The First World Homeshare Congress was held at the College de Notre-Dame de Sion, Montparnasse, Paris where we were delighted to welcome 42 delegates from ten countries.
Delegates enjoyed some very interesting presentations, workshops and informal conversation. The opportunity to meet people and share information between homeshare programmes was very stimulating, while the contacts made will help everyone to share learning in future.
Feedback from delegates was very positive. Most participants indicated that the congress was very helpful to their work.
The congress was entitled Transforming the lives of people, communities and nations – see the full
The presentations are shown below.
Homeshare in context
The Chairman of Homeshare International and leading social gerontologist Professor Malcolm Johnson presented a history of homesharing and of the development of Homeshare International, paying tribute to the charity’s founder and President, Nan Maitland, who was present at the congress.
Evaluating homeshare in the UK
Jane Coffey of Oxford Brookes University, has been undertaking an evaluation of the UK homeshare programmes co-ordinated by the National Association of Adult Placement Services (NAAPS) in Oxfordshire, West Sussex and Wiltshire. She presented the preliminary findings of her research.
Homeshare in the USA – a role for independent agencies
Kirby Dunn of Homeshare Vermont in the USA described the place that homeshare holds in the overall care giving programme of her agency. And a later presentation from Kirby outlined the history of homeshare in the USA, and the challenges now faced. She described the way in which programmes have all developed independently, but with support from the National Shared Housing Resource Center.
Matching and monitoring in Australia
Beris Campbell (Part 1 and part 2 ) of Wesley Homeshare in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, presented a report of the first ten years of the programme. She was delighted to announce that the State Government of Victoria had agreed ongoing support for the Homeshare programme from July 2009.
She gave a comprehensive overview of how Wesley Homeshare provides a professional matching and monitoring service to bring together older householders or people with disabilities with people of integrity – ’registered volunteers’ – for mutual benefit. A later presentation from Beris provided useful tips about evaluation, development and marketing programmes.
A practice guide and raising expectations in the UK
Angela Catley of NAAPS, UK explained how funding from the Department of Health had supported the formation of two programmes in the UK, and the development of the Homeshare Practice Guide.
She had also led the formation of the UK Homeshare Association now with eight active members. Angela shared the challenges of limited resources for marketing combined with the raising of expectations. There is no likelihood of programmes for the majority of the country for the foreseeable future.
Overcoming barriers to new programmes in France
Alain de Penfentenyo of ensemble2generations in Paris spoke of the young homeshare movement in France, which began in 2004. He described the social circumstances of younger and older people, and explained the ambitions of e2g, which he founded with his wife Typhaine and which is now developing as a franchise operation. Many structural barriers are holding back the development of programmes and e2g has learned that the active cooperation of public authorities is essential to overcome these barriers.
Homeshare and community development in Italy
Angelo Mussoni of the University of Padova, Italy, described the plans for the development of a homeshare programme in his city as a tool for community development.
Different models of homeshare in the USA
Stella Jones described the Tacoma programme in Washington state, USA, which is an independent non-profit organisation and has been in operation for 18 years. It runs on a different model, supporting all combinations of ages and needs, from single parents to young people with disabilities, and families who are homeless.
The public appeal of homeshare in the USA
Kirby Dunn reported on research undertaken by the National Shared Housing Resource Center which indicated that the IDEA of homeshare has very broad public appeal. A large study of adults across the age range 50 to 80 indicated that the majority of people had heard of homeshare. Of those in their 50s, 70% said they would consider it, dropping to 50% of those in their 60s, 25% of those in their 70s and none of those in their 80s. In other words, the research showed that homeshare was seen to be “a great idea for someone else, or in the future for me”.
Bob Fritts, of St.Croix, Minnesota, USA, was not able to attend the Congress but sent us a presentation in advance. Read about his homeshare programme here.
Workshops on a range of practical topics resulted in some lively discussions – particularly on the whole concept of risk in relation to homeshare matching, the challenges of marketing homeshare, and the development of online matching programmes with particular reference to Sharing Housing, an American initiative set up by Annamarie Pluhar (see www.sharinghousing.com) and a UK programme Care2Stay, set up by Marc Francis (this eventually folded).
An International Advisory Group
A most exciting development from the conference was the establishment of an International Advisory Group for Homeshare International. The founder members of this were:
- Carmel Hurst (Australia)
- Typhaine de Penfentenyo (France)
- Helmut Berghaus (Germany)
- Angelo Mussoni (Italy)
- Stella Antonio (Portugal)
- Josep Solans (Spain)
- Angela Catley (UK)
- Kirby Dunn (USA)
The role of the Group is to advise the Trustees on policy issues, to act as ambassadors for Homeshare International and to provide information on the development of homeshare in their countries.
The International Advisory Group agreed to adopt a Charter setting out the shared standards of all programmes wishing to join the Homeshare International Network. The object of the Charter is to support the move of Homeshare International from a UK-based charity to a genuinely international membership organisation. This is the first step to achieve our vision. See the current version of the Charter.
Homeshare International was invited to offer accreditation for homeshare programmes with a marque for members’ websites and material. There was also a request for the charity to help develop research templates and assistance with evidence gathering with a common method of benchmarking.
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