Welcome! I’m Annamarie Pluhar and I’ve become a passionate advocate for shared housing. It started with my personal experience.I have chosen to live in shared housing for my entire adult life. There have been stretches where I lived with a significant other and many years of living with people who started out as strangers. More than twenty years have been in that type of shared housing.
I like cutting my housing costs, I like living with people. I like the casual, spontaneous social connection of a pick up conversation or meal. I like having help in maintaining my home. In my years of shared housing, I’ve learned a few things. I’ve lived with singles, people in transition, a single mother and her pre-school son, an elderly friend of the family, couples, people in school or internships, and foreigners in the country for work or study. Some have remained friends, others have not. I have made mistakes and made wonderful friends. There is no doubt that my life has been richer by living under a roof with people who started out as strangers.
The Spark for the Book
The book, Sharing Housing, A Guidebook for Finding and Keeping Good Housemates came about through a telephone conversation. A dear friend was complaining about the state of her finances. When I suggested that she could rent a room in her house, she wailed, “I don’t know how to do that.” She’d had one horrible experience and didn’t want to repeat it. I argued that she’d made a mistake in letting that one person move in and that she didn’t have to repeat the mistake. She asked if I would coach her. I agreed. When I got off the phone and was thinking about how I would coach her, I realized that I’d developed a process that I could teach to others and decided to write the book.
I come to this work after years in the corporate world, first as a management consultant and later as an instructional designer. As a consultant, I trained employees to work in self-managing work teams, honing my expertise in group dynamics and interpersonal relationships. As an instructional designer, I’m skilled in breaking down complex subjects so that individuals can learn them easily. Years ago I earned a masters in divinity, (The Episcopal Divinity School) where I received excellent supervised training in helping people—how to listen, how to encourage personal growth, and how to help people manage life. I consider promoting shared housing to be a ministry.
Sharing Housing Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to promoting shared housing as a viable and enjoyable answer to the joint crises of housing affordability and loneliness facing our society. Shared housing is an ancient method of survival and well-being that can be adapted to modern life. Since this site (sharinghousing.com) was already live and active, it is the central location for our resources—our classes, and the books we offer.
We work with organizations, housing professionals, the aging network and local officials who are seeking to develop shared housing in their communities. The twin crises of high housing costs and an increase in social isolation combine to render cooperative living arrangements an excellent solution. By providing education, advocacy, and model development we can empower individuals to choose, create and sustain shared housing. We envision a world in which sharing housing is a commonly accepted living arrangement and individuals feel happy, safe and at peace with home-mates.
Check out the book that started it all. Sign up for the newsletter. We write regularly on the subject of sharing housing including hints for doing it well, and interviews with those who already share housing. We offer classes on Zoom and online to help people, (you?) really get into the idea and gain the tools you need to select a good home-mate. We host three Q&As a month that you can find out about by signing up for the newsletter. I’d love to hear your thoughts about about our work and your interest in sharing housing. Click here to drop me a line.