A program that matches empty-nesters with young people looking for affordable housing could be of "great value" in the mix of measures to tackle homelessness, says Yes Unlimited's Jon Park.
Mr Park, client services manager for Albury's specialist homelessness agency, has welcomed the announcement of the Home Share pilot project, which will be initially rolled out in Sydney.
The NSW Government program is described as a multi-generational solution to addressing social isolation among seniors and helping millennials live more independently, and learn some life skills along the way.
Families, communities and disability services minister Alister Henskens yesterday said the Home Share program was a win-win for the community.
"We know many older people living alone can often experience loneliness and this pilot will match them with a younger person looking for housing while they work or study," Mr Henskens said.
Non-government organisation Holdsworth Community will deliver the pilot, working with older home owners and younger people, safeguarding all parties through a robust screening and matching process.
The program will run in the inner city and northern suburbs of Sydney due to the high number of single-occupant households and work and education opportunities for young people.
Rather than formal rent, Holdsworth negotiates shared expenses such as utilities for the younger person to contribute to the household in lieu of weekly rent.
Mr Park said creative solutions to tackle homelessness were absolutely vital in the current housing context.
"I see great value in partnering young people and older people; it's akin to the mentoring program we've established successfully at Yes," he said.
"It could address the social isolation many older people face while offering affordable housing for a younger person.
"I think these types of cross-generational programs are something we could be making a lot better use of."
However Mr Park cautioned the program would not suit everyone.
"It's not a panacea to end homelessness but it would be great in the diverse mix of solutions needed, which includes a big investment in affordable housing," he said.
Albury MP Justin Clancy said he had made representations to Mr Henskens to consider regional communities for further pilot programs.
"This pilot program is just one piece of the jigsaw."
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