So much! The role is a tricky one because our wonderful Morgan is both a housemate and a mentor. She is a housemate in simple ways – being cordial and friendly and interacting with the other residents on a day-to-day basis just as anyone in shared living arrangement would do. But within one short conversation, her housemate role shifts to a mentoring role and then back again.
As a mentor, Morgan is committed to spending 10-12 hours a week providing life-skills mentoring and coaching to the residents. During this time, she helps them plan and cook 3 communal meals a week. She plans and runs a weekly house meeting to discuss issues and shared chores and she keeps an eye on the house to ensure that systems are working smoothly. For example, she checks that chores are done, calendars are updated, laundry schedules are adhered to and communication among housemates is good. She provides guidance and instruction during health or safety issues or emergencies and checks-in (via text messaging) with the residents if they are out at night to be sure they return home safely.
We had initially hoped that 10-12 hours a week would encompass other individual support needs but we have instead decided to contract and pay for those separately. For example, Morgan is helping Maddie to develop a system of budgeting and money management. They have now set up regular meetings to work one-on-one on that.
The three families split the cost of Morgan’s rent and utilities, including internet. In addition, we share the cost of her groceries for the three communal meals. She also earns an hourly rate for any extra contracted mentoring, but sorting out the distinctions between housemate and house mentor is probably her biggest administrative challenge!