Homeshare, Shared Lives and Micro-enterprise


Homeshare involves matching a homeowner or tenant with someone who has a housing need and can provide a little support or companionship. Householders are often older people who have developed some support needs or have become isolated or anxious about living alone. Homesharers are often younger people, students, or key public service workers who cannot afford housing where they work.

The Homesharer agrees to provide an agreed level of help and support to the Householder whilst living in their home for an agreed period of time. Homeshare is not a regulated service and cannot include the provision of personal care. Homesharers are not charged rent, but usually agree to contribute to household bills and it may be agreed that other costs such as food will be shared.

Shared Lives

Shared Lives is a scheme where a family is paid a modest amount to share their family and community life with an adult or older person. The person may become a permanent part of a supportive family. Shared Lives is also used as a stepping stone for building independent living skills, as day support and to provide breaks for unpaid family carers of the person who joins the scheme.


Some micro-enterprises are set up by front line workers previously based in large organisations, others are set up by disabled or older people themselves. They often draw on the resources of the local community. Some are funded through personal budgets or paid for with people's own money ('self-funding'). Some are carried out on a voluntary or part-voluntary basis, with any payments simply covering the cost of providing the service. Some micro-enterprises are co-operatives which may be owned jointly by people who deliver and people who use and pay for the service. Click here for case studies.