Would you share your home?

Homeshare offers cost-effective living for young and older Australians.

Would you share your home?

In an initiative that aims to provide affordable housing in NSW, students and young workers may move in with older Australians. Homeshare is an innovative model, where young people move in with older Australians and help with household duties in exchange for free or low-rent accommodation.

The NSW Government is being urged by the State’s leading youth affairs organisation, Youth Action, to trial the Homeshare program as a way to address growing housing affordability challenges. The program would match older Australians, or people with a disability requiring some assistance to live independently, with people seeking affordable housing.

Homeshare would be funded by a not-for-profit body in order to operate, and would create specific legislation for ‘lodger’s agreements’, outlining the rights of homeowners and young boarders.

Youth Action released a detailed policy paper in May, describing how the model may help to address chronic shortages of affordable housing, particularly in Sydney, while helping older Australians who want to live at home maintain their independence.  

In return for providing up to 10 hours per week helping with tasks, such as cooking meals, doing household chores, shopping, transport or minor household maintenance, the homesharer would receive either free or low-rent accommodation.

Managing director of Youth Action Katie Acheson said the program was based on similar models already operating interstate and internationally. “Surging property prices have made it increasingly hard for many young people to find affordable housing close to their places of work and education”, Ms Acheson said.

Additionally, she said that “While these older Australians may be asset rich, many are unable to afford to pay for assistance around the house that would allow them to age comfortably in their own home.”

Potential participants would be interviewed by the organisation before being paired with an appropriate living companion. Young and older applicants would be assessed on their needs, undergo screenings for criminal records and have reference checks. Agreements would be drafted, outlining agreed tasks and living costs.  Property inspections, ongoing support, supervision and mediation of any issues that arise would also be provided.

You can read the full Homeshare policy paper here.

What do you think? Would you share your home with a student or young person in your community? Do you think Homeshare should be implemented in your state?  





    COMMENTS

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    Isabel
    19th Jun 2015
    10:30am
    This is an excellent idea! Good for all parties.
    MICK
    19th Jun 2015
    11:03am
    Good in principle but I might suggest also fraught with potential problems for children where parents leave estates to people they have known for a short time whilst cutting out their own families.
    The laws need to changed so that senile older people and those who become mentally ill are not used as get rich quick schemes by outsiders who befriend them at the eleventh hour and nor by boarders who become their friends at the last minute.
    SO WHY IS THE POLITICAL SYSTEM NOT PROTECTING FAMILIES?????
    Anonymous
    19th Jun 2015
    1:02pm
    Mick, probably for the same reason that the political system is not doing anything positive for anyone except for those people in it.
    MICK
    19th Jun 2015
    1:44pm
    And their well funded election contributors Eddie. It must be clear WHY the Carbon Tax was repealed given that it was working and also employing thousands of Australians.
    Chris B T
    19th Jun 2015
    11:58am
    Home share, How Will Centerlink and Concession Providers View This Arrangement.
    My take on it goes against the conditions that you receive Pensions, Concessions and Discounts.
    All in the notifiable reporting before or whilst receiving a benefit.
    Clear up these issues, go for it.
    quility
    19th Jun 2015
    12:16pm
    I am disabled, I manage on my own. I would take in a student, boarder, youth etc etc to combat loneliness & help them! BUT Getting the right person would be essential but I would say very difficult. I can see so many problems - smoking, drinking, drugs, loud music, friends over all hours, who cooks, who cleans, religious differences, security issues, Some possessions would need to be hidden, etc etc. Go for it but I see danger!
    Anonymous
    19th Jun 2015
    4:19pm
    You are certainly correct on that quility I think best if you can stay on your own and perhaps if needed, get some home help, or if a bit lonely why not get a pet, they don"t pinch things ,backchat, smoke or drink and can still be an excellent companion.
    Thai Traveller
    20th Jun 2015
    2:04am
    Not all of us old coves (if any) are useless. I'm in my mid 70s, and for a few years I was a disability carer for a lady older than myself. I had a room in the house and did the gardening, watering, mowing, driving to her clubs, Doctor, odd jobs around the house, basic cooking, in exchange for zero rent.
    Penqueen1949
    19th Jun 2015
    2:28pm
    Not every senior has their own home so are forced to pay rent so why not extend this idea to fairly healthy older people. Also there is already help for older people and those with disabilities to continue living in their own homes.
    Penqueen1949
    19th Jun 2015
    2:28pm
    Not every senior has their own home so are forced to pay rent so why not extend this idea to fairly healthy older people. Also there is already help for older people and those with disabilities to continue living in their own homes.
    Barbara Mathieson
    19th Jun 2015
    7:11pm
    No, I wouldn't share my house with a student! Fraught with danger and not worth the worry people. I don't believe the applicants would be screened well enough also! Seniors can receive help in our homes already, take advantage of these professional people instead everyone.
    Pardelope
    19th Jun 2015
    9:26pm
    It is not something I would want to do - though I'm sure there could be successful arrangements with the right people. I would insist on a detailed legal agreement drawn up by a solicitor - plus a trusted third party to check periodically to ensure that the agreement is being honoured. I would also want the arrangement to be reviewed at least every year.

    A friend of mine lives not too far from a university. She is an active, fit 75 yo. She has a fairly large two story modern home. She has her name down with the university accommodation service to have students rent from her. The accommodation service refers potential renters to her and she does all the negotiating and rent collection.

    There are different state government legal requirements and responsibilities - depending on status e.g. boarders, lodgers, renters.

    The students share the use of the laundry, kitchen and a downstairs lounge area. They have their own rooms on the ground floor, whilst she has her own bedroom and sitting room/office upstairs. Sometimes they join in meals, but this is not part of the agreement. She says she has learnt a lot from them (cooking, language, customs) and they have improved their English.

    She has found that Asian students are the quietest, cleanest, and most compatible as they are really serious about their studies (usually paid for by their family) and there are no parties or late night noise. She often has post-graduate students who are older and more settled than younger students. They generally return to their homes for a break at the end of each semester, and only stay until their studies are finished. She has found them to be caring, helpful, reliable. She says she feels safer because they are there, and because they would help in an emergency.
    Gypsyfeet
    20th Jun 2015
    12:17am
    Yes I definitely would, however the area of housing with the biggest problems, government housing, will not allow it unless both parties pay 25% of their income. Thats just plain greedy. With waiting lists 8yrs+, shortage of people to care for the elderly & disabled, so many problems could be solved in the housing/community sector if the States Dept of Housing would just think it through sensibly. The housing problems would be reduced & so would the costs. Taking students or younger people off the housing wait list would be sensible, but the government are not into sensible. They are only interested in grabbing 2 lots of 25%. I feel even 20% each would solve a lot. There has got to be something in it for public housing tenants to share. Throwing them out of their homes because they have spare rooms or making them pay more solves nothing & creates misery. No countries in Europe & UK treat public housing tenants so badly & disrespectfully. Tenants are not looked down upon. They are not called derogatory names such as 'Houseos' or 'Trust House Trash' by the Housing officers, even those of us who keep our home as if it were our own. Would love someone to enjoy my home too.
    Gypsyfeet
    20th Jun 2015
    12:29am
    Don't paint every young person with the same brush. As someone has already mentioned, overseas students have a deep sense of responsibility to to well in their studies out of respect for their families. Their culture also respects older people. There are also thousands of singles, especially women over 40 who cannot afford to rent a place on their own. Hell will freeze over before they get a government house/unit/flat. A house buddy would really help me out, having ill health & disability.
    Precious 1
    20th Jun 2015
    2:50pm
    I have shared my home many times and never had any trouble at all only kindness, friendship and some help......If a person wants the money for any reason she/he shouldn't go into this with a antagonistic attitude????? after all you cannot have one without the other.....like the ad on TV at moment regarding girl with damaged neck??One gentleman wanted me to extend his stay for permanent but I always said and meant it that my home was a stepping stone to get them on their feet etc etc and all abided by this.....I loved it and would do it all over again if I lived in a larger home......
    Alula
    20th Jun 2015
    3:56pm
    IRRELEVANT TO THE THE TOPIC - BUT WHERE IS PARTICOLOUR THESE DAYS?
    Gypsyfeet
    21st Jun 2015
    12:34am
    Alula What the hell is irrelevant about it, because I live in government housing? you prove my point about double standards. I am sure a 40yr+ homeless lady would not give a fig about living in a neat, clean. homely house such as mine. Filled with warmth companionship etc.