Tuesday, 16 April 2024
    Elderly women priced out of homes

    Elderly women priced out of homes

    After 25 years in her Melbourne rental, Louise Wilksch has just two more weeks to find a new home, The Guardian reports.

    The 71-year-old was sent an eviction letter at the start of August asking her to leave her Brunswick East bungalow – and she says it has “hit me for six”.

    “I’m not complaining, the rent hasn’t gone up in that time – I’m paying $900 a month. I’ve been lucky – but now suddenly I’m not lucky.

    “When I recovered from getting the notice, I looked at the commercial rental market, and it was obvious there was no way I was going to find anything.”

    Louise is one of a growing number of Australians over 55 who are facing insecure housing situations.

    About 19,300 Australians aged 55 or over are currently homeless, and 440,000 older households will be unable to find or afford suitable housing by 2031, research from the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute shows.

    Fiona York, the executive officer of Housing for the Aged Action Group (HAAG) says this number could increase.

    “Everyone knows that Australia’s population is ageing,” York says. “But there are disproportionate increases in insecure housing – it is growing faster than just the population growth.”

    HAAG’s research shows the total number of people aged 55 or over with a mortgage debt is 1,504,793, a 63% increase in 10 years.

    There’s a decrease in older people living in community and public housing, meaning more – almost 700,000 people – are in private rentals. Of those, only 19% are paying 30% or less of their income on rent.

    “It is the least secure housing tenure,” York says.

    “The entirety of the Australian retirement system is built on the assumption or the expectation that older people will be owning a home by the time they’re retired,” she says.


    Louise lived in her rental for 25 years. Now at 71 she needs to find a new home (The Guardian)


    Ellen Smith/The Guardian