Changing Our Relationship with Housing
I’ve had limited success with sharing my home. I think it worked well for raising my children, but when it comes to sharing my space with people outside my family ….well, there’s a few stories. So it stretched me this week to be with a government official as I sat with a group looking for affordable housing, and heard the declaration that “the days of low income people living on their own in a single dwelling are over for our town” – we have to be house sharing, was the obvious news. It’s a stretch, isn’t it? For imagination on this, perhaps we should look at the example of the early Christian church. They lived in community, shared resources, and gave to everyone as they had need. The early Christians did not place a lot of worth on material items, but focused more on the people and the community they were creating. On Context TV, we talked to people who demonstrated some practical examples of what this looks like in the modern world. A group of young urban dwellers challenged us that house sharing is a very livable option that forces people to do life together in a family way. Others challenged us to live in a way that puts the heart back into the housing market, to get personal about a transaction for a home.
It is going to take all of us to fix the reality that affordable housing prices are out of reach for so many. So instead of focusing only on what you need, or on making the most money, can we start to look around and consider what our community needs? Do you need that extra bedroom or could you offer to rent it to someone else? Are you lonely living in a mostly-empty house? If so, consider sharing it with others. Maybe you don’t have any extra space and can’t offer someone a place to live, but it doesn’t mean you can’t use your home to build community. Consider having an open-house party where you get to know your neighbours. Offer to host a Bible study, parenting or support group, or simply have friends over. There is freedom to be had in holding possessions, including your house, more loosely and focusing on relationships instead. Perhaps if we change our relationship with housing and think of houses as, less of a place to live, and more of a place to build community, the possibilities to solving the housing crisis could be endless.