Homeshare is a simple but brilliant idea – it is the exchange of services : housing for help in the home. Homesharing enables two unrelated people to share a home and their lives for their mutual benefit. Companionship and mutual support are at the heart of homesharing – not financial gain. A homesharer provides support and companionship to a householder in exchange for free or low-cost accommodation.
This section lists resources for homeshare practitioners, for researchers, and for people who want to homeshare.
Additions are welcome – please email us.
If you are new to homesharing, the FAQs are a good starting point.
Homeshare practitioners will find a wealth of material in the Network section and on the Congress pages which link to the presentations given by speakers from around the world on a wide range of issues.
See below for:
What is homesharing like?
See our Participant Stories to hear what they say about what HomeSharing is like.
Many of the videos, listed below, also give a good insight into what it’s like to homeshare.
Practice Guides and working tools
The Homeshare Good Practice Guide published by Shared Lives Plus is a guide for anyone starting a new programme. The Guide is available to members of Homeshare UK.
Homeshare in Cologne – a 2008 presentation on how homeshare works in Cologne, Germany
Is homesharing for you? Consumer guide
A Vermonter’s guide to homesharing, published by Homeshare Vermont in the USA in 2013. This guide will help people who want to find a homesharer in places where there is no programme to support them.
PBS aired a (8-9 minute) story by Economics correspondent Paul Solman about baby boomers who are becoming “boommates.” Watch it at https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/inflation-and-high-housing-costs-spur-more-baby-boomers-to-find-roommates. It is interesting to hear the participants reflect on how their initial motivation was financial but they came to value the companionship as much or more. July 11, 2022
Homeshare Victoria in Australia shows what their programme offers for older householders and their younger homesharers.
Homeshare Vermont has a series of videos, some showing what homeshare can offer and one showing their innovative use of volunteers as case workers (see The Matchmakers).
Ensemble2générations in France showcases its work in matching students with older householders (in French).
1Toit2Âges has a series of videos and clips about its work in Belgium (in French).
Watch a BBC interview with homesharers in Essex matched by Share and Care UK – www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUd1i781_vw
Homeshare Oxford has released a video about two of its homesharers which also features an interview with the daughter of the home provider – www.youtube.com/watch?v=5KsOjTmhLAk&feature=youtu.be
Evaluations and studies of Homeshare Programmes
“Economic savings for the Irish Government through Homesharing; A study by Executive MBA students from Trinity College Dublin’s School of Business in Ireland.”
The purpose of the MBA Social Enterprise project is to provide a learning experience for Executive MBA students in Social Entrepreneurship through conducting consultancy projects for social enterprises. Since 2020, THE HomeShare has teamed with Trinity College School of Business on various challenges. In 2023, the students researched the economic savings through homeshare for the Irish Government, with particular focus on hospital admissions, Long Term Care admissions and Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) for younger people. The students built a Data Dashboard to work out the health/medical savings for each local area – view the video. They also found that one social impact of THE Homeshare is integration, combatting racism and segregation, combating anti-immigration sentiment, strengthening civil society…. Read the report.
The economic impact of inter-generational Homeshare
In 2022, Cohabilis, with additional funding from l’AGIRC ARRCO, la DHUP, and la MFP, commissioned a study on The economic potential of intergenerational solidarity cohabitation. The objectives were to identify the economic “impacts” of Homeshare, and to lay the first foundations of a sustainable economic model for the accompanying organisations. The research was carried out by:
This work has shown that, by encouraging mutual aid between generations, substantial savings can be made by young people and substantial savings for the social security fund. Further, according to data, the presence of a young person with a senior housemate has a very probable preventive effect. Finally, the study identified the potential for developing the scheme in France.
Also see We Care We Share for other related documents.
Ernest Gonzales, PhD, MSSW, Associate Professor & MSW Program Director, New York University, Silver School of Social Work has published several research papers relevant to Homeshare programmes:
- NYU & NYFSC’s Intergenerational Home Sharing Program: Data Analysis of 2019–2021 Cohorts
New York University’s Intergenerational Home Sharing Program, in partnership with the New York Foundation for Senior Citizens, has been placing graduate students (“guests”) in need of housing with older adults (“hosts”) who have spare rooms to share since 2019. This data brief gives an overview of information on 71 students collected over a three year period in the key areas of academic focus, timing, location, and lifestyle preferences.
- Building University Capacity for Intergenerational Home-Sharing In: Stanford Social Innovation Review
How universities can help mitigate the financial insecurities and social isolation of graduate students and older adults in their communities
- Intergenerational home sharing and public benefits: Barriers and potential solutions
Despite their potential to address the critical needs of two age cohorts, intergenerational home sharing programs encounter multiple barriers to successful implementation. Among these is host recruitment. In a survey conducted by the National Shared Housing Resource Center in 2011, more than 80% of match–up home sharing programs reported an imbalance in the pool of potential hosts and guests, with the demand for extra rooms overall exceeding the supply.
- Ecological and Psychosocial Developmental Perspectives On Intergenerational Home Sharing
Interest in home sharing between skipped generations has gained the interest of the public, policymakers, and researchers because of the potential win–win outcomes. This brief outlines important economic, psychological,
and social circumstances among emerging and older adults that present a rationale for intergenerational home
sharing as well as challenges for successful implementation.
Theoretical Orientations to Intergenerational Home Sharing: Implications for Direct Social Work Practice on Addressing Student Debt and Aging-in-Community
This conceptual paper integrates intergenerational solidarity and productive aging theories to inform the development of policies and programs that bolster engagement in home sharing between graduate students and community-dwelling older adults. We review key factors at the individual and institutional levels, as well as barriers and facilitators at the policy and cultural levels. We conclude with implications for social worker practitioners, researchers, and advocates.
Theoretical Orientations to Intergenerational Home Sharing with Implications for Direct Social Work Practice
Sharing a home with a roommate has quite a few benefits, such as economic security and possibly friendship. Nonetheless, sharing a home is always complicated. This research conducted at NYU Silver School of Social Work examined the psychological, social, economic, and cultural factors to sharing a home between college students and community dwelling older adults.
Laura Martinez, MSW, Raza M Mirza, PhD, Andrea Austen, MA, Jessica Hsieh, MSW, Christopher A Klinger, PhD, Michelle Kuah, MA, Anna Liu, BSc, Lynn McDonald, PhD, Rida Mohsin, BA, Celeste Pang, MA, Jennifer Rajewski, MEd, MSW, Tonya Salomons, MSW, Iqra Sheikh, BA
“Aging in place” is commonly defined as the ability to remain living safely and independently for as long as possible either in the home or community of one’s choosing. Yet, the literature indicates that older adults prefer to remain specifically in their own homes. Homesharing, an innovative exchange-based housing approach, is a means by which older adults can obtain additional income, companionship, and assistance by renting out a room to a home seeker, potentially increasing capacity to remain living independently in their homes. But what is known about their experiences of homesharing?
A scoping review was conducted to map and consolidate the literature related to the experience of homeshare participation for adults aged 55 and older published from 1989 to 2018. Fifteen databases were searched, including 3 medical, 5 social science, and 7 gray literature databases. Following abstract and full-text review, 6 sources were retained for study inclusion. Thematic content analysis was used to identify major themes.
Within included studies, 4 major themes were identified: (i) benefits of homeshare participation for older adults; (ii) challenges of participating in homeshare for older adults; (iii) intergenerational engagement as social exchange; and (iv) the key role of agency facilitation.
Findings were used to derive practice, policy, and research implications. By focusing on older adults and the ways homesharing impacts their lives, we can better determine the viability of homeshare as a means for improving and prolonging experiences of living at home.
The University of Washington was commissioned to prepare a report on homesharing for the Washington State Senate Housing and Local Government Committee.
The legislature’s aim was to learn more about homesharing as a strategy to reduce housing instability by increasing the supply of low-cost rentals. Homeshare matchmaking organizations have developed best practices to help home seekers and home providers to make arrangements to meet each other’s needs. In fact, homesharing tackles two problems at once—assisting middle class people to hold on to their homes while extending vacant bedrooms to those who might otherwise fall into homelessness. Homesharing has many positive health and housing benefits, as well; researchers report homesharing arrangements help people financially, can meet caretaking needs, and offer social support. Homeshare organizations now use software, insurance, banking and other products from partner organizations (e.g., Silvernest or Zillow). Still, homeshare matchmaking and case work is labor-intensive, and successful organizations seem to max out at about 300 matches a year. Further, there is not a national norm or cultural expectation for homesharing, which would help advance this solution as a housing stability solution. Here is a direct link to the report: http://depts.washington.edu/uwchips/docs/UW-report-homesharestudy2021.pdf. (June 2021)
Intergenerational Homesharing Programmes. A Piece Of The ‘Ageing in Place’ Puzzle is a new publication about Homesharing published by Giuliana Costa.
Business models for homeshare programmes reports on the findings of a HI survey of 48 programmes in 11 countries. It covers business models used (for profit/not for profit), geographic spread, use of paid staff and volunteers, fees payable and other issues. See hirag-fact-sheet-1-business-models-2016
Improving lives and communities by bringing Vermonters together to share homes gives a comprehensive picture of the positive impact of homeshare in Vermont, U.S.A.
|On for young and old – The economics of Homeshare by Rod Campbell is a discussion paper produced by HANZA in partnership with The Australia Institute in 2015. This is a follow up to the earlier Homeshare Victoria Economic Evaluation by Ben Carstein, 2003
An evaluation of homeshare pilot programmes in W Sussex, Oxon and Wilts 2010 by Jane Coffey, Oxford Brookes University
Helping older people choose the right home for them by UK charity EAC First Stop (2012) has an interesting analysis of the costs and benefits of homeshare for householders and homesharers (see page 6).
2020-Homeshare-UK-Report – The most recent overview of the sector from Homeshare UK and Shared Lives Plus
Homeshare International documents
Review 2019, FINAL – a review of our work since 2014, with a summary of the global picture in 2019
Business models for homeshare programmes. HIRAG Factsheet 1, 2016. A survey of 48 programmes in 11 countries. hirag-fact-sheet-1-business-models-2016 (pdf format).
Will a homeshare programme benefit the people you help? This infographic explains in simple terms what homeshare has to offer to both householders and homesharers. homeshare infographic (pdf).
The comfort of strangers – Homeshare International Review 2004-2013 – describes what homeshare offers to the policy agenda and reviews homeshare round the world in 2013.
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