Homeshare - Models of care and support

Homeshare enables two unrelated people to share a home for mutual benefit. Typically, an older Householder living in their own home with a room to spare will be carefully matched through a local Homeshare organisation with a younger adult (such as a recent graduate). The potential Homesharer typically provides 8-10 hours of practical support per week in exchange for low-cost accommodation. There is no element of personal care or regulated activity involved. The type of support provided could include help with cleaning; shopping; gardening; overnight security; and companionship. The younger adult saves money by accessing good quality accommodation at below market rent which is often close to work or in large towns/cities. The Homeshare organisation provides ongoing support to both the older Householder and Homesharer including regular monitoring and advice. Homeshare has experienced rapid growth in England and recently the Republic of Ireland with potential for organisations to be established in Northern Ireland.

In 2018, the Department for Communities commissioned a feasibility report from Shared Lives Plus into the potential of Homeshare to support older people in Northern Ireland. Shared Lives Plus does not deliver Homeshare directly but provides support and advice to organisations who would like to set up a service including access to quality standards. It also engages with policy-makers keen to develop innovative sustainable community-based services that tackle loneliness and help older people to maintain their independence and stay in their own homes. In Northern Ireland, Homeshare organisations could be established by a range of third sector providers already working with older people and where Homeshare could complement and add to existing services. Organisations are responsible for the recruitment and vetting of participants, matching and introductions and monitoring Homeshare arrangements. Key recommendations from the NI feasibility report include:

Current users and outcomes

Estimated current financial benefits

Potential benefits

Implementation issues

Case study: UK Homeshare

Service user

Andy is 68 and had lived alone for more than 14 years after an active career that took him around the world. He recognised that he was becoming increasingly lonely and unsure how to address this.

Support provided

Andy was referred to the local PossAbilities Homeshare organisation in Greater Manchester. They matched George who was from Romania and coming to work in Greater Manchester. They undertook police checks, vetting and introductions. George provides 10 hours practical support a week as well as providing an overnight presence for at least five nights a week.


Andy is less lonely enjoying a range of social activities with George. He is also reassured at having an overnight presence in the home. The Homeshare arrangement has also helped George to settle in well to a new life in England and he enjoys the friendship he has with Andy.

It’s given me a new perspective on life and even though I hate to admit it, I do need a bit of extra help round the house – I’m not getting any younger!

Householder, London

It’s just really reassuring knowing that someone is looking out for mum.

Daughter of a householder, London

Community-based models (SCIE Highlights No 6)
Previous section | All sections | Next section