The search is on for elderly residents interested in rooming together under a new shared-housing arrangement created by the Utah Legislature.

Last session lawmakers passed a bill to allow up to eight unrelated senior citizens to live together in a single-family zoned area if the house is large enough, has adequate off-street parking and meets other criteria.Proponents of the concept said healthy, self-sufficient senior citizens can live together and share costs and responsibilities. The arrangement will also provide companionship and mutual support - two things many of the elderly lack.

"We hope this model will encourage other senior citizens - perhaps those who are having trouble meeting costs like property taxes - to share their homes with others," said Genevieve Lawrence, a member of Shared Housing Inc., a non-profit organization that owns the model home.

Residents will have private living space (called compartments) and share community areas like the kitchen and living room. Some of the compartments have private bathrooms, while two people will share others. Parking is available off-street for eight vehicles.

The home, 4456 S. Allbright Drive (2150 East), has room for up to six women and two men or four women, two men and a married couple. Rent ranges from $200-350 each, depending on compartment size, said Josephine Kasteler, the committee member in charge of recruiting renters. She will show the house and take applications from 2-4 p.m. Wednesdays for several weeks.

"Although there are some income restrictions, they're not too low," Kasteler said. "We are primarily looking for middle-class elderly. We're also looking for a group that will be compatible with each other, and I'll have to match them up the best I can.

"We want to encourage older people with large homes who are in danger of losing them to share the expenses and responsibility. This could be the solution to a lot of people's problems."

Kasteler said the house is close to a bus stop, churches, a medical complex and a shopping area.

Volunteers have been working for several weeks to paint the home and landscape the yard, but there's still a little work to be done, and Lawrence said the group can always use more help.

For information on renting a compartment or to volunteer to help, call Lawrence at 328-9290 or Kasteler at 277-5550, or drop by on a Wednesday afternoon.