Innovative Homeshare Scheme Helps Challenge the Cost-of-Living and Housing Crises

Soaring bills and impossible rents are causing widespread misery, but homeshare-with-help could offer millions a solution

Two problems, one solution

We are living in what it is now being described as a ‘cots-of-living emergency’. Inflation is at a 30 year high, millions of UK householders are struggling to pay energy and food bills, while millions of tenants and young lodgers are being evicted, or priced out of market rents. Yet many in these groups could offer one another a mutually beneficial living solution if they could only find each other. New matching site Hapipod.com brings them together to exchange time or help for affordable rooms at reduced fees. This dual purpose use of a spare room unlocks a world of practical help, financial relief, and affordable accommodation.

A staggering one in 5 homeowners took out a loan in the past year. Meanwhile, there are 18.6 million homes in the UK with a spare room, and many householders are realising these could prove a real asset in more ways than one.

Photo: Pinto Art

Modern homeshare done differently

The online matching site Hapipod.com offers a way for householders to get both an income plus practical help or compatible company. It connects them directly with homesharers happy to devote up to 8 hours of their time per week to pre-agreed activities in exchange for reduced living costs of between £58-£81 per week (£250-£350 per month) depending on room size and location. In doing so it opens up affordable accommodation for millions of lodgers on restricted incomes.

This scheme can benefit homesharers in a wide range of circumstances. For example, independent householders living alone can get help with things like IT, DIY, light housework, or pet or home-sitting if they travel. Others may simply like extra company from someone in a similar profession or who shares their interests. Families or single parents can get extra help with childcare, or a householder may simply want to help someone, like a health worker who needs to live near their hospital. Meanwhile it provides invaluable solutions to many people on restricted incomes from students, graduates and key workers, to older people facing difficult financial circumstances such as separation.

Photo: Natasha Hall

The limitations of spare room sites and homeshare agencies

Spare room sites offer great opportunities for people to achieve maximum fees for their rooms, but there is no sophisticated ‘matching’ involved. Lodgers can come and go as relative strangers, and offer no added value. For millions of prospective lodgers, including 3.4 million young adults (age 20–34), since average national rates for a room in a homeshare are around £600/mth (£750 in London), these rates are prohibitive.

Meanwhile for people seeking company, or any kind of home help, traditional homeshare agencies match mainly senior, vulnerable homeowners with younger companions. As such, they offer a premium vetting service, make the matches, and charge ongoing management fees for monitoring. This means clients do not control the choice of homesharers, and householders pay for the service, rather than receiving the room fee, which goes to the agency instead.

How Hapipod Works

Hapipod is a subscription-based matching site founded on a robust ID verification and background check powered by Yoti. It is free to register and see basic profiles of who is available in any area, but members must pass the ID check (a one-off cost of £20) to view full profiles and use advanced features. Verified members can search using a range of filters for background, personality and shared interests, to find someone compatible. To connect with someone of interest, they pay a one-off subscription (£45 for 1 month, decreasing for longer durations), and if all works out, the parties agree precise activities and room fees between them. Hapipod does not charge commission or ongoing management fees. Homesharers on the site range in age from 18–71, so the matches can be between contemporaries or intergenerational.

More stress ahead

With warnings of a continued rise in inflation, and further consequences of the war in Ukraine, there is more economic and social hardship ahead. Lockdown has already left behind 3.7 million lonely adults. Hapipod offers a contemporary living solution that can help alleviate these financial and emotional burdens for many.

Hapipod launched in London in the summer of 2021. It is free to register and each registration is likely to attract more users to that area. The ultimate goal is to provide access to the service for homesharers nationwide. See a couple of short films on Hapipod Homeshares here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSudCxhTDRmo5bYxrdNgSkQ:

The author, Andrea Frankenthal, is the Founder of Hapipod

To find out more visit Hapipod.com. It is FREE to register, set up a profile and see who’s available. Members only need pay the one-off ID check fee and subscription if and when they see someone of interest.

#IntergenerationalWeek #economyandfinance #lodgers #rental #spareroom #affordablehousing #energycrisis #loneliness #housingcrisis #mentalhealth #wellbeing #health

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Andrea Frankenthal

Andrea Frankenthal

Founder of Hapipod Inspired Homeshare, Filmmaker, Social Observer, Casual Contrarian