by Megan Turchi, Boston.com
Empty nesters no more. At least that’s the plan.
On Thursday, Mayor Martin J. Walsh — in collaboration with the Elderly Commission, the Mayor’s Housing Innovation Lab, and a social enterprise startup called Nesterly — announced the Intergenerational Homeshare Pilot.
The program’s goal is to match Boston homeowners who have a spare bedroom with a graduate student looking for housing. It stems from the city’s Age-Friendly Boston Action Plan.
“Boston is home to a growing number of seniors and students,” Walsh said in a statement. “We know that many of our older residents want to stay in their homes — but need companionship and some simple home maintenance.”
And it is no surprise that students — both graduate and undergraduate — take up a significant portion of the city’s more affordable housing units. In fact, in its 2016-2017 Student Housing Trends report, the city found that 49.5 percent of area students live off campus (and not in the family home) in Greater Boston’s private-housing market.
Recent MIT grads Noelle Marcus and Rachel Goor founded Nesterly as a model to help solve the affordable-housing crisis.
“Noelle and I met as urban planning master’s [degree] students at MIT,” Goor said. “We had both come back to school with the interest in finding innovative solutions.” They graduated in June, which is when they really got to work on their project.
“Boston has a pretty ideal demographic for this, because there is a huge student population and the housing supply is very constrained,” Goor said. “There is a lot of legacy single-family housing, and empty nesters and people who are getting older no longer need or want that much extra space.”
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