The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
I am writing to express my experience with the ability to 'share' my home. My home has been the core of my family as a single parent. It has taken many years to build a home that is warm and inviting, and provides a sense of comfort to my family and guests. Recently I had become the only person living in my home. Looking forward at my retirement, it was difficult to see how to afford to stay in my home. However, with the ability to share my home to help pay the mortgage, I am now able to stay in my home and provide a safe and 'homey' environment to feel safe and secure. The guests that stay in my home have a need to be in this kind of environment as opposed to a hotel. Many guests are retirees needing a 2nd home environment while visiting their families, grandchildren and friends. Edmonds, WA is a small town community with only 1 hotel option, and my home and others like it, provide a safe place to house people in our area, which helps our local economy and allows me to stay in my home. More so, it brings me great joy to see how much people appreciate the alternative lodging in a unique home environment that has been lovingly cared for. As a small business owner for a living, this alternative housing option provides additional income to stay in my home as I reach retirement is essential to my future. Alternatively, the families that stay in my home would be forced to stay in places that keeps them removed from the culture and lifestyle of the places they visit. When I travel to other countries, especially, I want to live like the locals to really get a feel for the place I'm visiting. I want to be near 'real' folks and ask where to go locally, and get their personal thoughts and opinions. I've offered my home for just under a year and have been honored to host families from Spain and Germany, sisters who needed a safe haven while they made arrangements for their deceased sister's home and funeral, new grandparents waiting for their first grandchild to arrive, a military family homeless between assignments, waiting for the movers come and the new home to be ready. The caring and new relationships that have been built in such a short time with each of these families is far deeper than would have been experienced for either party without this lodging option. My two older children have families of their own. My youngest died child less than a year ago. So, this has literally been a god-send for me to connect with people and provide a safe haven. It provides a strange sense of purpose and comfort to help me get through a difficult time in my life. I hope this will continue for a multitude of reasons but not the least of which, it is important to feel needed. Thank you for your time.