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Homesharing Lets Renter Get Back on Her Feet

North Shore program provides cheap rent for woman and some security for elderly man.

When Dina Hagl moved back to the U.S. from Germany in 2009, she needed a place to live that wouldn’t break the bank. 

“I was looking for something really inexpensive,” the Hoffman Estates native said who was staying with family and friends in the interim. “I was willing to do anything.”

Like many renters that turn to the North Suburban Homesharing Program for assistance, Hagl was dealing with a limited cash flow. She was changing careers and landed a job at the in Deerfield. In need of cheap lodging that was nearby and unable to afford the asking rent for most apartments, she was willing to offer other services in exchange.

That’s when Jackie Grossmann stepped in. Grossmann coordinates the homesharing program for the Interfaith Housing Center of the Northern Suburbs, which matches homeowners in need of some additional income with tenants looking for inexpensive rent.  

To read more about why one Highland Park homeowner decided to open her doors to two renters .   

“It’s a free service, paid through by all the townships we service,” Grossmann explained.

Grossmann plays a sort of matchmaker for the two parties. In Hagl’s case, Grossmann was able to pair her with a Northbrook resident in his 80s who was looking for some help around the house. The 34-year-old started renting in March. 

“To be honest, it’s like a perfect match,” said Hagl, who does the grocery shopping and cooking and in return pays $200 a month in rent.

“It offers me an opportunity to get back on my feet in the states yet stay independent,” she explained about the benefits. “I really enjoy having company around as well.” 

Even though Grossmann has been pairing people up for the past 15-years, she said “each match is really unique” and is extremely satisfied when it works out well for renters like Hagl and homeowners like the Northbrook elderly man, who wished to remain anonymous.

“This makes such a profound change in people’s lives,” the homesharing coordinator said.

This is the second and final installment about homesharing and how it has helped residents in the area.

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