Sunday, 21 April 2024
    Elderly homelessness continues to rise

    Elderly homelessness continues to rise

    The NSW Parliament Inquiry into Homelessness amongst older people aged over 55, instigated by Greens MLC and Central Coast resident, Abigail Boyd, has released its report, delivering 40 substantive recommendations, Coast Community.

    With older women the fastest-growing cohort of people experiencing homelessness, the report is the first of its kind in Australia investigating the unique experiences and drivers of homelessness among older people.

    Action on Housing for Older Women, a support and advice group on the Coast, has welcomed the findings.

    Convenor Deb Tipper said while the recommendations in the report were welcome and comprehensive, the proof would be in the reaction of the State Government, expected to be announced in January next year.

    “It’s a national crisis, with an increase of 30 per cent in older women facing homelessness between 2011 and 2016, but I believe the numbers on the Central Coast are higher than the national average,” she said.

    “The situation here is exacerbated by the fact that we have high numbers of the population who are older and on low incomes and high incidences of domestic and family violence and elder abuse.

    “And many older women hide their situation, with shame a big issue; they are sleeping on couches, staying with friends or relatives.

    “All of these factors suggest a higher increase in homelessness numbers on the Coast.”

    Tipper said the Coast was the only region which hosted a hearing for the inquiry and she was hopeful that would lead to recognition of the region’s specific problems and priority being given to the area.

    “I think the report’s findings and recommendations show that the inquiry heard really well the issues raised,” she said.

    “What will be interesting is how the government responds.”

    “If some of the recommendations are adopted, they will be long-term projects.

    “I think it’s important that the report noted that not only was there a need for more housing, but it has to be targeted.

    “The traditional refuge model does not work for older women.”

    “Housing needs to be designed to be safe and secure but also cater for them to be able to have their grandchildren come to stay.”

    Tipper said older women often found themselves in dire housing situations due to the fact they had traditionally been primary carers to children and older people, working in casual or part-time situations, with poor access to superannuation.


    Report on homelessness among older people released (Coast Community)


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