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Is Our Family a Good Candidate for Shared Living?

Shared Living is a family-driven housing model created for people with disabilities by those who know them best. Family-driven means families take the lead to find compatible partners, they collaborate to create the housing solution they envision, and they provide ongoing support once the household is established. Ongoing support includes covering the costs of housing and support services. The advantages of Shared Living include:

  • Choice and Control: you choose roommates, location, and caregivers
  • Cost Sharing: you share the costs with partnering families
  • Companionship: feelings of loneliness and isolation are reduced with compatible roommates
  • Coverage: partnering with other families reduces the burden of oversight of the home (in the event one family wants to travel, for example)

Is your family a good candidate for Shared Living? This document will provide an overview of the concept and offer guidance so you can determine whether Shared Living is a housing solution for you.


Planning is essential. Good planning takes time and effort, often 3-5 years. Shared Living is not a solution for a family in crisis. Why does it take so long? It takes time to explore and develop your vision and to be sure your family member has all the services they are entitled to. It takes time to find the right roommates and parent partners. Identifying other families with whom you share vision and values is critical to success. Once you’ve identified the right partners, it typically takes a year to set up a Shared Living home. Our Benefits And Housing Review is a good first step.

Our clients find that doing the Benefits And Housing Review is, by itself, an invaluable planning tool. It gives you the questions to consider as you begin exploring a housing solution for your loved one, and the included comprehensive service review helps you understand and navigate the multiple social service systems for which your family member may be eligible. Most Shared Living homes require some out-of-pocket payments. The amount varies greatly based on your family member’s eligibility for federal and state benefits, the cost of housing, and their lifestyle preferences. By ensuring your family member has all the benefits they are entitled to, you reduce your out-of-pocket costs. By partnering with other families, housing becomes more affordable as costs can be shared.

Finding Roommates and Parent Partners

Partners4Housing’s online Roommate Matching Pool helps you find compatible roommates and partnering families. Compatible roommates are important, but compatible families can often be even more important. Finding the right partners takes time. It is important to get to know your partnering families to ensure you share vision and values.

Access to our Roommate Matching Pool is by invitation only. The first step is our Benefits And Housing Review. Once the Benefits And Housing Review is completed, families who are a good fit are invited into the Roommate Matching Pool. By a good fit, we mean that the family intends to be actively involved in creating and supporting their loved one’s housing solution. If you are looking for a hands-off housing solution that provides 24/7 support, because you are moving out of state, for example, Shared Living is not a solution for you. This model requires the ongoing support of family members or someone you designate. Our Roommate Matching Pool allows you to search through profiles of potential roommates. Once you identify a potential match, you can reach out to the family and begin to explore whether you and the other family share vision and values. The Benefits And Housing Review will help here, by encouraging you to articulate and clarify your own vision and values.

Shared Living Development

Once you have identified compatible roommates and partnering families with whom you share vision and values, you’re ready to begin the work to establish a Shared Living home. Partners4Housing offers a Shared Living Development process to take you through the steps necessary to set up a Shared Living Home. This includes: determining the care needs of the household; identifying funding streams; developing a caregiver compensation package and job description; developing caregiver agreements and guardian commitment agreements; facilitating landlord relationships; navigating the Section 8 process; setting up resident notebooks; establishing house rules, procedures, and process; and more. The process typically takes about one year. Once the home is established, we offer our 30-60-90 day Path to Success to ensure a successful launch of your shared home. This includes facilitating initial communication challenges, a walk-through of frequently observed sources of discord and how to avoid them, and private consultations with the caregiving team (family and employee) to ensure the correct expectations are being set and met. Once the home is up and running, the families collaborate to support the roommates and their caregivers. For example, some homes identify a “parent of the month” who takes the lead for a month. This gives the other families a break and the option to plan vacations.

Shared Living gives you choice and control, reduces loneliness and isolation, and makes housing more affordable and sustainable. Planning is essential. It cannot be done in-crisis. It takes time to find the right parent partners and to establish a shared home. The Shared Living home you establish will require ongoing support. We have created many successful Shared Living homes and we understand the pitfalls to avoid and the rewards that can accrue. We would be happy to work with you to make your shared home a success.