Home sharing is a living arrangement in which a homeowner chooses to share the home with someone who needs a place to live. Often this type of shared living comes about as a means of managing living costs more effectively. However, housing alternatives of this type may also be the result of the need to give or receive care or as a means of helping someone recover from a financial reversal.
In some cities, home sharing is an institutionalized means of dealing with housing issues. A municipal housing cooperative may help to match people who need a place to live with people who have a home but need help with utilities and other household costs. There is usually a screening process that helps to connect people who have a reasonable chance of being able to live in relative harmony. In most cases, both parties have the option of accepting or rejecting the option of sharing a home.
Communal living of this type is sometimes also used to minimize homelessness within a city or town. Programs operated by private organizations or under the auspices of a municipal department seek to find mentors who will allow people displaced due to job losses or other traumatic circumstances to move into their homes for a period of time. By providing shelter and basics such as food and possibly clothing, the mentor makes it possible for the formerly homeless person to dwell in a safe setting while seeking new employment and getting back on his or her feet.
Home sharing may also take place when a friend or relative chooses to take in a loved one who needs a place to live. The shared living may be due to health issues, loss of employment, or simply a means of two people on a limited income to afford a better standard of living. Situations of this type are usually arranged between the two individuals and will continue as long as both parties are amiable to the living arrangement.
The idea of home sharing is not a new one. In the years before government operated social programs, it was not unusual for elderly, unemployed, or ill relatives to move in with other family members for varying periods of time. In some cases, these living arrangements would last for years, depending on the particulars of the situation and the desires of everyone involved. It was also common for close friends who had lost their spouses through death or divorce to move in together, sharing living expenses and providing each other with company.
Whether arranged through an agency or created as a personal arrangement between individuals, home sharing has gained attention in recent years. Much of this increase in interest is directly due to the elimination of jobs in some areas and the demand for housing exceeding the number of available living quarters in some metropolitan areas. In any event, the idea of home sharing is practical and also capable of providing a number of benefits for everyone involved with the living arrangement.