Holdsworth HomeShare matches older people who are living alone in a comfortable home with a younger person who is happy to provide companionship in return for affordable accommodation.

Imagine sharing your home with a carefully matched housemate. Someone kind and caring to chat with when you feel like it, a daily companion, who could easily become a dear friend…

HomeShare is an idea that is right for our times and our community. 

At Holdsworth, we see HomeShare as a solution to two issues in our community that concern us deeply.

One is the increasing number of older people living alone. Although many are happy to have time and space to themselves, others feel desperately lonely. And there are risks with living alone, like an accident or illness that goes unnoticed, and a higher chance of entering aged care prematurely.

The other issue is the lack of affordable housing in our area. For many students and younger people trying to establish themselves, it can be difficult to find an affordable place to live in the areas they work or study.

HomeShare solves both of these simultaneously; a genuine win-win.

At Holdsworth, we think its an idea that is right for Sydney, right now. We’re committed to supporting HomeShare in our community, and we’d love to welcome you into the service. What do you think?

Some people embrace HomeShare. They love the idea of having a younger housemate around to share the days and the chores. Others are, understandably, more cautious.

Either way, there’s no rush, and you can take it step by step. To start with, ask yourself the following questions. If you find yourself saying ‘yes’ to many of them, why not give us a call to find out a little more?

  • Are you retired and living alone in your own home?
  • Would you like to remain living independently in your own home for as long as possible?
  • Do you have a spare bedroom and enough space to comfortably share with one other person?
  • Do you worry about what might happen if you had a fall, or fell ill with no-one around to keep an eye on you?
  • Would you like help with light chores, like cooking, shopping and so on?
  • Do you want to reassure your family that you’re safe living at home?
  • Do you miss having someone around to share your day with?
  • Do you enjoy chatting, laughing, and discussing the news and the day’s events?
  • Do you have any skills or hobbies that you’d like to maintain, like bridge, chess, painting, writing, knitting, playing the piano and so on?
  • Do you feel you have wisdom, skills and knowledge you’d like to share?
  • Would you like to give something back to the next generation by providing affordable accommodation for a deserving housemate?
  • Would you like to learn to use modern technology to communicate with distant family, connect with online communities and discover more about the world?
  • Do you want to surprise your old friends and have something new to talk about?

If you have any questions, or you’d like to meet, we’d love to have a chat. To start with, please contact our Holdsworth HomeShare Coordinator and matchmaker, Carolyn Lancaster, on 02 9302 3600, or send an email to homeshare@holdsworth.org.au

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Sharers are special people. They are warm, kind and friendly, and willing to fit in with an older person’s life and routines. They also know that older people have value, with life experience and wisdom to share. That said, sharers are not cleaners or nurses – you’re not expected to do all the work, or to provide nursing care or personal services.

HomeShare is first and foremost about companionship, sharing an hour or two a day with someone and simply enjoying one another’s company. Could you become a Sharer? To find out, ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you a caring younger person who is looking for safe and affordable housing in Sydney city or the Eastern Suburbs?
  • Are you a student, or fully employed in a job like teaching, healthcare, emergency services, the public service or some other worthwhile occupation?
  • Are you an artist, writer, musician, dancer or other type of performing artist?
  • Are you community-minded and open to connecting with an older person and keeping an eye on their well-being?
  • Do you think it might be interesting to spend time with an older person and learn about their life and times, and get their perspectives on things?
  • Do you like the idea of providing companionship during the week, simply cooking together, chatting over tea and biscuits, going for a walk or watching TV or reading in the same room?
  • Are you willing to share household chores, and take responsibility for some of the ones an older person might find difficult, like carrying the shopping, taking out the rubbish or vacuuming?
  • Are you willing to attend interviews with Holdsworth and have a police background check?

If that sounds like you, why not find out more? To start with, please contact our Holdsworth HomeShare Coordinator and matchmaker, Carolyn Lancaster, on 02 9302 3600, or send an email to homeshare@holdsworth.org.au

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Would you like to discuss this in person?

If you feel HomeShare might be right for you, or someone you know, we’d love to meet you. To start with, please contact Wendy Francis on (02) 9302 3600, or send an email to homeshare@holdsworth.org.au

Holdsworth will find the right person for you

At Holdsworth, finding good Sharers and matching them with Owners is a vital part of our role. First, we carefully screen everyone who applies to be a Sharer. We request a police background check, and we conduct in-depth interviews with each applicant so we can understand their personality and their values. Then we consider who they might be well matched with. We will aim to find someone for you who sharers our values and who we think you’ll like and get along with. Then we all meet and see where it goes from there…

Is HomeShare safe?

One of our objectives with HomeShare is to help older people feel more secure and safe in their homes. So, we carry out screening, checks and in-depth interviews of potential Owners and Sharers, and we also help both parties to construct a mutually beneficial written agreement that sets out the responsibilities of the Owner and the Sharer and what chores they need to do and the support they need to provide you.

Once the Owner and Sharer have set up an agreement, and the Sharer has moved in, Holdsworth will be here to provide ongoing support to ensure you both remain safe and satisfied.

What does Holdsworth HomeShare cost?

HomeShare is about shared interests and values, not a financial transaction between the Sharer and the Owner. So, there is no direct exchange of money between an Owner and a Sharer. Instead, HomeShare is supported as follows:

  • The Owner pays a matching fee to Holdsworth to cover the time we invest in setting up a HomeShare arrangement and a monthly membership fee to be part of the service and receive supports from the HomeShare Coordinator.
  • The Sharer pays an application and matching fee to cover the time we invest in setting up a HomeShare arrangement and a weekly membership fee to be part of the service and receive supports from the HomeShare Coordinator.

What kind of support does the Sharer provide?

The Sharer is like a housemate. The main thing is for the Sharer to provide companionship, along with a certain amount of help with light chores like cooking and cleaning and household duties like shopping. As part of the matchmaking process, both of you will discuss this. We will help you reach an agreement that is fair to both of you and gives you the extra support you might be missing. We will write this up as an agreement so that you’re both clear on what is and what isn’t involved. The Sharer is not expected to provide any personal or nursing care, Holdsworth Community can help the Owner to get access to government funded services through My Aged Care if that is required.

Is HomeShare an alternative for older people who need nursing or personal care services at home?

No, the Sharer is not expected to provide personal or nursing care service. HomeShare is for people who are still generally active, well and able to look after themselves. The Sharer will provide companionship and take care of some light household chores, just like a housemate. If the older person needs personal care or nursing care, Holdsworth Community can help them get access to government funded services through My Aged Care.

What will my family think?

We understand that your children and other relatives may be concerned about the idea of you sharing your home. We have considered this carefully, particularly the question of security and any legal matters. To reassure you, all shares are pre-screened and have to undergo a police check. The written contract can also address any specific concerns. It’s also worth telling your children that having someone living in your house will also help protect you in the event of an accident or sudden illness.

How do I know the Sharer will do the right thing?

The Holdsworth HomeShare Coordinator is responsible for ensuring the proper screening and safety of the match. They also assist the Owner and Sharer to put together a customised legal agreement so both parties understand each other’s expectations. The Coordinator facilitates the stability of the arrangement by matching people with shared values and providing ongoing support for both the Owner and Sharer. Fees are paid to Holdsworth for this service.

How do I know HomeShare is above board and legitimate?

HomeShare is run and facilitated by Holdsworth Community. Holdsworth is a long established and registered charity with deep connections throughout the community. We believe in this program and we are investing in the people and processes to make sure everything runs as smoothly as possible for everyone concerned.

What if it doesn’t work out?

We will do our best to make sure everything is set-up for success. In the unlikely event that you do feel things aren’t working out, Holdsworth is here to make sure the separation is as smooth and trouble-free as possible for both of you.

How long will my Sharer be with me?

Because it is important for both of you to have some certainty, we always suggest an initial 12-month arrangement. After that, it’s really up to the two of you to decide what you want from there. We certainly hope that HomeShare relationships might last many years. However, if your Sharer decides to move on, we will be here to help you find someone new.

HomeShare has a rich history and a bright future

The idea for homeshare originated in America, where the late Maggie Kuhn, a remarkable woman who also founded the Grey Panthers, set up the first programs as early as 1972.

Since then, the idea has spread to communities around the world. Today, there is an international homeshare network, with programs running in more than a dozen countries.

In Australia, there are homeshare programs in Perth and Melbourne. Now it’s Sydney’s turn.

Holdsworth’s role in HomeShare

We understand that any older person may feel concerned about inviting a stranger into their home.

So, we see Holdsworth’s role as ensuring that Owners and Sharers are carefully matched, and then providing continuing oversight and taking responsibility for the success of the arrangement.

As part of our responsibilities, we carefully screen applicants, and then we act as matchmakers, looking for Sharers who align with your values and have interests that may match your own.

We want this to be more than a convenience. It’s about finding someone for you who’s company you will enjoy, and who will in turn value you and respect and appreciate the home you are providing them.

It’s a bit like a matchmaking service, and you’ll never have to share with someone you’re not happy to have in your home.

Holdsworth history and credentials

Holdsworth is a registered charity that has been part of the fabric of life in the Eastern Suburbs since the 1960s.

We started off with a before and after-school care service for local children. In the mid-1970s, we began providing support for frail and housebound seniors.

Today, we provide a broad range of services for people living with disability, transport services for people who are unable to drive, meals and shopping services for the housebound, childcare and more.

Our mission is to support people in our community and encourage social connection so they can have independent and fulfilling lives. HomeShare is our latest initiative.