During this time of Covid-19, it might make you wonder is living with a housemate safe? In some respects, I consider myself lucky I live alone. Why do I say this when we at Sharing Housing advocate the health and financial benefits of having a home-mate and sharing our space? Because during this critical time in history, I’ve heard of living situations where actions are at odds with the given life-saving guidelines.
You’re Careful, but Your Housemate is Careless
If you’ve been following the news, you’ve most likely seen individuals who are protesting the guidelines of safe distancing and self-isolation. Many people are concerned about the economy, and believe that it’s time to start reopening businesses. They say we should relax the guidelines, but instead of making phone-calls, writing emails to their representatives, they go out and protest, which, inevitably will spread the virus.
But let’s drill this down a bit to a home-sharing environment. What if you’re careful, but your housemate is careless when it comes to hygiene and tends to ignore the six-feet rule when they’re outside, they don’t wash their hands often, or cover their mouths when they cough? How do you express your concern without coming across as overly paranoid about germs or furious that they can be so relaxed?
We Can’t Stress Enough…
One key factor that we can’t stress enough is having an honest conversation with potential housemates during the interview process.
A year ago the likelihood of having a conversation about social-distancing and wiping down groceries would have been a strange exchange. Most of us would have viewed it as someone who was phobic, potentially problematic, someone who might be classified as a control freak, but let’s be honest, times have changed and we need to keep healthy and safe.
Eventually this pandemic will end and we’ll be able to carry on, yet the specter of another pandemic occurring is a very real concern. Will we have learned to follow the recommended guidelines to keep safe or will we ignore them? And this is why I, personally, would ask a potential house-mate what they did during this time of lock down. Their answers are important.
If you’re unsure how to approach this topic or any other dicey topic, or simply what questions to ask in general, we offer an interview guide and a number of free downloads that will help you through the process of finding a home-mate.
What’s Right for You and Feeling Safe
There’s no question that shared housing can benefit your health in so many ways, but don’t be careless and just move in with someone because they seem nice or their home is your dream house. Step away, be objective, and ask yourself if you would feel safe and be healthy with this potential home-mate.
Read more about creating a safe and positive shared housing environment: Safe Haven—Providing a Home When Needed , Experiences of Home Sharing (and What Makes it Work), Broadening Your Circle.
I was living in my van in a persons drive way and had access to hydro and fresh water. I moved into a shared house with different age people. I am very careful with hygiene and don’t share my dishes or pans. No one here cleans much and there is a lot of turnover. I think i should move on again. Landlord lives elsewhere and i am 71 so really worried about getting sick. This city has very few cases but the others here are not careful and i am vulnerable. I have many health issues too
Sounds like you might want to move… maybe you can find something that will feel more stable?