Homeshare originated in America in the early 1970s and now operates in 16 countries and is growing in popularity. The American National Shared Housing Resource Centre guide describes homesharing as a simple idea where two or more people share a home to their mutual benefit. A person offers a private bedroom and shared common area in exchange for lodging fees, help around the house, or a combination of the two. Every homesharing arrangement is unique; it depends on the needs, time, interests, and abilities of the people involved. It differs from a typical roommate situation because, at its core, it is about two people helping each other.
Many of the international schemes and the existing Melbourne programs are limited to householders 65 and over or persons with a disability who are seeking affordable live-in support and companionship. Schemes are being increasingly innovative with a number of new delivery models specifically developed to support a wider range of people including; state care leavers, people with learning disability, people with long term health conditions and people who are experiencing housing crisis.