Charity People

Homeshare Oxford tackles city’s affordable housing shortage

By Sarah Edwards

A new scheme to tackle the shortage of affordable housing in Oxford, launches today.
Under Homeshare Oxford, a householder in the city offers a spare room to a ‘homesharer’ in return for companionship as well as a modest contribution to household expenses and around ten hours per week of help with household tasks such as shopping or cooking. Typically householders might be older people living on their own, whose family are not nearby.
Homesharers are often key workers, such as medics and teachers, or postgraduate students, all of whom need to live in the city and are looking for an alternative to a conventional flat share.
Homeshare is already a popular idea internationally and is now growing in the UK, thanks to a national programme to allow new and existing Homeshare schemes to develop and thrive.

Homeshare Oxford, funded by Lloyds Bank Foundation and delivered by Age UK Oxfordshire, is part of the new national partnership of Homeshare schemes in the UK. Following consultation with local people and community leaders, Age UK Oxfordshire has tailored the Homeshare concept to meet the particular needs of Oxford residents, ensuring that costs for householders and homesharers make the arrangement comfortable and beneficial for both parties.
The scheme has the potential to offer a lifeline to older people in the community who value their independence and want to go on living at home, in the community they know and love but are looking for companionship or help around the home.
Homeshare Oxford offers the chance to continue being active in the community by reaching out to support the younger generation, and in turn get support with a bit of help around the home from someone they will get to know.
For younger people, it provides a solution for those attracted to working or studying in Oxford but who are daunted by the costs of accommodation close to their place of work, and in some cases the prospect of living alone in a new city.
Paul Cann, from Age UK Oxfordshire said: “The growing numbers of older people in the city, the very large young population, high accommodation costs and the shortage of housing create the perfect opportunity for Homeshare Oxford. This is a win for all ages, and a win for the city’s communities.”
Councillor Bob Price, Leader of Oxford City Council added: “Oxford City Council welcomes Age UK Oxfordshire’s Homeshare Oxford initiative as an imaginative contribution to tackling the lack of affordable housing for younger adults as well as helping to overcome the huge loneliness problem experienced by many older people. The scheme brings new bed spaces into the housing market and provides a wonderful opportunity for creating friendships across the generations.”

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