Once you graduated from college and got a place of your own, you probably assumed your spouse would be the last roommate you’d ever have. Recently, however, adults who would otherwise be on their own have begun sharing living spaces for a variety of reasons. Could home sharing work for you?
Roommates for Mutual Benefit
Nearly half of U.S. adults are single at some point in their lives. Some never married; others are divorced or widowed. Many of these singles like the independence of living alone. But for some, home-sharing offers real relief from difficult circumstances. People who have found home sharing works for them include:
- People who have been widowed or divorced. A husband or wife whose long-time spouse dies may find they still yearn for companionship or that they can’t handle house payments on a single income. Finding a compatible person with whom to share their home can both relieve loneliness and help lighten the financial burden of paying the mortgage or rent.
- Single adults. Cost-sharing and friendship between singles can benefit both. Each may discover mutual interests and/or meet new friends through each other by home-sharing.
- People with medical needs. A compassionate housemate may be a big help to someone who is disabled.
- Elderly folks. Aging adults, especially if single, may need help with their mobility needs, household chores, picking up medications, and managing personal business affairs. A helpful housemate may be just the ticket.
- Those who are homeless, or at risk of it. Home-sharing can be a great way for people in tenuous employment circumstances to keep a roof over their heads until their financial situation improves.
- Young people just starting out. For a young person, sharing living space with an established homeowner or renter can be a good way to cut housing costs at a time when student loan payments take a sizeable chunk out of monthly paychecks.
Home sharers need not be close in age or season of life. Some successful pairings involve mixed generations, such as Baby Boomers and Millennials.
Home Sharing Help
As interest in home-sharing has grown, social service organizations and entrepreneurs have launched agencies to match potential home sharers. These agencies keep a database of providers — those with a home — and seekers — those looking for a place to live — screened by age, gender, marital status, interests, health, and other factors. Prospects are given rigorous background checks.
Once a provider and seeker agree to home-sharing, they work out kitchen and bathroom usage, sharing of closet space, use of appliances and tools, grocery buying, and other details of sharing a living space, just as they did with college roommates.
To learn more about home sharing and to find a matching agency in your area, contact the national organization for the movement at National Shared Housing.