Home Share program to reduce homelessness

Empty nesters will be matched with young people looking for affordable housing as part of an innovative NSW Government program designed to reduce homelessness.

Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services Alister Henskens said the Home Share program was a win-win for the community.

“We know many older people living alone can often experience loneliness and this pilot will match them with a younger person looking for housing while they work or study,” Mr Henskens said.

“This is a multi-generational solution to addressing social isolation among seniors and helping millennials live more independently, and learn some life skills along the way.

“The program will complement the wide variety of initiatives that we’re investing in to help young people break the cycle of homelessness, including additional funding announced recently to increase the availability of rent assistance packages.”

Non-government organisation Holdsworth Community will deliver the pilot program in Sydney, working with older home owners and younger people, safeguarding all parties through a robust screening and matching process.

The program will run in the inner city and northern suburbs of Sydney due to the high number of single-occupant households and work and education opportunities for young people.

Rather than formal rent, Holdsworth negotiates shared expenses such as utilities for the younger person to contribute to the household in lieu of weekly rent.

Holdsworth Community CEO Ruth Kestermann said if the young person has concerns about the home owner’s wellbeing, Holdsworth is there to provide services and support.

“We oversee every part of the arrangement, offer ongoing input, and take the matching process incredibly seriously,” Ms Kestermann said. “For the home owner, it’s about finding someone whose company they’ll enjoy, and who will in turn value them.”

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