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?