Homesharing was originally set up to benefit older people who needed support to live independently but the concept is very flexible and can be adapted to meet local needs and circumstances.
Homesharing is directly benefiting many people across the globe, including:
- people with disabilities or support needs, of all ages
- single parents who need help with child care
- students who need low-cost accommodation
- young people and key workers (such as nurses, carers, gardai, teachers) who are priced out of the housing market.
The direct benefits to older people or those living with a disability include help with daily living, companionship and the security of having someone in the house, especially at night. Homesharing alleviates loneliness which is an acknowledged issue in many societies. There are even recorded instances of homesharers saving lives by calling emergency services.
Homesharers benefit directly by saving money on rent. Their room is usually completely free of charge. In mainland Europe homeshare programmes have mainly enabled students to live cheaply and comfortably. In Ireland, UK, Australia and other countries homesharers are mainly young professionals who cannot afford decent housing in expensive cities like Dublin, London and Melbourne.
Other benefits include breaking down the barriers between generations and different cultures, fostering mutual understanding and tolerance.
Other people benefit indirectly from homeshare. Families of older people speak of the reassurance that their loved one has someone in the house, looking after their security and welfare. Families of young homesharers say they feel reassured that their son/daughter has decent accommodation and a surrogate parent/grandparent to take an interest in their lives.
Public services benefit too. Homeshare has been known to reduce demand on the health services; it can also delay the need for costly services such as residential care for older people. Homeshare is helping to ease the housing crisis in places such as in Dublin where there is an acute shortage of affordable housing.