Older persons housing session at the Victorian Homelessness Conference
HAAG was invited by the Council to Homeless Persons to co-ordinate an older persons homelessness session at the recent Victorian Homelessness Conference held on Monday 14 October.
The session was chaired by HAAG national development worker Jeff Fiedler and a panel that included two of HAAG’s current Committee of Management members Mary-Anne Wright, HAAG Peer Educator and Jodie Henry, Manager Strategy, Projects and Engagement at VMCH. Also on the panel was CEO of Wintringham Bryan Lipmann.
The session highlighted that homelessness is increasing for older people in Victoria greater than any other age group at 38% between the 2011 and 2016 census. Most worrying is that there has been a 62% increase in homelessness for women aged 75 an over and 72% increase for women aged 65-74. This is compounded by major problems in the private rental market with a 41% increase between 2011-2016 of people aged 65 and over paying unaffordable rents and 33% of those are paying more than 50% of their income in rent.
Mary-Anne spoke engagingly about the personal experience of being at risk of homelessness and Jodie put forward a compelling argument for increased funding for the Assistance with Care and Housing (ACH) Program.
The session was highly successful with a packed room and many people engaged in a half hour audience debate, demonstrating that concern about homelessness and housing poverty for older people is gaining wide interest and demands for government support and action.