HomeShareATL Showcases Match Made in East Cobb
Senior LivingReal Estate

HomeShareATL Showcases Match Made in East Cobb

The Jewish Family and Career Services program brings homeowners and home-seekers together.

Chana Shapiro is an educator, writer, editor and illustrator whose work has appeared in journals, newspapers and magazines. She is a regular contributor to the AJT.

Homeowner Ann Broussard felt lonely in her East Cobb home after her husband passed away.
Homeowner Ann Broussard felt lonely in her East Cobb home after her husband passed away.

HomeShare ATL, a program of Aviv Older Adult Services of Jewish Family and Career Services (JF&CS), is a housing initiative that connects homeowners who have a spare bedroom and bathroom with compatible adults seeking an affordable place to live. It is powered by AgeWell Atlanta, a collaboration of JF&CS, Jewish Home Life, Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta and the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta.

The program, which serves Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton and Gwinnett counties, recently announced a match between homeowner Ann Broussard and home-seeker Gal Fonseca, who have lived together for more than four months and have become friends.

Broussard, who is in her mid-70s, lives in East Cobb in a large home she has owned for 15 years. When her husband passed away seven years ago, she considered downsizing or moving away, as others in her situation had done, but she didn’t want to move to Florida or New York — where her children live — and decided to remain in her comfortable home.

Without regular meaningful human interaction, Broussard became lonely and bored. “East Cobb is a great place for families with children who attend the excellent schools,” she notes, “but I don’t fall into that category. I’m not involved in my neighborhood and don’t belong to a synagogue with its built-in social connections.”

Broussard searched in vain for volunteer opportunities, but found that many had disappeared due to COVID restrictions. She contacted AgeWell Atlanta, which put her in touch with JF&CS. During her volunteer options search, HomeShare ATL was suggested as a possible antidote to her sense of isolation. “I was tired of being alone,” she says.

“Jean Cohen, who runs the HomeShare program, worked hard to identify the right match for me. The thorough screening took a few months, but I trusted Jean and the process,”

HomeShare ATL matched Broussard with Gal Fonseca, who also felt isolated by the pandemic and wanted to stay in East Cobb.

Broussard says. “Sharing my home is working out well. Gal is very helpful and easy to live with. She does most of the food shopping and she likes to cook. Even though she often has different food choices from mine, she accommodates me and also cooks what I want to eat. Overall, it’s nice to have someone compatible living in the house with me.”

Gal Fonseca, who is the activity director at the Jewish Tower, was looking for companionship, an affordable place to live and wanted to be of service to an older adult. She first heard about home-sharing years ago in an NPR report.

“I owned a townhome, and the idea of sharing my home didn’t apply at the time,” she says. “But after a few years living alone, I felt isolated and missed having someone around to share meals, conversation and laughter, and go places with. At the end of 2020 I sold my townhome, quit my job and moved in with my brother and sister-in-law. My plan was to travel and spend time with my family in Brazil, but COVID hit and I couldn’t travel. I kept thinking of a new living arrangement that would provide me with a comfortable home, companionship and a chance to be helpful to someone else.

“I remembered the NPR segment on home-sharing, then I went online to learn that JF&CS was part of the National HomeSharing program. I immediately contacted Jean Cohen, whom I knew when she worked for NORC (Naturally-Occurring Residential Communities, now known as AgeWell Atlanta Neighborhoods) and it felt like the universe had something meaningful in store for me. Jean and I kept in touch during the interview period, when probable HomeShare matches are identified.

“I was hoping for a home where I felt warmth, safety and a sense of belonging. I wanted to share not only meals but friendship and mutual support. I also wanted to stay in East Cobb, close to my work and close to my brother and sister-in-law. With Ann, I live in a gorgeous, comfortable home, with a fully furnished bedroom and access to her entire house. As a bonus, Ann has an adorable dog, Coco! Ann and I share our love for the outdoors, taking walks, yoga, theater, movies and dinner conversations.”

So far, it has been smooth sailing.

“Everything is working out better than I expected,” Fonseca summarizes. “While Ann and I have very different personalities and backgrounds, we respect each other and are grateful for the support we get from one another. I am a spiritual person by nature, and Ann is skeptical about mindfulness and spirituality; she believes in science. Our sense of longing for companionship and friendship has given us both the opportunity to melt our differences into personal growth and friendship. I am very blessed to have found HomeShare, Jean and Ann.”

“HomeShare ATL offers the opportunity for older adults to maintain independence and stay in their own homes,” Cohen explains. “Reducing loneliness improves well-being, especially mental health. Our goal is to build relationships while creating affordable housing opportunities for both parties.”

The program stresses individual safety and performs a comprehensive background screening of all parties. The only charge for participation is a one-time application fee of $35 to support the background screening. Rents are determined and collected by the homeowners. The program is available to anyone 21 or older, and at least one party must be at least 60 years old.

Typically, the senior is the home-provider, but seniors can also be home-seekers, and two older adults can be successfully well-matched.

Learn more about HomeShare ATL at or call 770-677-9435.

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