Do you have a spare room? HIP Housing can help match you with someone looking for a place to live.

Home prices in San Mateo County have soared over the past five years as the number of new jobs has far outpaced the number of new homes and apartments.

It's a tough market for anyone seeking a roof over their head. And it's a tough time for many with a home or apartment who struggle to pay a mortgage or rent and other bills.

But the situation is not desperate: local nonprofit HIP Housing matches persons with a spare room or rooms with persons looking for an affordable place to live. HIP Housing's Home Sharing Program is the only one of its kind in San Mateo County and is one of the largest programs in the country, with hundreds of matches made each year.

How it works:

If you have a room to rent, call HIP Housing at 650-348-6660 or visit their website. Providers can even qualify for a $250 signing bonus.

If you're looking for a place to live, HIP Housing can arrange an interview by calling 650-348-6660 or visit their website.

Home Sharing Counselors perform background checks and, once matches are made, complete "Living Together Agreements" between housemates.

The screening, background checks and support provide a healthy alternative to Internet searches and online ads. The average match arranged through HIP Housing lasts nearly three years.

Mirela has been a Home Sharing Provider for 15 years. HIP Housing’s personal Counselors and detailed screening process gave Mirela the extra sense of security to open up her home.

"It's amazing how one spare room can change two lives."

The Home Sharing Program is supported in part by grants from the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors as a community service. Due to its success, the Board on September 26 allocated an additional $350,000 to HIP Housing for outreach, operation costs and incentives.

The service is provided at no cost to those seeking or providing housing. County funding comes from Measure K, the half-cent countywide sales tax extended in 2016.

Learn more

The San Mateo County Department of Housing keeps monthly lists of housing offered through the home sharing program. Visit their website for a list of rooms available as of September 2017.

If you have questions or would like to make an appointment, visit the Home Sharing Program website or call (650) 348-6660.