An effective response to high housing costs and an ageing population

  • Homeshare is an initiative which brings together older people and others, who need support to stay in their homes, with younger people by providing them with an affordable place to live in return for companionship and low level practical support.
  • Lloyds Bank Foundation is today launching an investment of £1m to establish a new partnership programme that seeks to demonstrate that Homeshare can be an effective, achievable and economical way of meeting housing and support needs and to pave the way for rolling it out in more communities in the UK.
  • Lloyds Bank Foundation is developing this initiative with the Big Lottery Fund who has also allocated £1m to support the pilot phase of the programme. 
  • The programme will involve a unique range of partners including Age UK, working with householders, the Foyer Federation, working with homesharers, and Shared Lives Plus who has produced a free best practice guide to establishing and running a good Homeshare scheme, which is also being launched today.

The Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales is today launching a new investment and partnership programme designed to enable the Homeshare model to be developed and established in more communities in the UK. The programme will support a number of Homeshare pilot developments and undertake testing and evaluation of the model to prove it is a sustainable and effective response to the twin challenges of high housing costs and an aging population.

Homeshare: an economical way of meeting housing and support needs

With a growing aging population in the UK, many older people need basic practical support to be able to live independently in their own homes, whilst also facing increasing loneliness and isolation; for example, around 775,000 older people (7% of those aged 65 and over) in the UK say they always or often feel lonely.[1] With housing costs at record levels it has also become increasingly difficult for younger people to find affordable accommodation, particularly those in urban areas who are studying or trying to establish their careers.

In a Homeshare scheme, ‘householders’, such as older people who have homes but need support to live independently, are matched with ‘homesharers’, that have a housing need but can also provide practical support, such as help with basic tasks around the house and garden, cooking, shopping and other errands. Homeshare does not include the provision of personal care but can allow people to stay in their own homes for longer whilst reducing loneliness and isolation through conversation and companionship.

Both parties participating in the scheme are given guidance and support throughout the arrangement to help deal with any concerns that may arise and to ensure the success of the match. In return, each pays a fee to cover the costs of the scheme operation and to allow for more people to be recruited and matches established.

Establishing a replicable model for Homeshare

The investment from Lloyds Bank Foundation and the Big Lottery Fund will establish a national partnership programme and support a number of pilot Homeshare schemes throughout the next two years. The programme and the experience of these local schemes will ensure thorough testing, development and evaluation of the model to establish a replicable “blueprint” for setting up Homeshare schemes in new areas; with the intention of proving it is a sustainable and effective response to the twin policy challenges of helping an aging population stay in their homes for longer and younger people find accommodation at a time of record housing costs.

A range of national partners will develop and support the Homeshare programme. Age UK will lead on supporting the local schemes and on the overall relationships with ‘householders’; the Foyer Federation will support ‘homesharers’ given their expertise in helping young people to get back on their feet following homelessness and other situations; Shared Lives Plus will give insight and expertise in supporting Homeshare schemes; Lloyds Banking Group will provide support on business development and marketing and the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) will lead on the evaluation of all aspects of the programme.

A free guide has been developed and is also being released today by Shared Lives Plus drawing from the experience and best practice of existing Homeshare schemes to explain how a scheme should be set up and operated. This can be accessed here.

Paul Streets, Chief Executive of the Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales, said, “Homeshare is a great idea whose time has come. Homeshare is a simple and low cost but effective way of helping older people to continue to live independently and for others to access affordable accommodation. We are proud to be working in partnership with a unique range of organisations to make and prove the case for Homeshare to be able to bring this way of working to more communities in the UK.”

Alex Fox, Chief Executive of Shared Lives Plus, said, “Homeshare is a global movement with a long history of enabling older people who just need a little help and younger people who lack access to affordable accommodation to form mutually supportive households. The UK has long lagged behind other nations in growing Homeshare initiatives, so we’re delighted that the funders and partners have come together to help more communities offer this elegant solution to housing and support needs.”

Rt Hon Oliver Letwin MP and Minister of Government Policy who has provided a Foreword for the Homeshare best practise guide, said, “Homeshare is an effective and economic way of meeting housing and support needs. People are living longer and many still want to continue living in their homes. With Homeshare this is possible through a sustainable living arrangement and I hope to see this scheme develop and become a more widespread option to help people remain safe and independent in their own homes.”

For more information on the Homeshare programme, including how you can get involved please contact:

[1] TNS Agenda for Later Life survey for Age UK, 2013