Preventing first time homelessness amongst older Australians
This study examines older people’s homelessness in Australia, with a particular focus on the experience of becoming homeless for the first time in later life. The study seeks to gain a national understanding of older people’s homelessness and to inform prevention strategies by drawing on interventions undertaken in a range of geographically and socially diverse locations across Australia.The research is partnered with Assistance with Care and Housing for the Aged (ACHA) agencies throughout Australia. This program, currently funded through the federal Department of Social Services (previously funded by the Department of Health and Ageing) and operating through community and government agencies, is purposively designed to assist disadvantaged older people who are at risk of homelessness or are homeless. It aims to facilitate their ongoing independence within the community by facilitating access to appropriate and affordable housing and by linking older people where appropriate to community care and support services. This practice model corresponds strongly to contemporary homelessness prevention practice. The paradigm of housing alongside appropriate supports underpins the ACHA program and thus provides not only a specialised focus on vulnerable older people but also a link with contemporary homelessness initiatives.