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Grad Students: Need an Affordable Place to Live? New Site Connects Generations

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Nesterly matches students who need affordable housing with Boston-area empty nesters who have a room to spare

8/30/19 — Newtonville, MA Sharrice Autry (STH’21) , right, and Newton homeowner Alison Brown two were connected on Nesterly, a startup that pairs college undergrads and graduate students with homeowners who have space to sublet. Alison’s dog is named Cadbury Photo by Cydney Scott for Boston University Photography

Sharrice Autry is a 36-year-old third-generation minister from Detroit studying at BU’s School of Theology. Alison Brown is a 61-year-old mother of four adult children and an empty nester who lives in suburban Newton.

Together, they’re congenial roommates in Brown’s home who occasionally enjoy meals or watching old movies together on Netflix. Most college students would be thrilled to hit it off with their roommate like these two women, a generation apart in age and interests.

“It’s been going fantastically well,” says Autry.

“We just clicked,” Brown says.

This kind of roommate matching is yet another win for the so-called gig or sharing economy, where short-term engagements and temporary contracts make it easier for people to connect and turn something like an extra room into a financial asset while helping a college student find inexpensive housing.

Autry and Brown found each other through a fledgling start-up called Nesterly, which connects graduate students and empty nesters with rooms to spare in greater Boston. It’s an arrangement that costs significantly less than renting an apartment and helps meet a need for less expensively priced student housing in a city with one of the most expensive rental markets in the country. According to the Boston Foundation, the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Boston is $2,500, higher than metro New York and exceeded only by San Francisco and Los Angeles. And those prices do not reflect the high cost of housing in the neighborhoods of colleges and universities, where landlords often inflate prices because of high demand.

Read the full story: https://www.bu.edu/articles/2019/nesterly-new-site-connects-generations/

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