For more than twenty years of my adult life, I have lived in shared housing with people who started out as strangers. I’ve always appreciated the cost savings and companionship that shared housing provides. In my years of sharing housing, I’ve learned a few things. I’ve lived with singles, people in transition, a single mother and her pre-school son, an elderly friend of the family, couples, people in school or internships, and foreigners in the country for work or study. Some have remained friends, others have not. I have made mistakes and made wonderful friends. There is no doubt that my life has been richer by living under a roof with people who started out as strangers.
The Spark for the Book
The book, Sharing Housing, A Guidebook for Finding and Keeping Good Housemates came about through a telephone conversation. A dear friend was complaining about the state of her finances. When I suggested that she could rent a room in her house, she wailed, “I don’t know how to do that.” She’d had one horrible experience and didn’t want to repeat it. I argued that she’d made a mistake in letting that one person move in and that she didn’t have to repeat the mistake. She asked if I would coach her. I agreed.
When I got off the phone and was thinking about how I would coach her, I realized that I’d developed a process that I could teach to others and decided to write the book.
But who is the book for? Not (usually) the twentysomethings. What I realized after publishing the book is there is a huge need among the boomer generation, who are squeezed by the cost of housing and the current economy. See this article on a tax proposal. Social security isn’t keeping pace. Many don’t have retirement savings to help. In addition, more than a third of boomers are single. Sharing housing provides help with tasks to the simple companionship of another person. That person I call a “home-mate.”
Twenty-seven percent of housing in this country are single occupancy, which I believe is leading to the epidemic of loneliness in our society. Sharing housing can make a difference.
I come to this work after years in the corporate world, first as a management consultant and later as an instructional designer. As a consultant, I trained employees to work in self-managing work teams, honing my expertise in group dynamics and interpersonal relationships. As an instructional designer, I’m skilled in breaking down complex subjects so that individuals can learn them easily. Currently I offer coaching in computer skills. I call the business “Patient, Sympathetic Coaching.” You can read about it here.
Years ago I earned a masters in divinity, (Episcopal Divinity School) where I received excellent supervised training in helping people—how to listen, how to encourage personal growth, and how to help people manage life.
I consider Sharing Housing to be a ministry.
Check out the book that started it all. You might be interested in the Home-Mate Compatibility Assessment which will help you clarify what you need and want in a home-mate. There are articles to read and that will help you clarify what you want in a housemate. Occasionally I offer classes by teleconference. If you sign up for the newsletter, you’ll get notified about a class.
I love doing workshops and presentations. Consider inviting me to your community. Learn more about them here.
I’d love to hear your thoughts about sharing housing. Click here to drop me a line.