Aged Care Homelessness Action Plan

Background to the Homelessness Action Plan project

In December 2018, the Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care, the Hon Ken Wyatt AM MP, commissioned an action plan under the Aged Care Diversity Framework for older and prematurely aged people experiencing, or at risk of homelessness (the Homelessness Action Plan).  This is part of the work towards realising the Aged Care Diversity Framework’s vision that “All older people experience a high-quality aged care system that ensures equitable access and outcomes and embraces their diverse characteristics and life experiences”.  The Diversity Sub-group of the Aged Care Sector Committee is responsible for development of the Homelessness Action Plan.  Three other action plans have already been developed - the Cultural and Linguistic Diversity Action Plan, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Action Plan and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Action Plan.  They are all available here.

Housing for the Aged Action Group (HAAG) was commissioned to develop the Homelessness Action Plan.  A reference group was formed, made up of representatives from the housing and homelessness sector and the aged care sector, to inform the development of the action plan.

Who is the Homelessness Action Plan for?

The Aged care Homeslessness Action Plan aims to improve aged care for people who have:
-  Rented a home with no guarantee they can stay there as long as they like and who experience barriers to being able to secure a new rental and/or move to a new rental
-  Rented a home that is too expensive, in poor condition or not suitable for ageing
-  Lived with friends or family because no other options available or suitable
-  Lived somewhere that was not safe and secure, for example due to threats and violence
-  Lived in housing that is meant to be temporary, like a boarding house, shelter or hostel
-  Lived in a house that was overcrowded and privacy an issue
-  Lived in housing that was inadequate, like a caravan
-  Not had a place to stay and slept in a car or on the streets

It is designed for service providers, older people and government to use.  

How we developed the Homelessness Action Plan

HAAG adopted a rigorous, transparent, fair and evidence-based approach to the development of the Aged Care Homelessness Action Plan.  Consultation with a wide range of stakeholders occurred through a series of publicly available on-line surveys, individual telephone interviews with managers of specialist homelessness aged care services and site visits to specialist homelessness aged care services throughout Australia.  For the purposes of the development of the Homelessness Action Plan, “Specialist homelessness aged care services” were defined as:
- Assistance with Care and Housing (ACH) services,
- residential aged care providers receiving the Homeless Supplement, and
- Access and Support workers  specialising in supporting older and prematurely aged people who are experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness.

The consultation with stakeholders included:

  • an online survey completed by 488 people, including 200 service providers, from every State and Territory
  • an online survey for older people, completed by 122 people
  • 45 site visits to services and facilities in every State and Territory
  • 25 interviews with Managers
  • a Delphi survey for the draft actions to be "tested" on the sector, completed by 40 consumers and 71 service providers, with the action items receiving no less than 85% support.

The draft Action Plans:

Based on these consultations, three draft action plans have been developed (click on link to access a PDF of each draft):

  1. Draft Provider Homelessness Action Plan.  Three levels of actions are presented in this document: 1. Foundational Actions, 2. Moving Forward, and 3. Leading the Way.  The “Leading the Way” actions include specific actions for specialist homelessness aged care services.
  2. Draft Consumer Homlessness Action Plan.  This one-page document is intended both to help people who have experienced, or been at risk of, homelessness express their needs when speaking with aged care providers, and as a resource to support people working in aged care to understand the perspectives of people who have experienced, or been at risk of, homelessness.
  3. Draft Action Plan for the Australian Government proposed by those consulted This document outlines actions for the Australian Government that those consulted identified as needing to be implemented in order for aged care providers to be able to meet the needs of people who have experienced, or been at risk of, homelessness.

About the Reference Group

The members of the Reference Group were self-nominated at a Think Tank in August 2018 hosted by the Diversity Sub-group to commence the development of the Homelessness Action Plan and are:

  • Dr Debbie Faulkner, University of Adelaide
  • Fiona York (replacing Jeff Fiedler), Action Plan Project Supervisor, Housing for the Aged Action Group and the Aged Care Sector Committee Diversity Sub-group
  • Michael Fotheringham, Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute
  • Digby Hughes, Homelessness Australia
  • Bryan Lipmann, Wintringham and the Aged Care Sector Committee Diversity Sub-group
  • Cherylee Treloar, Footprints
  • Ms Mary Patetsos from the Federation of Ethnic Communities Council and the Aged Care Sector Committee Diversity Sub-group

Next steps:

The draft Homelessness Action Plans were endorsed by the Aged Care Sector Committee at their December 2019 meeting. Read the communique here.

We hope to launch the Homelessness Action plans in early 2020.