About National Shared Housing Resource Center
Maggie Kuhn learned first-hand of the discrimination against seniors and founded the Gray Panthers in 1970 as a response to her forced retirement at age 65. The Gray Panthers was created to work on issues of concern to the both old and young, such as pension rights, age discrimination, and affordable housing. At the core of the Gray Panthers’ message was that older people needed to seize control of their lives and work for issues in which they believed. Kuhn insisted on a place at the table and a voice in decision-making that affected the lives of the old. She led a remarkable life, integrating people of all ages in working for social and economic justice.
In 1980, Kuhn founded the National Shared Housing Resource Center having experienced the benefits of homesharing in her own home for years. She passionately believed there must be more opportunities for intergenerational living and that seniors shouldn’t be isolated and alone or warehoused and forgotten.
Kuhn continued to play a role in the Gray Panthers and in Shared Housing until her death at age 89 in 1995. She is considered by many to have started nothing less than a contemporary cultural revolution, both in terms of redefining the meanings of age and housing, and through her insistence on “young and old together.”
The NSHRC helped establish homesharing programs and shared residences across the country. By the late 1980’s, the Center was fielding more than 3,500 inquiries annually and their program directory listed over 400 programs in the US. For many years with grant funding NSHRC offered regular conferences, trainings, newsletters, guides and networking with groups around the country.
Then with funding cuts and leadership transitions, the organization continued to exist through a network of volunteer regional coordinators across the country offering assistance as they were able. HIP Housing in California, St. Ambrose Housing in Maryland and the Interfaith Housing Center in Illinois, among others, were instrumental in keeping this network going for many years.
In 2015, with a new national Board of Directors and new energy, the organization reorganized to focus solely on homesharing instead of the broader focus of shared housing. The October 2018 conference led by HIP Housing was one of the results of that reorganization, the first national homesharing conference in a decade.
NSHRC works closely with Homeshare International which encourages homesharing across the globe. Homeshare International was established in 1999 to support the growing network of professionals worldwide who run homeshare programs. Its aims are to encourage learning and good practice, foster new programs and understand the impact of homesharing. Homeshare International is committed to raise awareness of what homeshare can offer as a solution to many of society’s needs. Homeshare International has supported the development of homesharing programs in 17 different countries around the world; the charity has stimulated and undertaken research into the need for and impact of homesharing both for older householders and younger homesharers. The biennial World Homeshare Congress, of which there have been six, was developed by Homeshare International. The next international World Homeshare Congress will be held in Liverpool, England in 2020. Check out their website at https://homeshare.org/