Ian: Ned moved in here just before Christmas in the end of 2020 with Nick and Duncan.
Nic: I was sent through a Facebook advertisement from Ned's mum just through a family friend looking for housemates for Ned, so I sent an email off and from there we hit it off, started talking about the whole situation, and yeah, now I find myself here six or seven months later just living life, having fun.
Carla: Homeshare is living with a supportive flatmate, it's not living with a carer. What the supportive flatmate will provide them is friendship, mentoring, somebody to talk to, somebody to share meals with, somebody to connect with, somebody to go to the movies with.
Jenna: So most of our matches, the exchange is 10 structured hours of support in exchange for free rent, but we can get really flexible based on what's needed, so we have that in our occupancy agreement so the flatmate knows when they're going to definitely be required to be around and to be providing mentoring or companionship and support. The way that it usually works is that there's usually kind of a timetable, so they might go bike riding together or they might do lego. So these are the kind of things that they would put in their structured hours when they're definitely going to be together and they're definitely going to be hanging out and doing something which would either be fun or like skill building.
Nic: Our day-to-day routine normally looks like, we'll discuss the night before if he has anything on the next day. So for example, today he had an art class, so last night we discussed that he needs to wake up at a certain time and we'll help him set his alarm and make sure that he's ready to go for the next day. We do our cooking together most nights, we watch movies, we play table tennis. We just really try and be his friend more than anything.
Duncan: It's pretty easy to chat with, to like, bu ild a friendship with Ned. He’s easy to get along with.
Nic: I'm probably the messiest.
Interviewer: Ned, would you agree Nic is the messiest?
Nic: You didn't even think about that, did you?
Ned: No, I didn't. Yeah.
Interviewer: Who makes the best hot chocolates though?
Ned (pointing to Nic): This guy!
Nic: We’ve just become more friends and I think he understands more that when I tell him that he may need to do something like ‘you may need to get out of bed at this time’ or ‘you may need to come do the washing with me’ or something, he knows that I'm just trying to help him out and I'm just trying to look after him and support him.
Jo: We've got together some really good reports from the occupational therapist and they've evaluated what extra supports Ned needs as well as his housemates. One of the things to get your head around when you are getting used to this whole idea is what role the housemates have, and I know that when they all started living together, I just sort of assumed they'd do everything that I’ve always done. And then I suppose I then swung around to thinking ‘well, they're being paid to be there’ and ‘they'll be his support workers’ and ‘they'll get him up in the morning’ and ‘why aren't they doing this and why aren't they doing that?’ And so I’ve sort of gone through this whole mind thinking thing around, well, what's their role and what are they there for? And I've sort of realised that actually they're there so this can exist, this setup can exist. Because you can't live in a share house without housemates.
Jenna: The key thing is really getting to know the people that we work with. So we spend a lot of time exploring what people's preferences are, understanding their personalities, understanding what kind of people they would like to live with and what kind of house they want. We look for flatmates who are wanting a long-term commitment. However, if the flatmates were to move on, which is a natural part of living in any homeshare for any person, we would be trying our absolute hardest to match another flatmate in so that there wouldn't be a period of instability for the person with their housing.
Jo: We have a local real estate Facebook group and it's very well used by the community because there's a million people looking for somewhere to live. We put the advert together and Ned was involved in that as well, and put a photo on.
Jenna: And then when I had some good applications I ran them past Ned and also past his mother, Jo, to see what did they think. And then when they had selected two flatmates that they wanted to go ahead with, I did police checks and reference checks for the flatmates to make sure that we felt, from a safety point of view, that they would be good flatmates for Ned. And then I arranged an introduction and we all just hung out and just spent some time together to see whether they could imagine living together.
Carla: Then after that usually there'll be some social time without workers, without Mum, where they can just get to know each other and decide if they actually want to live together. And then after that when we've secured housing we'll arrange a one-month trial.
Duncan: Considering how much kind of happens in the background, we don't see a lot of what goes on, it's just smooth on our end. So in that regard it's very easy.
Ian: Yeah, I'm very proud of all of them to have established this. I can come around and have a meal or they sometimes come to our house and things like that. It feels really normal and pleasant.