as much fun exploring our new technology as we had creating it!