Over the weekend there was a story on Sky News about Homeshare.
As the UK network of Homeshare providers, Homeshare UK wish to clarify points made within this article, to alleviate any concerns and showcase the true essence of homesharing in the UK and around the world.
Homeshare reduces loneliness and creates community connections by matching a person with a spare room, with someone who is looking for affordable accommodation, to live sociably together. Typically, a Homeshare match is intergenerational where an older person with a spare room is matched with a younger person who provides up to 10 hours per week of practical support in exchange for affordable, sociable accommodation.
Both people benefit from the arrangement – they share their lives, homes and skills with one another. An older person can remain living independently at home for longer, and the young person has an affordable place to live whilst learning skills.
Robust safeguarding measures
All providers in the Homeshare UK network take safeguarding very seriously. Prospective householders and homesharers are assessed and interviewed, DBS checks are undertaken, and references are requested. Family members of the householder are typically involved in the process, and the prospective householders and homesharers can meet as many times as they need to before agreeing to a match, with trial periods also in place.
Homeshare UK members provide ongoing face-to-face support for their matches throughout the whole homesharing process, with each bespoke match having a dedicated Homeshare co-ordinator they can reach out to at any point.
Homesharers wish to live sustainably and give back to their local communities
Homesharers are classed as volunteers and not employees. This is made explicitly clear in the Homeshare agreements signed by both householders and homesharers.
It is also vital to clarify that the practical support provided by the homesharer is not ‘caregiving’ or any form of social or personal care, as cited in the news report. Homeshare UK’s role is to support our members to facilitate safe and positive homeshare matches, ensuring that everyone is aware of what is expected of them, which differs massively from many of the informal home sharing situations that can leave people open to exploitation. Homesharers only provide low level help and support, such as gardening, cooking and sharing a meal together, or walking the dog, with one of the most quoted benefits being providing companionship and reassurance to the householder.
A householder with Homeshare Gloucestershire said, “It gets a bit boring living entirely on your own. I wanted a bit more companionship around the home… I thought it would be nice to have someone to help and it’s nice to know that I’ve got someone here.”
The Homesharers also benefit from companionship and sociable living
As well as providing affordable accommodation to young people, Homeshare arrangements have far more benefits than just that. They can help bridge generational divides and provide companionship to both parties.
Emma, who has now been living with householder Duncan for nine years, says: “We enjoy spending time with each other and have a similar sense of humour and banter. We regularly hang out; our favourite places are coffee shops and going to the cinema together. I feel that I have been welcomed into Duncan’s home and the match continues to work really well, even after 9 whole years of living with him.”
The match is facilitated by Novus Homeshare who operate in London. Duncan says: “Novus did a great job in matching me with Emma, we have lived together for nine years now, and I don’t have a single complaint. Emma has become an integral part of my life. It was one of the better decisions I have made.”
Homeshare is a safe initiative which harbours positive outcomes for all those involved. Homesharers can remain living in the areas they have been priced out of and householders receive that little bit of practical help they need around the house, all whilst both have the chance to find companionship and develop friendships.
Hear more about the joy of Homeshare from Sylvia and Olivia – a Homeshare match supported by Homeshare Living: The Joy of Homeshare – Sylvia (89yo) and Olivia (25yo)