John Wilberforce, Social Franchise Manager for Homeshare UK reflects on the wider benefits of Homeshare and our work to grow the service in the UK.
Homeshare, works by matching people together for mutual support; a person who has a spare room and is looking for company and a bit of practical support, shares their home with someone looking for affordable accommodation. Both people benefit from a sociable living arrangement and companionship, sharing their lives, time, and skills.
For me, there are three key benefits here that are very different but of equal value to society.
Firstly, there are positive impacts in terms of a reduced demand for social care. The narrative around how stretched the wider adult social care sector is very prominent at present. Homesharing will never replace social care, nor will it ever be the sole answer to the levels of demand – but homesharing can delay the date when an individual first needs to access personal care settings. Living with someone for longer is known to reduce the isolation that so many older people experience. Younger people such as students are also facing loneliness, and overall benefit from the companionship that Homeshare brings. People also benefit from remaining active around their own home and in their local community, with intellectual stimulation around the home having important mental health benefits. So, whilst homesharing isn’t “the answer”, it is certainly a big help and a hugely under-utilised resource in tackling the spiraling demand for domiciliary care.
Secondly, there are obvious benefits around access to affordable housing. Many younger people, students, and key workers, as well as people in mid and later life, struggle to afford the increasing costs of rental property, whilst access to affordable mortgages has decreased. A Homeshare arrangement provides affordable housing and allows a person to save and increase their financial independence for the future.
Finally, Homeshare adds value to society, with people helping one another by sharing their resources. We should all be reducing our use of state and natural resources (such as energy), as well as sharing some of the general costs of living day to day. The energy cost of preparing a meal remains the same whether it is for one or two people, so why not share those costs?
Homeshare builds important and sustainable human relationships whilst tackling some of the greatest challenges facing our communities today. We believe that the most successful Homeshare services are delivered locally and embedded within the community. Working with socially minded individuals, community, and voluntary organisations we are aiming to establish new Homeshare social franchise opportunities in locations where there is currently no Homeshare provider.
Homeshare UK Social Franchise Manager
This week we are at NCASC on stand E11 with Social Care Institute for Excellence, Community Catalysts, Impact, Mayday Trust and Think Local Act Personal; we’ve formed a partnership to showcase the range of community services which are based on people and communities’ strengths and unique identities. Read more about sharing homes and sharing lives and download our Growing Homeshare toolkit.