By now, you’ve already heard about coworking. But there’s a new concept: co-living, which is, in a sense, the co-working equivalent of finding housing. A trend that’s been quickly embraced by young people, seniors and single parents that believe co-living is a new answer to the age-old issue of affordable housing and the issues of loneliness and isolation.
While co-living might seem like a foreign concept, it might just be the perfect way to find a community that’s just right for the people that don’t have a community of support. Co-living is a new kind of modern housing where residents with shared interests, intentions, and values share a living space where they’re almost like a big family.
Co-living is based on the idea of together more is achieved when in collaboration with similar goals, needs, challenges and wants. I believe that co-living is poised to completely reinvent the way society thinks about life and family. And as a single mum with two children the prospect of co-living excites me because it gives me choice to design my journey and my kids journey different, in a way I consider easier and more enjoyable. This sort of arrangement works on the principle that two single mums raising their kids together, sharing resources, rent and living expenses together can achieve more than one going it alone. If rent and expenses are half the cost, then savings will be doubled and financial obligations for a single mum would be less stressful.
Single mums living together can afford a better house or apartment within a safer neighbourhood. The resource of having another single mum living under the same roof lightens the load of daily responsibilities too, such as cooking cleaning, garden maintenance, sometimes laundry and even some child care aspects such as carpooling, homework or even your kids being entertained while you have a long, quiet and hot shower and shave your legs!
Children of single parents also benefit, especially if they are only children and of similar ages, it’s like having an unofficial sibling! Kids can also establish a relationship which is not just dependant on the one parent but the other parent and their child. Sure, you may lose some “me” time but as a single mum, this seems much less important to all the other benefits that are presented. Doing this for a few years can be the quickest way to save money for a deposit on one’s own place, pay back debts, create savings for education or a holiday or a better car. And the friendship can be lifelong for the single parents and their children.
This “blending of families” is such an important aspect to children too. Through this they learn that relationships can be built on mutual trust, respect, negotiation and understanding, and the kids who haven’t come from such an experience will benefit highly from this. It shows children that you can be all inclusive and families come in all different shapes, sizes and formations and when times are tough, it’s the community of support you build around yourself that makes the journey easier.
Single parents without rental history, are homeless or wanting to escape DV are given the opportunity to do so, through co-living. They require less money to do so and come with the inbuilt support that they may need at the beginning of their journey, which is such a crucial time for setting one’s self up. Single parents left holding the home and the mortgage for whatever reason and are struggling can alleviate this and open up their home to another that would benefit creating a win/win situation for the home owner and the renter in their home.
Co-living for anyone, especially single parents that are challenged financially, logistically and often feel unsupported and isolated can offer a profound amount of stress relief. Stress relief alleviates fatigue and depression, allowing for healthier interactions with themselves self-confidence), with their children and with life in general. I believe in this so much as a viable option for single parents struggling week to week, those without homes and those stuck in DV as a way to create a better life for them and their kids that 14 months ago I created ShareAbode and my mission with ShareAbode is to make a significant difference in the social and economic lives of the single parent families from all backgrounds and experiences here in Australia.
Wilhelmina Ford is the founder of ShareAbode. www.shareabode.com.au