Shared Lives and Homeshare are services which respect and promote human rights.
We advocate strongly for people’s human rights to be respected and believe that if human rights can be our starting point for everyone, we will prevent many human rights breaches throughout housing, older age, health and social care.
Recently we have seen how some of the most fundamental and basic human rights have been denied disabled people, older people and people with support needs. The right to life (article 2,) the right not to be tortured or treated in an inhuman or degrading way (article 3,) and the right to liberty (article 5,) have all been trampled on.
People have died because they’ve had a learning disability, and adults and children who need support are left in solitary confinement. In other institutions, people have been abused and humiliated in the most appalling ways, recently exposed by BBC Panorama. We recently reported on the NHS mandate not to resusitate older people living in care homes during Covid-19.
As well as keeping people safe from harm, abuse and imprisonment, Homeshare and Shared Lives is about empowering every individual: everyone has human rights in order to flourish and have more than just the basics of a decent life. Part of Homeshare and Shared Lives’ power lies in the way people who need to use services are able to shape them. Each person involved in shared living chooses who they are matched with – either a Homesharer or Householder, or a Shared Lives carer – it’s based on their compatibility and shared interests.
People taking part in shared living (Shared Lives and Homeshare) live as part of a family, home and community are often able to pursue the things they have always wanted to do – including fulfilling life-long ambitions, learning new skills, having new experiences and making new friends. They develop and exercise freedoms that we all deserve:
Freedom of expression
People in a supportive Homeshare and Shared Lives household are free to speak their mind – and challenge each other on things they don’t agree.
‘you’re my friend, a bossy one, but still my friend’ says one Homeshare Householder.
Right to education
Shared Lives and Homeshare matches are there to teach each other and share their skills. A supportive and interesting home life is a wonderful platform for learning and growing as a person. Many Homeshare Householders learn digital skills from their Homesharers who in turn have a wealth of experience and skills in their Householders.
Right to respect for family life
If a single word could sum Shared Lives and Homeshare up, it would probably be ‘relationships.’ But it’s not just about the relationship between the Homesharer and Householder or the Shared Lives Carers and the person they support: 93% of people in Shared Lives felt that their social life had improved and 83% found it easier to have friends. The relationships often helps to improve relations with existing families too, In Homeshare many family members feel a weight has been lifted off their shoulders by having the Homesharer supporting their loved ones. Homesharers become part of the family especially those whose family lives in another country and time spent together is more enjoyable.
P has been a delight. My mum loves him already. He takes good care of her and it's lovely to see them speaking in Greek together. I have to tell you this has made a difference to all our lives.
My husband and I have had them in for dinner a few times and vice versa. We have invited him in for Christmas too. Quote from Share and Care
How to promote human rights in your community
- Got room in your home and heart? Become a Shared Lives carer
- Want to give something back to a younger person or promote well-being for older people, find out about Homeshare
- Help us raise awareness – Check out our digital toolkit for ways you can help spread the word about Shared Lives and Human rights
- Get the story of you and the people you live with out there and think about how you promote their human rights
- How do your local services promote human rights? Look at our strategic advice work – how to unlock the funding systems in your area to bring about person-centred change.
If you are part of Shared Lives, or providing or receiving any kind of health or care support, find out what human rights you have.
We’ve listed the rights we think may be most relevant to Shared Lives and Homeshare:
- The right to respect for a private and family life, home and correspondence
- The right to life
- The right to be free from inhuman or degrading treatment
- The right to liberty
- The right not to be discrimated against when relying on your other rights
If you would like to find out if you’re dealing with a human rights issue, the British Insitute of Human Rights has created these amazing online tools to help you work out what you can do – we encourage everyone to use them.