We aim to design, develop and trial new strategies for improving housing affordability and accessibility in Belfast.


We use small scale experimentation, led by a design approach in collaboration with residents, housing organisations, community stakeholders, councils and policymakers to bring new housing ideas to life.


[spare? share!]



Spare? Share! is a homeshare pilot project for Belfast. Homesharing is when someone who needs a small amount of help in their own home (householder) is paired with someone who requires housing (homesharer).


The homesharer provides support for about 6 hours every week in return for significantly lower rent than would otherwise be available.


Homesharing is seen all across the world. Homeshare UK and Ava Housing are two examples closer to home.


The pilot will take place over 3 months and we will provide you with regular support.


How does it work?


We first meet with people who are interested in being homesharers. At this point we want to know why you are interested in being involved and to find out a little more about you. We will also write a small profile and do police background checks so that we can pair you with a suitable householder.


When we find a match, we arrange the first meeting between you and the householder. If you agree to continuing at this stage, we will do a small training session and pre-evaluation with both of you before you can move in.


We will be in regular contact with you during the process should you wish to withdraw at any stage or to raise any issues. These face-to-face meetings or calls will make sure both parties are happy, well and safe.




Housesharing helps both parties in a number of ways. It allows the householder to stay in their own home, keep their independence and benefit from social interactions as well as help around the house. For the homesharer, it offers low-cost, sociable and safe accommodation.

How can I get involved?


If you are interested in being a homesharer, use the 'Contact Form' box below or email us and indicate:


(1) who you are - tell us a little bit about you; and,

(2) why you want to get involved.


From here we will arrange a meeting and assessment with one of our coordinators to go through the process with you.

Spare? Share! Application


[cafe clubs]

Cafe clubs are forums and events run to bring together new housing ideas to residents of Belfast. Civic engagement and citizens knowledge about alternative forms of housing are discussed and proposals brought forward through capacity building. 

Our first event is SMALL LIVING

We are looking at getting people together who would be interested in building a tiny house community in Belfast.




Small Living is an event about the tiny home movement as a form of self building and activism in the city. It will explore how tiny can address issues of homelessness, building cohesive communities, empowering residents and bringing people from Belfast together who are interested in the approach.


There will be a discussion and talks lead by Outside In & Dearbhaile Heaney from the Belfast Housing Lab. Stalls from Earth Made NI & Outside In.

Dearbhaile Heaney, a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellow who researched new housing models around the world including tiny home communities in America, and We Are Outside In, a pioneering one-for-one clothing company who help homeless people across the UK, will give short presentations about their research and work.

Tickets are free but make sure to register online.



[about us]

We aim to design, develop and trial new strategies for improving housing affordability and accessibility for young people in the private rental sector in Belfast. 

Rapid experimentation and testing is how we are able to quickly trial an idea with residents, community stakeholders and policymakers to assess potential impact while using limited resources. 

- - -

The Belfast Housing Lab is a project run in partnership between EastSide Partnership and The Holding Project. It is funded by the Nationwide Community Grant managed by the Community Foundation.

ESP IE.jpg
THP Logo (1).png
  • Twitter Social Icon
  • Facebook Social Icon

© 2023 by Belfast Housing Lab