The voices of mid-life women facing housing insecurity

Single, mid-life women in Australia have emerged as a group vulnerable to housing insecurity and having a high potential of homelessness in their old age (65+). Mid-life is used here to denote women aged between 40 and 65. The social changes that have altered relationship partnering, and the ageing of the baby boomer generation, means there has been significant growth in the number and proportion of single, mid-life and older women in the population. The mid-life period is increasingly a period of transition and disruption, reflecting adverse ‘critical life events’, such as divorce and separation; or never partnering; loss of housing equity; eviction; housing stress; casualisation of work or retrenchment; and health crises to name but some adversities commonly experienced. This study, reporting on five focus groups with 30 single women follows a survey, conducted in 2011, of 111 single Victorian women over the age of forty with or without children who did not believe they would own their housing outright when they retired.