Open Hotels for Hidden Homeless, say HAAG


Housing for the Aged Action Group (HAAG) today called for tourist accommodation, in particular, self-contained units to be opened up for the “hidden homeless” who are affected by the coronavirus pandemic.


“Older women are particularly affected by not having an affordable place to call home.  Many rely on house-sitting to survive.  But these offers are quickly drying up.  Many others are couch surfing in over-crowded houses, where it’s impossible to practice social distancing or self-isolation,” said the group’s Chairperson, Phyll Williams. 


Older people are the most vulnerable to the coronavirus.  We must ensure that these “hidden homeless” are not put on the street.


 “With the borders closed to international visitors, there must be thousands of self-contained apartments lying empty, with tourism all but stopped.  We are calling on them to be opened up immediately to older people without safe and affordable housing, as a matter of priority,” said HAAG Executive Officer Fiona York.


All of HAAG’s clients are older people, and 85% come to us because of a housing crisis like an eviction; inappropriate housing like overcrowding and couch surfing; or because of housing unaffordability.  Sixty percent of our clients are older women.


“Rather than remaining vacant, self-contained tourist accommodation should be opened up to older people and charged at a rate of 25% of their income, for at least six months, or until the crisis subsides.   It’s our social responsibility to ensure safe housing for everyone at this time.”


“Long-term affordable housing is sorely lacking, and we continue to call for urgent investment in permanent housing options for older people, like public and social housing.  In the meantime, this pandemic crisis calls for extraordinary measures, and short-term options must be made immediately available, to keep older people safe,” Ms York concluded.


This follows HAAG’s call for an end to all evictions during the pandemic crisis.


Fiona York is available for further comment and can be reached on 0449554142 or at


You can sign a petition to the Prime Minister Scott Morrison here, from the Everybodys Home campaign, calling for using hotels for crisis accommodation and over crowding, and stopping evictions