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Meet the Odd Couple: Q&A with Intergenerational Roommates Rebecca and Vanessa

 

Two intergenerational roommates sitting on a patio bench, both smiling

Rebecca (right) and Vanessa (left) were matched in October 2020 through Odd Couples Housing’s homesharing service.

What do a retired RN and occupational therapy postgraduate have in common? Well, a lot more than you might think! Homeowner Rebecca and seeker Vanessa found one another with help from our unique homesharing and roommate-matching platform. Vanessa’s studies required a three-month stay in St. Louis, and she was on the hunt for just the right place.

Here, the former housemates — and now, friends — answer a few questions about their experience, the matching process, and how our Matching Team became their silver bullet.

First thing’s first: Why did you sign up for Odd Couples Housing?

R: I had four years of experience hosting international high school students. And after COVID-19 hit, they couldn’t come back. A friend of mine tried Odd Couples Housing and had a great experience; She referred me.

V: I’d never been to St. Louis, and was a bit nervous to travel there alone! I wanted a safe housing situation with someone who knew the city. I was also interested in the concept of intergenerational living and thought it’d be a fun opportunity to try something new — a homeshare program that assisted with matching roommates was perfect! And, being on a student budget, having lower monthly expenses was very appealing.

Has homesharing impacted your life in any way?

R: It has enriched my life. Vanessa and I still keep in touch, and I’m looking forward to her returning for a visit someday! My new roommate, Neera, is very sweet and kind. I’ve had some health issues lately, and she’s always willing to help. Neera is from Nepal; I enjoy learning about her home. Our age difference makes things interesting as we both learn from one another. You can make good friendships through Odd Couples Housing, which is a big plus!

“I could not be happier with my Odd Couples Housing experience!” –Vanessa, Seeker

V: I could not be happier with my Odd Couples Housing experience! It was a fabulous fit for me. I had a safe and affordable place to live while keeping my housing costs down. And I made a great friend who helped me fall in love with St. Louis. I’m so happy I made the choice to sign up!

What would you say to someone on the fence about joining?

R: You meet the best prospects through Odd Couples Housing. The matching quiz is instrumental to see who’s a good fit. You can meet your matches virtually, or the Matching Team can arrange a home visit for you, which is great. I am now in my second homeshare. And I find it reassuring knowing that I have their support if there are any difficulties.

V: Odd Couples Housing is committed to making sure that every match is a success. Rebecca and I met in a Zoom meeting, where we thoroughly discussed our living styles and preferences. The Matching Team communicated with both of us throughout my entire stay, which made me feel secure that if any issues came up (which none did!), they’d be there to help.

Answers have been lightly edited for clarity.

About Odd Couples Housing

Our mission is to connect generations. Intergenerational housing gives older and younger people the chance to strengthen their community while enhancing their own lives. Whether you’re looking for a compatible roommate or a less expensive place, we’ll connect you to the right people who fit your lifestyle and personality.

Looking for a compatible roommate in Denver or St. Louis? Sign up now to get started FREE!

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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.

 

 

4 Tips to a Great Start With Your Next Roommate

Living situations are important parts of our lives. Whether you are older, younger, moving into a new place, opening up your home, used to roommates, or sharing space with someone for the first time, it’s important to be comfortable in your home space. Settling in with a new roommate can be an exciting time–full of opportunities to connect with someone new–but it can also bring about a sense of apprehension about the unknown. What if things don’t go as smoothly as planned? What if I need a night to myself? Could we eat dinner together sometimes?