The Ageing on the Edge project has been working with Council in the Ageing WA and a reference group of key WA agencies and individuals to produce a report on the rapidly growing housing problems facing many older people in WA. The report, "One Rent Increase from Disaster", was released in August 2019. As well as highlighting the issues, the report also identifies solutions to address the vital housing and service responses needed to help older people in WA who are struggling in poverty, hardship and at constant risk of homelessness.
This research found that there are many older renters struggling to the extent that they are doing without the daily essentials of life such as food, heating, medications and aged care services to ensure they keep a roof over theirhead. They are a hidden group that are putting up with enormous hardship while constantly under the stress of being, as an older person interviewed stated, "one rent increase from disaster". Older women who have experienced gender disadvantage due to discrimination and lower levels of savings are particularly impacted.
The WA Government is currently developing affordable housing and homelessness strategies. We strongly urge the government to incorporate the key recommendations in this report into these strategies. The Federal Government must also support the WA Government in these initiatives as it has a central role in the funding and provision of affordable housing and responses to homelessness.
An initial visit to WA in January 2018 established a number of key contacts in that state as an introduction to the project there. The visit coincided with discussions with the Housing Authority in WA that is developing a Seniors Housing Strategy and we provided a submission to the Strategy. A number of key organisations were contacted such as Shelter WA and St. Barts and some valuable contacts were made with academics conducting research on older people at Edith Cowan University, the University of WA and the Curtin University.
Ageing on the Edge is a project of Housing for the Aged Action Group, University of Adelaide and the Wicking Trust