Are you a Senior?
Do you live alone?
Could you use additional income?
Would you like to reduce housing costs?
Do you need help with chores?
Are you willing to share your home?
Are you willing to help out to lower your rent?

If your response to some of these questions is "yes," then home sharing might be an excellent solution for you.

Shared Housing

Why Sharing?

Home sharing is an alternative long term living arrangement where two unrelated people choose to live for the mutual benefits of:

  • Saving Money
    The homeowner can charge low rent in exchange for household help. The person moving in benefits from the low rent, while the homeowner has some income to offset the costs of the house and doesn't have to pay professionals to do those tasks. Alternatively, a homeowner can charge a near market rate and realize additional income. A $500 a month rent is $6,000 a year. A person living on Social Security alone can find housing that is affordable.
  • Companionship
    It's too easy to become socially isolated. With a housemate, there's someone to talk to, to ask, "How was your day?" to say "Good morning" and "Good night." Housemates might choose to share meals. They might go on outings together. They might share interests.
  • Independence
    Many older people find that the tasks required to maintain their home are more than they can do alone. A housemate can take on tasks that would otherwise require professionals, such as yard work, cleaning, transportation, shopping, and cooking.
  • Security
    There is comfort in having another person around. It can lessen anxiety and keep things in perspective. No more worries about falling and not being found or other mishaps.
  • Help in Emergencies
    Most importantly, for elderly people, should there be a medical emergency, a housemate will be aware and can seek help.
  • Living Sustainably
    Sharing a home means that less stuff is required and fewer fossil fuels are used.

How it Works

Each person has their own space, a bedroom and sometimes additional rooms depending on how the home in configured. The housemates share common areas, including the kitchen. Before agreeing to live together, it is essential that potential housemates agree on how they would live together and clarify their expectations of:

  • Kitchen use
  • Household duties
  • Television / Radio / Internet use
  • Privacy
  • Guests
  • Parking
  • Utility payments

Setting Up Shared Housing for Yourself or Someone You Love

Take a look at the Shared Housing Resources by state (using the state directory below) to locate organizations near you that will be happy to help. There are many very good for-profit and non-profit organizations that help to match home providers and home seekers. They will take into account special needs, personalities, and requirements of each individual. Normal staff procedures include:

  1. Personal interviews with all clients - both halves of the potential shared housing pair.
  2. Home visits are arranged for those who are homebound.
  3. References and proof of income, are required and checked for everyone who enrolls in the program.
  4. After the application has been processed, referrals to possible roommates are given.
  5. Potential roommates then meet and interview each other.
  6. Once Home sharers are matched, they are contacted on a regular basis to evaluate the progress of the match and provide problem-solving or mediation if necessary.
  7. Shared Housing Clients who have unique additional concerns are also linked with other community resources that may further assist them.

For additional information visit the National Shared Housing Resource Center. Please note that NSHRC is not a one-on-one matching program and does not interview clients for home sharing.

Locate Eldercare
Use the state-by-state Shared Housing directory links below to find services near you.
The U.S. goverment also has a phone number you can call for assistance finding a local office with which you can connect. Their number is 1-800-677-1116.