Cohousing is an arrangement between two or more unrelated people to share common areas of a home, while maintaining private bedrooms.  Homeshare arrangements are built around the needs of the homeowner and tenant (or “homesharer”), and can involve rental or rent-free arrangements. Some examples include: 

  • An older homeowner who rents their home to a younger homesharer at a discounted rate. The homesharer provides companionship to the homeowner and assists with errands and household chores. 
  • A younger homeowner shares their home with an older homesharer for free. The homesharer provides childcare and assists with household chores. 

Through this approach, homesharing can help simultaneously with several common housing challenges – affordability, independent/senior living, and support services – in a way that benefits both the homeowner and homesharer. 

Homesharing can come about as the results of informal arrangements or public/non-profit programs. These programs can cover a large geographic region, or be more targeted to smaller regions or individual communities.   

Case Study: Regional Homesharing Programs 

  • Homeshare Vermont is a non-profit organization that connect homeowners and homesharers in northern and central Vermont. 216 participants were matched in 2020. The average age of persons sharing their home was 71, while the average age of persons who found a home through the program was 52. Most participants were low-income (<80% of area median income), both homeowners (62%) and homesharers (83%). 
  • Homeshare MWV is an example of a more local homeshare program focused on several communities in the Mount Washington Valley region of New Hampshire. The program is operated by the Gibson Center for Senior Services, a non-profit, as part of an age-friendly communities initiative in the region. Matching services were suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic; in response Homeshare MWV provided informational resources for residents to engage in homesharing.