Mutual Appreciation: A Social Innovation Think Piece

A triple threat is looming in relation to ageing in Australia, one with particular implications for women. While access to secure and affordable housing can mean the difference between poverty and a decent life in older age, full home ownership in Australia is increasingly a privilege. As we age, housing takes on particular significance. For women in their 50s and over, increased barriers to earning and growing support needs can mean access to secure housing becomes all the more important. At the same time as the commodification of housing has bloomed, Australia has seen the scaling back of direct public provision. The number of single older women experiencing housing stress has grown exponentially over the past ten years. Many women have never owned property, others are forced into private rental as a result of family breakdown and sole parenting, or family violence – a leading cause of women’s homelessness. We see the impact of the investor paradigm of housing in the startling statistic that women over 55 are now the fastest growing cohort experiencing homelessness.