Challenges

Growing old with foreign fellas

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Background

Population in most of the developed world is growing old, several causes are linked to this fact, longer life expectancy, desire to pursue a career instead of having children, economic challenges of supporting a family. 

On the othert part of the world people is struggling to make a living with all the social, political and economic deficiencies present on the less developed countries. Some of us have had opportunities to study or live abroad and other are using all means to live in a better environment, including becoming refugees or homeless in foreign countries with better social systems.

Currently senior citizens who live alone struggle to maintain their current household in shape, some lack the energy to fix a pipe, others cannot afford a plumber, some others have difficulty to move around, cook or clean. Most of them just feel lonely.

Housing agencies have stoped building or holding social housing, most of the current offer is managed by private corporations. In such context, which should be the mission of Housing Authorities and public agencies?

Proposal

Housing agencies and authorities need to shift their role from a housing providing system to a housing management system. In this particular issue the idea is for them to become a matchmaking institution.

The proposal is for part of the housing public offices become matchmaking facilities where senior citizens can host foreign families, students, refugees or young professionals who are in search for a place to live.

A senior citizen with the help of the local government or housing entity can create an open position for someone who is looking for a place to stay, it can be a web based system or a physical place. It can be profiled to the owners needs, for example the guests will be required to clean the house daily or prepare food for all. Guests can also do requirements, for example, hosts need to teach local language or share one hour of conversational time about history.

The proposed new approach will require several actions, for example, some of the houses around the cities are under used and have free space to host other families. However regulations in place not always allow it, because they are trying to guarantee a minimum space per person. 

The goal besides creating circularity in housing is to encourage community building, promote local values, facilitate integration of migrants and provide senior citizens a healthier environment to live.

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