We face many crises today — housing, food, nutrition, education, isolation, care for children, the elderly and health care. Improving our housing model could realistically ameliorate, to some extent, many of these challenges. Given the premise that our predominate housing model–single person / single family homes–may not be ideal for all demographic groups, New Community Vision facilitates Housing Mixers to promote alternative options that are appropriate and secure for the gamut of life stages, whether that is 20 and starting out or 80 and winding down. These alternatives include:
- PH/H – Professional Homes managed by Professional Homemakers. The homemaker decides who lives there, the terms of their residency and ensures the smooth and harmonious functioning of the home. This would be a great job, which is not to say an easy one, for people who are natural at it, grandmothers for example. It also would provide income for people who currently don’t consider themselves employable.
- N-FIG, Non-Familial, Inter-Generational home sharing. All adults are equal, either all renters or all owners.
- Dormitory housing – A case can be made for dormitory living. Some people are well over their love affair with “stuff” and would welcome living a simpler lifestyle in a gracious environment with less responsibility. Dormitories would have private bedrooms, common living space and an arrangement for meals.
Principles of successfully sharing a roof
Anyone sharing a roof with others would benefit by adhering to these principles:
- People choose where to live. If it does not suit you, live elsewhere.
- Everyone pays their fair share and does their fair share i.e., chores.
- Be pleasant. If you can’t muster that, at least strive for it.
- MYOB, mind your own business. Thou shalt not judge, meddle, or attempt to “fix” anyone.
Living with others is not easy. Living alone isn’t either. A social service professional who knows the residents and functions as a housing coach would help the household to stay even-keeled. The coach would facilitate monthly “communications tune-ups” where household members discuss issues and air differences to prevent misunderstandings from festering into hardened resentments. The goal is to establish and maintain healthy boundaries and communication which are essential to successful living, particularly with others. Housing coaches would develop their own clients and fee arrangement with each household.
Photo Credit: Ben Earwicker Garrison Photography, Boise, ID www.garrisonphoto.org