Older Victorians have No place to call home

Housing for the Aged Action Group (HAAG) today released a report showing the extent of the housing crisis for older Victorians. Written by Dr Debbie Faulkner from the University of South Australia, it combines census data with data from Specialist Homelessness Services to closely examine the housing circumstances of people aged 55+ in Victoria.  

Key findings include:

  • While youth homelessness has decreased, homelessness for people aged 55 and older has shown the greatest increase of all age groups
  • Women aged 65-74 showed the highest increase in people experiencing homelessness, closely followed by women aged 75 -84 years old
  • In addition to those recorded as homeless at the last census, over 2400 people aged 55+ were in marginal housing (overcrowded, improvised dwellings and caravan parks)
  • Most people aged 55+ are coming to homelessness services due to financial difficulties and housing crisis, with only 3.8% due to medical issues (including mental health)
  • There are over 28000 households who are renting with at least one person over 65 in housing stress in Victoria, with 11000 in extreme housing stress.  
  • 25% of homeless people aged 55+ are in regional Victoria and there are 10000 households headed by an older renter in housing stress in regional Victoria

This report follows HAAG’s report last month into the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on older people in housing stress, which shows many older people struggling in private rental, unable to negotiate rent reductions and ineligible for additional support.  

“This pandemic has highlighted the importance of housing for public health.  It’s no coincidence that many of the virus “hotspots” are areas where rents are unaffordable and housing is overcrowded.  Our latest report shows that the very group that is most vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus are also the group facing the highest increases in homelessness, marginal housing and housing stress,” said co-author of the report, Kobi Maglen, National Project Worker.

“Never before has an investment in public and community housing been so sorely needed, both as an economic stimulus and as a long-term health solution for older Victorians,” said Ms Maglen.

Executive Officer Fiona York is appearing at the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into Homelessness on 2 July 2020 at 11.30am and will discuss the report findings in more detail.

The full report is available here.