The Ageing on the Edge - Older Persons Homelessness Prevention Project is extending HAAG’s work across Australia. In response to rapidly increasing housing problems facing older people, the project aims to raise awareness and improve services and housing for older people at risk of homelessness. More Information

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Action Updates

A new report by the Ageing on the Edge NSW Forum is advocating for the NSW Government to adopt the Home at Last program running in Victoria, which provides advice, support and advocacy for older people who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness. The report recommends a comprehensive approach based the tried and tested model in Victoria which has been operating since 2012.

Housing is critically important for physical and mental health, and general wellbeing of older people. With a decline in home ownership at retirement age, unprecedented increases in housing prices and a reduction in social and affordable housing stock in NSW, older people are experiencing significant housing challenges and are at increased risk of homelessness.

We are calling on the NSW Government to fund aservice to support older people to plan for their housing future and navigate the often-complex housing service system in NSW before they reach crisis point.

PDF icon Read the report here

Watch the launch videos

HAAG engaged accounting firm Ernst & Young to provide a cost benefit analysis of the Home at Last Service (HAL). The report shows that by connecting older people with safe, stable, long term
housing the HAL delivers $2.4 million in economic value each year. This value is provided through avoided societal costs including premature entry to aged care, crisis housing and health system costs, and improved wellbeing outcomes.

PDF icon Read the Cost Benefit Analysis Report

405,000 women aged 45 and over are at risk of homelessness in Australia. This is a national issue that is affecting women across the country in metropolitan, regional and rural settings. Multiple changes are required to our housing, retirement, and social services and income support systems to meaningfully address this issue. If we act now, we can reduce future social and economic costs and avoid placing additional pressure on already stretched homelessness and crisis response services.

PDF icon Read our Policy Recommendations

There is real momentum for change to address older person's homelessness across the country. Our voices are powerful. People speaking out and asking decision makers for action can shift government policy to improve housing outcomes for older people as a priority. This toolkit provides some tips for influencing your federal representatives

PDF icon Read the Toolkit

File Request a meeting with your MP


State by State Breakdown


What is the project aiming to do?

We want a better housing deal for older people!

The project is being conducted in light of recent research that is warning of rapidly increasing housing problems facing older people.

The three main factors are:

  • An ageing population
  • Reducing rates of home ownership
  • Significant increases in older people relying on rental accommodation to age-in-place in retirement. 

Women are particularly vulnerable due to low paid and interrupted careers, lower rates of savings and superannuation. Most people affected have lived largely conventional lives but have, for a range of reasons, not aspired to or attained home ownership by the time they reach retirement. They need access to affordable housing to enable them to enjoy housing stability and affordability to ensure they can successfully age-in-place.

The project will increase awareness of older persons housing issues across Australia, improve older persons’ access to housing and ensure better availability of services that can help older people in housing difficulty.

These are some of the trends that are causing alarm

  • More older people are renting in retirement

  • Between 2011 and 2031 the number of Australians aged 65 years and over will increase from 2.4 to 5.8 million and represent 25% of the population.

  • Between 2006-2011 people aged 55+ who own their home outright dropped from 63.8% to 60.5%. 
  • Between 1996 to 2007 public housing properties shrank by 32,000 while the population grew by 2.8 million people. 
  • In 2011, there were 173,000 Australians on public housing waiting lists.
  • Between 2006-2011 the numbers of people aged 55+ living in private rental housing increased by 44% to total 334,000.
  • The private rental market is insecure, expensive and poorly designed for ageing.

The facts paint a bleak scenario, but there are many opportunities for change. Whilst the solution is more affordable housing, the project also aims to improve access to current housing options for older people

  • There are many affordable housing options for older people in Australia. However, information and access points and procedures are poorly co-ordinated.
  • Accessing housing options needs a specialist service approach that understands the needs of older people. Older people are often facing homelessness for the first time in their lives and need assistance to navigate their way through the complexity of options to gain a housing solution.
  • There are great models of specialist housing support services in Australia that can help older people at risk of homelessness, but they are fragmented and need to be expanded. For example, the Home at Last service in Victoria provides a one-stop shop housing information and support service for older people but it is the only service of its type in Australia.
  • In most cases older people just need short term, one time, assistance to transition into affordable housing. They then generally go on to live happy productive lives with little ongoing support needed apart from standard home based aged care.
  • Governments can invest in this area knowing that minor, one-off expenditure to help and older person transition into secure housing is cost effective expenditure compared to the ongoing expensive provision of crisis housing, hospital care and premature entry into residential aged care accommodation.

So where is the project beginning?

Let’s get a clear picture of the current housing situation for older people.

The project has begun a process of collecting and summarising relevant research and mapping the current housing environment by asking these questions:

  • What housing options are currently available in Australia?
  • How do older people discover and access affordable housing?
  • What services exist to help older people find and navigate to affordable housing?

The answers will enable the project to identify current opportunities and gaps in housing and service provision and make recommendations for reform.

In addition to conducting research and mapping, the project aims to connect with and support current initiatives being developed across Australia. We have so far met a number of individuals and organisations that are passionate about change for older persons housing and we are available to assist with any work or lobbying that needs to be done. Other planned initiatives are:

  • A national website as a clearing house for research and to bring people together who care about older persons housing.
  • A National Older Persons Coalition on Housing (NOPCH). There is great interest across Australia to see reform of housing and related services for older people. We need a strong coalition to lobby the Commonwealth and State governments.

These and other activities will be promoted over the next year and beyond. If you would like to get involved with the project please get in touch

What is our vision for the future?

We want to see an Australian society that cares about the health and wellbeing of older people by ensuring that housing security, affordability and adaptability is a right not a privilege. The evidence shows that good housing provides an environment for good health, more disposable income and enables older people to contribute fully in society. This also means huge savings in avoidance of crisis housing and health services and premature entry into residential aged care accommodation.

Who is behind this Project?

Housing for the Aged Action Group (HAAG) and the University of Adelaide’s Centre for Housing, Urban and Regional Planning (CHURP) have been funded by The Wicking Trust over 5 years to conduct an Australia-wide project addressing the housing needs of older Australians. The Project is being co-ordinated by Jeff Fiedler at HAAG and Dr. Debbie Faulkner from CHURP.

The project is funded by The Wicking Trust as the project fits very well with one of the Trust’s priorities – assisting people to stay at home longer; including innovative models for supporting housing stability for older Australians at risk of homelessness. HAAG and CHURP are sincerely grateful to The Wicking Trust for providing our organisations the opportunity to conduct this important work.

Ageing on the Edge Resource Library

The Ageing on the Edge Research Library houses the growing body of evidence of older people living in housing stress and homelessness, and studies into the causes, effects and solutions to this problem. As the problem grows in all Australian states, as well as around the world, we need more research to further understand the complexity of  issues involved.

Visit the Library

Contact us

Kobi Maglen

Kobi is Housing for the Aged Action Group's National Development Worker

Phone: 03 9654 7389
Dr Debbie Faulkner
Debbie is a Research fellow at the University of South Australia