Press Releases

On the 13th of January, Minister for Housing Martin Foley announced that the State Government would invest $45 million in housing services and housing, to tackle the state’s homelessness crisis. While Housing for the Aged Action Group (HAAG) welcomes the focus on early intervention and pathways into long term housing, it would like to see more money invested into housing itself, so that services can offer long-term, rather than band aid solutions.

Since its announcement in February 2016, HAAG members have been contributing to the Victorian Parliament’s Inquiry into the Retirement Housing Sector. HAAG members were also involved in campaigning for the inquiry itself, so much work has gone into this area of policy development.

HAAG’s extensive submissions to the inquiry were based on the work and knowledge of our ILU and CARPAV working groups over many years. Individual members and staff presented at the oral hearings, sharing their personal experiences. The Government received nearly 800 written submissions and oral testimonies over a three month period.

In March 2017, the government released the Inquiry’s report, which made 15 recommendations to improve the sector.

See our response here 

Housing for the Aged Action Group, a Victorian organisation working to improve conditions for older renters, welcomed news of major changes to the state’s rental laws over the weekend. The Andrews Government will ban no-reason notices to vacate, allow tenants to keep pets, and introduce a Residential Tenancies Commissioner to make it easier to resolve minor disputes.

A report released today based on the latest 2016 Census is showing a rapidly rising number of older people at risk of homelessness in South Australia. This research, a partnership between Housing for the Aged Action Group (HAAG) and The University of Adelaide’s Centre for Housing Urban and Regional Planning (CHURP) and funded by The Wicking Trust, has found that a significant number of older people in the private rental market in South Australia are living in housing poverty. 
Read the Summary Report Read the Full Report

"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."

See the full report here

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.

Four corners ran a fantastic episode last night on dodgy retirement housing opporator AVEO, and other articles have recently been published that expose many of the problems residents of retirement housing have been facing for a long time – complicated contracts, unfair fees and issues with management. Unfortunately, these are not isolated problems with one operator, they occur across the whole of the retirement housing industry, and we must continnue to push for reform.

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May 2017

Housing for the Aged Action Group (HAAG) says that the Treasurers budget falls short of delivering housing security for older Australians.
‘The measures put in place in this budget seem to cater mostly for middle-class, income earners and neglect the needs of the most vulnerable; those on government pensions’ says co-manager at HAAG Fiona York.

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