THE HomeShare: The Affordable Housing and Social Care Model
Homeshare brings together someone who needs some help to live independently in their own home with someone who needs somewhere to live. In return for free accommodation, the Homesharer provides a minimum of 10 hours of support each week to the Householder. There is a monthly service fee paid to THE HomeShare for continued monitoring and support.
Householders are often older people or people who need support to continue to live in their own homes. They usually have some support needs or may have become isolated or anxious about living alone. The idea is that with reassurance and companionship Householders will continue to live full, happy and healthy lives. Householders will also be able to pass on their skills and experience to enrich the lives of those that share with them.
Homesharers are often younger people, students, or key public service workers who cannot afford housing where they work. They are happy to give their time to support the needs of older people.
Homesharing benefits and enriches the lives of both the Householder and the Homesharer. It is not just about providing support but is also a great way to widen your horizons, learn new skills and meet new people.
The support provided through Homeshare can help the Householder live independently in their own home for longer. The type of support offered is agreed between the Householder and Homesharer. It can include activities like: cooking, shopping, cleaning, help with household administration, walking the dog and companionship.
The two are matched together by THE HomeShare who find the right matches and offer continued monitoring and support to ensure safeguarding and that it works well for both people.
Pat (91 years) and Farah (26 years) instantly connected when they were introduced to each other in November 2019. Pat is an acclaimed artist and musician and Farah is a professional musician and singer. They kept each other in high spirits during the first and second lockdown by playing music together (often delighting their fans on Instagram with impromptu sessions), going for walks and cycles and generally keeping each other company. Pat began introducing Farah to people as his new Granddaughter, very soon into their Homeshare arrangement and Farah looks to Pat as her Irish Grandad.
THE HomeShare has secured and monitored over 120 matches since it’s inception in 2017. THE HomeShare continues to grow steadily and there has been a 125% growth in the number of Homeshare matches over the past 12 months. After often lonely and pioneering work by it’s founder and growing team, we have developed a model which works and whose time has surely come.
Our aim is for THE HomeShare to become a mainstream housing and social care option, delivered by our person-centred organisation in which our participants have confidence and trust in.
To make this happen we need:
• Investment for THE HomeShare in areas currently not well serviced including; Galway, Cork, Limerick, Waterford and more rural areas outside the main cities and towns in Ireland
• Support from local and national policy makers to overcome key policy barriers that prevent people participating in Homeshare. Homeshare still only attracts people who can ‘self-fund’. Restrictions imposed by mainstream legislation and policy, notedly in relation to social housing and benefits, continue to impact on the wider take-up of the service and limit the breadth of potential outcomes achievable.
• More Health and Social Care professionals and other community based older person services understanding fully the Homeshare model and promoting THE HomeShare as an alternative support model and the development of dedicated referral pathways from key public and local services
• Older people and their families to plan for later life and look at Homeshare as an option earlier to prevent reaching crisis point and enjoy Homesharing for longer.