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Homeshare Offers Solutions to Loneliness and Youth Housing Crisis

Mary (householder) and Andrea (homesharer) – Novus Homeshare participants from Sudbury, NW London

Research published by Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales and the Big Lottery Fund reveals how intergenerational homesharing can help reduce loneliness and isolation, improve wellbeing and address the lack of affordable housing options.

The evaluation, conducted by the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) and Traverse, finds that the Homeshare model reduces loneliness and improves wellbeing by offering companionship and facilitating inter-generational relationships.  It also provides affordable housing for younger people who are often priced out of home ownership and even renting

The Homeshare model brings together older people with a spare room with younger people seeking affordable housing or an alternative to a traditional house share. In return for the accommodation the younger person – “homesharer” – provides up to 10 hours of support around the house as well as more informally being around for a chat. All Homeshare schemes carefully vet, match and oversee each unique Homeshare arrangement. Participants pay moderate fees to cover the administrative costs of the Homeshare scheme including matching services, safeguarding and monitoring visits, while homesharers also contribute to household costs and bills.

The report draws on evidence from a £2 million Homeshare Partnership Programme, funded by Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales and Big Lottery Fund, using money raised by National Lottery players. The programme was set up in 2015 to grow and develop the model and has funded eight pilot Homeshare schemes across the UK as well as the development of a national network in partnership with Shared Lives Plus. Other partners to the programme included Age UK and the Foyer Federation.

Florence, 95 and Alexandra, 27 are homesharers living in South London[1].

 “Sharing your home is a marvellous idea. Loneliness is horrible. You can get bored to tears being by yourself. Having someone else in the home makes a big difference. You don’t have to worry about falling over or hurting yourself. Some people might feel a bit concerned about having a younger person living in their home, but Alexandra is lovely. I would call her a close friend. We talk about everything, just as I would with my other friends,” says Florence.

“People sometimes look slightly strangely at you when you first explain you live with someone who is 95 and not a relative, but it’s like being with an old family friend. It gives me somewhere really homely to come back to in the evening, which is great. Rent in London is also really high but living with Flo makes being here more affordable,” says Alexandra.

Taking Homeshare forward

The report recognised that there were challenges experienced by Homeshare participants including: becoming accustomed to sharing space, the escalation of a householder’s care needs, when support needs to be provided, and navigating resolution of conflict between matches – but also how an effective Homeshare scheme manages and mitigates those issues.

Ongoing support will be delivered by Homeshare UK, part of Shared Lives Plus, to support local areas with setting up new schemes and spread best practice to develop existing schemes.

In response to the learning from the evaluation and delivery of schemes on the ground, Lloyds Bank Foundation and Shared Lives Plus are calling for more Homeshare schemes to be set up to widen the coverage and for local authorities, Clinical Care Commissioning Groups, independent funders and others to support the setup and development of schemes

To read the Evaluation Report visit www.homeshareuk.org

 

[1] That’s one way to save on rent! London student moves in with a 95-year-old widow who was ‘bored to tears’ of living alone – and she pays just £199 a month: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-5270219/London-student-moves-95-year-old-RAF-veteran.html#ixzz5EzKsR6v3 

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