The NSW Ageing on the Edge Reference Group met Thursday 24th August at the NSW Federation of Housing Associations. About 15 key agencies attended the meeting covering the spectrum from housing, homelessness, aged care, seniors rights, elder abuse, seniors issues and many other perspectives.
Women over 65 are one of the fastest growing groups of people experiencing homlessness. A recent episode of SBS insight (Women on the Edge 22nd August 2017) covered this issue and explored the experiences of women struggling to secure a home of thier own. Among these women was Doris Perkins, a client of HAAGs Home At Last service.
"On 8 June 2017, 24 representatives from resident advocacy groups, universities, industry, ombudsman schemes, government agencies and regulators met in Melbourne at an Experts’ Forum to discuss the future of retirement housing regulation in Victoria. We were also joined by academics and advocates from interstate jurisdictions.
The Experts’ Forum followed the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into the retirement housing sector, which released its final report on 7 March 2017. The Inquiry received 766 submissions and heard from 90 witnesses. The vast majority of evidence was received from residents.
The message to the Inquiry was clear: residents expect change. While many residents generally enjoy life in their choice of retirement housing, many are also frustrated by a system they see as geared in favour of operators. Some feel that instead of prioritising residents, operators are more concerned about satisfying shareholders.
Residents gave evidence to the Inquiry about what they see as unjustifiable exit fees, complex contracts and poor dispute resolution."
Eighty year old Retirement Village resident June Walkeden knows its tough paying bills on a pension, so she spends her free time hand making quilts to keep older people who have been at risk of homelessness warm.
Shocking new data from the ABS Census shows that 84% of single older* private renters in the Greater Melbourne region are in housing stress, and the majority (54%) are in severe stress paying more than half their income in rent, forcing many older people into abject poverty and ill health. Current trends suggest this situation is only going to get worse with an ageing population and more people expected to be retiring in rental housing in the future rather than home ownership.
Homelessness Week 2017 focuses on Innovation and Action and by the end of this week, a Melbourne-based Innovation Action Project will house its 600th older person. The Home at Last Service is the only one in Australia that focuses on preventing homelessness in over 55’s.