Is it Wise to Share Your Home During a Pandemic?

Is homesharing during a crisis a good idea? Right now, many people are finding the advantages of homesharing extremely helpful. Increased financial security, greater social connections, and the ability to stay in your home for longer are life-changing benefits for many older Canadians at this moment in time, especially as Toronto and Peel enter lockdown once more.

While home sharing is an enticing option for many homeowners, others have their doubts. "Right now, the biggest question that potential clients ask us is whether they should home share or not during a pandemic," says Tara McEwen, HomeShare Director at HomeShare Alliance. "Most recently I have had many potential clients decide not to move forward with a homeshare, in many cases because of concerns from their extended families," she adds.

The truth is there are many great reasons to homeshare during the pandemic, and some very valid concerns that are causing people to hesitate. In the end, the decision will come down to your own situation, comfort level and needs. Here are a few things you and your family should consider.

Sharing a Space with a Non-Family Member During a Pandemic

With more and more people isolated and alone "home sharing during a pandemic makes a lot of sense, especially for seniors." McEwen says. "Although, there is the reality of the flipside; the downfalls of sharing with a non-family member during a pandemic," she adds.

At a time when there are limited people within your bubble, it's wise to consider the impact of opening your home to a housemate. This is an important conversation to have with your extended family members. Know that adding another person to your bubble successfully and safely is very possible, and requires that both the homeowner and housemate are:

· Able to trust each other

· In agreement on following local health protocols

· Able and willing to social distance

· On the same page about the risk involved.

The HomeShare Alliance team is working closely with homeowners to vet potential housemates to ensure a good fit in these areas. In many cases, this does require extra screening.

For example, a housemate with a large, extended family who visits would not be suitable for a homeowner who has their own bubble that includes an adult child and grandchild. While a nurse practitioner who works shift work may have been an ideal housemate for a senior pre-pandemic, now they could pose additional risks to seniors living in the home. Our team is very aware of these challenges and is working tirelessly to mitigate the risk with thoughtful matches where safety and trust are top of mind.

Social Health & Mental Health

Vulnerable populations who remain at high-risk have been self-isolating and social distancing for almost a year now, which has many serious ramifications for mental health.

While staying at home with your nuclear family is one thing, isolating at home alone is lonely and much more difficult. For those who have spent upwards of ten months alone at home, home sharing is a great option to ensure the social interaction and support that comes with having a house mate. Many of our clients are finding the benefits on their mental health are life-altering.

Financial Stability

Unemployed since March, many Canadians are finding themselves facing difficult financial decisions. Homesharing has become a light at the end of the tunnel for families looking for innovative ways to make their mortgage payments. Rather than having to risk losing your house altogether, consider the advantage of opening your home to a housemate whose rent will contribute towards your household expenses.

We encourage you or a loved one to give us a call if you're considering the benefits of home sharing but are hesitant because of the pandemic. At HomeShare Alliance our focus is safety and we have the tools and experience to guide you through the homesharing process so you can safely enjoy the benefits of sharing your home during this unprecedented crisis.

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