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Homeshare Offers Solutions to Loneliness and Youth Housing Crisis, Reveals New Evaluation Report

Research published today by Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales and the Big Lottery Fund reveals the positive impact of intergenerational homesharing on reducing loneliness and isolation, improving wellbeing and addressing the lack of affordable housing options for younger people.

The evaluation, conducted by the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) and Traverse, finds that the Homeshare model:

* reduces loneliness and improves wellbeing by offering companionship and facilitating inter-generational relationships

* provides affordable housing for younger people who are often priced out of home ownership and even renting

The Homeshare model brings together older people with a spare room with younger people seeking affordable housing or an alternative to a traditional house share. In return for the accommodation the younger person – “homesharer” - provides up to 10 hours of support around the house as well as more informally being around for a chat. All Homeshare schemes carefully vet, match and oversee each unique Homeshare arrangement. Participants pay moderate fees to cover the administrative costs of the Homeshare scheme including matching services, safeguarding and monitoring visits, while homesharers also contribute to household costs and bills.

Today’s report draws on evidence from a £2 million Homeshare Partnership Programme, funded by Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales and Big Lottery Fund, using money raised by National Lottery players. The programme was set up in 2015 to grow and develop the model and has funded eight pilot Homeshare schemes across the UK as well as the development of a national network in partnership with Shared Lives Plus. Other partners to the programme included Age UK and the Foyer Federation.

Today’s evaluation was based on reviewing a range of evidence and capturing the experiences of staff at eight schemes and from 28 matches across the 2 years of the Programme. The evaluators found that Homeshare improved wellbeing for participants, offered companionship, made affordable housing available, and facilitated inter-generational relationships. A typical relationship involved participants sharing joint activities, genuine companionship and a mutual sharing of home life, time, skills and experience – as this case study highlights:

Case study

Florence, 95 and Alexandra, 27 are homesharers living in South London.

Florence said: “Sharing your home is a marvellous idea. Loneliness is horrible. You can get bored to tears being by yourself. Having someone else in the home makes a big difference. You don't have to worry about falling over or hurting yourself. Some people might feel a bit concerned about having a younger person living in their home, but Alexandra is lovely. I would call her a close friend. We talk about everything, just as I would with my other friends.”

Alexandra said: “People sometimes look slightly strangely at you when you first explain you live with someone who is 95 and not a relative, but it's like being with an old family friend. It gives me somewhere really homely to come back to in the evening, which is great. Rent in London is also really high but living with Flo makes being here more affordable.”

Taking Homeshare forward

The report recognised that there were challenges experienced by Homeshare participants including: becoming accustomed to sharing space, the escalation of a householder’s care needs, when support needs to be provided, and navigating resolution of conflict between matches - but also how an effective Homeshare scheme manages and mitigates those issues.

Ongoing support will be delivered by Homeshare UK, part of Shared Lives Plus, to support local areas with setting up new schemes and spread best practice to develop existing schemes. The website helps people find a scheme to see if Homeshare might be right for them or a family member. Shared Lives Plus will also manage a best practice guide, development of a quality assurance framework and networking events for those running schemes, to help put Homeshare on the map and ensure that it is developed in a safe, cost-effective and sustainable way.

In response to the learning from the evaluation and delivery of schemes on the ground, Lloyds Bank Foundation, Shared Lives Plus and Big Lottery Fund are calling for:

* More Homeshare schemes to be set up to widen the coverage so more people can benefit from the solutions it offers towards tackling loneliness, helping people stay in their homes and others to find affordable accommodation

* Local authorities, Clinical Care Commissioning Groups, independent funders and others to support the setup and development of schemes and help them address the challenges outlined in the report and become more effective and sustainable

Paul Streets OBE, Chief Executive, Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales said:

“Sometimes the issues facing society can seem intractable – growing loneliness, isolation and intergenerational divides, the unaffordability of housing and the social care crisis. Homeshare offers a clear and effective way to help people on the sharp end of these issues. The Homeshare Partnership Programme has been instrumental in showing that Homeshare can and does work and we are delighted to have supported it and a package of support to help people set up and manage schemes. We now encourage others to take up the mantle to help more people, their families and communities enjoy the benefits of Homesharing.”

For more information please contact Jon Narcross or call 0207 378 4619.


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