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It might create a community among people who, "in life, your circles never crossed, but Metro Home Share brought you together." After introductions, Saturday's Taborspace attendees were given time to mingle.First-time visitor Milch started a conversation with Marilyn Chalmers, an older widow like herself, who currently rents the first floor of a duplex.In a classroom at Taborspace community center, 20 strangers arranged a circle of folding chairs.The group of mostly older women, and a few men, filled in their name tags and took their seats.One by one, the group took turns introducing themselves and describing what they're looking for or what they're offering; what they can pay or how much they're asking; whether they have or want pets."We were all evicted and I didn't want to live in senior housing," said one woman, who described herself as a long-time vegan who likes to meditate.Attendees pay a suggested for the in-person gatherings, which offer a place for people to meet without inviting strangers into their homes.Online at letssharehousing.com, users can fill out a profile for free but pay a fee to initiate contact with a potential housing match.
Now that their children are grown, they're considering renovating their house in a way that would allow for a rental space.Before the old program closed due to federal funding cuts in 2013, it made an average of 150 housing matches a year.This version of what is now called Metro Home Share has a variety of local funders, including the Portland Housing Bureau and the Meyer Memorial Trust.The morning's facilitator, Michele Fiasca, founded Let's Share Housing in 2009.She opens the meeting with the warm, calm voice of a counselor. For the past few years, Fiasca has hosted twice monthly meetups on the west and east sides of Portland for prospective housemates.