Ten years ago, Bev and Chetina became housemates when Chetina became a shared living provider with Aspire Living & Learning to share her home with Bev. In this shared living arrangement, Bev has the freedom to do the things she wants with Chetina’s support.

 “I want to make money because I got to pay my bills,” says Bev. Working for the past seven years hanging clothes at a donation center, she is proud of her accuracy in checking clothing for rips or stains that would make it unsaleable. Bev has had several jobs over the years, including preparing salads and serving at a casino —where she still has a good friend from that experience. While Bev has a job coach at work, Chetina helps her think through the everyday challenges of balancing work and life.

Bev makes her own decisions, but she appreciates the different supporters in her life. Bev has a sister, but no other family nearby, so she calls Chetina “Mom.” They have a great relationship. Bev says, “ she’s a very special woman. We go out together, get our nails done, get our hair done.”

Because Bev sees her as a parental figure, Chetina’s role is not the same as having a friend her own age. The pair had a third housemate for a time, but it was not a good fit. Now Bev is hoping to find a new housemate with whom she has common interests.

When Bev describes her ideal housemate, she’s looking for another friend. “I’m friendly with everybody, and I want someone who’s friendly with me.”  Bev is an active woman, “I can’t sit. I get antsy.” She goes to every local dance, loves R&B music, recently joined Aspire’s advocacy group, and is hoping to learn to make pottery, knit, and crochet in the future. Bev would also like her new housemate to enjoy bowling and shopping.

Chetina supports Bev’s desire to expand the household again, and any new housemate has to be compatible with them both. They’re meeting potential housemates through their shared living coordinator, Cheree. “We get referrals, and then there’s a meet and greet to see if they should move forward. If everyone likes each other, they start visiting.”

Shared living is a flexible arrangement where people can discover passions and unlock potential. Together Chetina and Bev are thriving. They’re excited to find a third person to share that journey.

If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a shared living provider, check out Aspire’s eBook “Is Becoming a Shared Living Provider Right for Me?”

Bev and Chetina’s Journey of Friendship, Growth, and New Beginnings