Home Sharing with the Cows and Chickens

With the help of Home Share Now, Janis found Dorothy, a 96-year old woman looking to share her home in rural Vermont. Dorothy hoped to remain in the house where she raised her children and Janis has helped her do so.

Besides the financial benefits, sharing with Janis has allowed Dorothy to maintain her agrarian lifestyle and to live in rhythm with the seasons. In the summer, Janis grows an incredible garden that reduces the match’s dependency on packaged goods. Dorothy and Janis also share responsibilities for the animals they raise. When Janis moved in, Dorothy had a dog and a small herd of cows. More recently, Janis built a chicken coop to reintegrate poultry into the homestead. It brings joy to Dorothy to watch the hens walk around outside and eat bugs, and to have the ducks come to the kitchen window to visit.  

Environmental lifestyle changes via shared housing don’t have to be as significant as cows and gardens and backyard poultry. One home provider taught her younger home share match the benefits of using washable, cotton rags instead of disposable paper towels. In another match, the home seeker provided the labor necessary to start recycling and composting food waste.

Homesharing can also reduce commute times, giving home seekers the opportunity to secure affordable housing close to employment opportunities and services. One home seeker saved over $10,000 in transportation costs while also cutting her carbon footprint when she reduced her commute to only two miles per day.

Finally, home sharing, through increasing density, increases energy efficiency in a way that doesn’t require a significant investment or rely on a multi-year payback such as solar panels or high efficiency appliances.

Sharing, as Janis and Dorothy have found, supports the preservation of farm, forest, and recreational lands…the wild places that make Earth Day worth celebrating.

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