- Living well at home
Homeshare Matching householders with people in exchange for support
What is the problem this innovation solves?
Homeshare is still relatively unknown and small-scale in the UK, but has attracted significant interest, investment and growth over the past 12 months. Homeshare is a simple concept with numerous and wide-ranging benefits for all participants. It has the potential to be an effective and sustainable response to several key policy challenges, including tackling loneliness, helping an aging population stay in their own homes for longer, and providing affordable accommodation for young people, students and low-paid workers.
Homeshare brings together two unrelated people to share a home for mutual benefit. Typically, an older householder with a room to spare will be carefully matched with someone needing low-cost accommodation who is able to provide an agreed amount of support in exchange. The support provided might include: help with daily living tasks such as shopping, cooking and cleaning; companionship; overnight security; and/or engagement with local social activities. Homeshare itself does not provide any element of personal care for the householder.
There is currently no formal academic research to underpin the difference Homeshare makes, but a key piece of research headed by the Social Care Institute for Excellence was published in 2017 and we have anecdotal evidence that supports that there are significant savings to be made due to a potential reduction in trips, slips and falls and use of other services such as home help. There are also potential savings due to improved wellbeing as a result of companionship and quality accommodation.
Older people able to stay in their own homes for longer and live happier, healthier lives, and feel re-engaged and connected to their local communities. Affordable accommodation and access to good-quality, comfortable housing for a range of Homeshare participants.
Stage/spread (where it is/how much is there?)
There are 21 schemes supporting over 300 Homeshare matches across the UK. Two of these schemes are able to provide national coverage. The number of Homeshare arrangements is growing year by year, but still remains relatively low and centred around London. A number of new schemes are still in their infancy, but expected to impact on northern cities (Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool) in late 2017.
What would councils/local areas need to do or have in place to enable it to happen?
Form working partnerships with existing Homeshare schemes. Support or take a lead role in the development or expansion of schemes in areas not yet fully serviced by Homeshare.
What would kill it?
Lack of support and/or promotion from Local Authorities and local Health and Social Care professionals. Lack of engagement by older people.
Where to go for more information
The national body for Homeshare is Shared Lives Plus. We provide support, training, events and resources for our members, and aim to influence national and local policy.