Housing is critically important for physical and mental health, and general wellbeing of older people. With a decline in home ownership at retirement age, unprecedented increases in housing prices and a reduction in social and affordable housing stock in NSW, older people are experiencing significant housing challenges and are at increased risk of homelessness.

We are calling on the NSW Government to fund aservice to support older people to plan for their housing future and navigate the often-complex housing service system in NSW before they reach crisis point.

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HAAG engaged accounting firm Ernst & Young to provide a cost benefit analysis of the Home at Last Service (HAL). The report shows that by connecting older people with safe, stable, long term
housing the HAL delivers $2.4 million in economic value each year. This value is provided through avoided societal costs including premature entry to aged care, crisis housing and health system costs, and improved wellbeing outcomes.

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Our Annual Report reports on the array of services, campaigns and advocacy that make up everything under the banner of 'HAAG'. We've attempted to show how HAAGs strategic pillars of 'Changing Lives', 'Changing the System', 'Honouring our Heritage', and 'Strengthening our Organisation' overlap and help us create a full, wrap around service for all older tenants.

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PDF icon HAAG's Audited Financial Statement

405,000 women aged 45 and over are at risk of homelessness in Australia. This is a national issue that is affecting women across the country in metropolitan, regional and rural settings. Multiple changes are required to our housing, retirement, and social services and income support systems to meaningfully address this issue. If we act now, we can reduce future social and economic costs and avoid placing additional pressure on already stretched homelessness and crisis response services.

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In September 2021, Housing for the Aged Action Group and University of Melbourne hosted an online event, At Risk 2021: Older women facing homelessness in Australia, from awareness to action. This report back from the forum examines the issues raised and outcomes from the event.

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The Federal Government must Incorporate Mandatory Inclusionary Zoning, fund targeted measures to increase affordable housing stock earmarked for older people, and incrementally remove Capital Gains Tax and Negative Gearing to create an equitable housing market.

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We have grave concerns about the directions outlined in this discussion paper for the future of public housing, and the potential impact on potential and current social housing tenants. The implication that the private sector or non-government sector are better at managing housing, more efficient or innovative does not align with the experiences in other jurisdictions, yet the paper is peppered with these value assumptions.

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We support the stated aim to “provide advice on harmonising resident rights under public and community housing and options to ensure effective complaints management” however, we are concerned that the directions in the consultation paper appear to erode tenant rights, by using current community housing as the benchmark, rather than public housing. We support strengthened tenancy protections for older tenants in community housing, rather than diminishing of protections for older tenants in public housing.

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This is the full recording of the At Risk Forum on Older Women and Homelessness held on September 17th. The playlist includes the full introduction and political panel, breakout sessions on Family Violence, Local-Scale Solutions, Influencing for Change, as well as the conclusion of the forum. Skip through to find the breakout sessions of interest to you.

In this Spring edition we cover our new online forum, discuss our participation strategy, accreditation, and of course review the latest movie about older people's housing.

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Our submission calls on the NSW Government to  fund a specialist older person’s housing information and support service, lower the priority age for social housing eligibilityand build  5,000 social and affordable homes per year for 10 years, to address the older peoples housing crisis.

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The inadequacy of social security payments can have significant negative physical and mental health impacts on people and forces them to rely on community services that provide mental health, housing and homelessness, and other similar services. Increasing these payments would result in people being able to manage their expenses and, as a result, alleviate pressure on community services that are already struggling to meet the community needs.

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Across sectors, much of the legislation and policies that are meant to monitor or regulate the services provided to older people living in retirement housing options do not offer clear or adequate protections or enforcements. Given this, HAAG is in support of the Panel’s vision to provide consumers of Embedded (electricity) Networks equal protections, market access and treatment to on-market customers.

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We are encouraged to see the government’s interest in better understanding and addressing the economic inequalities that women experience. However, it is disappointing to note that focus of this inquiry on economic equity for women fails to include equal access to housing as a core issue, even though safe, affordable and adequate housing underpins all other aspects of life, in particular women’s economic independence and security.

PDF icon Read our submission to the inquiry here

Older women are a fast-growing cohort of people experiencing homelessness, as found by the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into homelessness, however the unique housing needs of older people are barely acknowledged in this consultation paper, or other related policy documents including the 10 Year Strategy. HAAG’s responses to the consultation questions reflect the needs of this vulnerable and largely silenced cohort.

PDF icon Read the submission here

Our winter edition covers the Victorian Budget and 10 year housing strategy, our pilot project in Shepparton, Nomadland, along with all the goings on at HAAG.

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The options set out in this paper show a serious lack of understanding of the issues raised by residents and other stakeholder about retirement village residencies. Retirement villages are too often unfair and exploitative. The Options Paper proceeds as if the problems were only that residents mistakenly perceived villages to be unfair and exploitative, or as if more information would resolve resident concerns. This is not the case. Again and again, the options paper proposes more information rather than increased protections for residents. This is a persistent failure of the options paper, and if the government proceeds on this basis the reform process will fail current and future retirement village residents.

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The current Retirement Villages Act Review is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to overhaul the regulatory framework for retirement villages in Victoria. We have the chance to future-proof this legislation, and lead the nation in terms of retirement village regulation, which will enhance resident confidence in the sector.

We see the Options Paper as a non-definitive list of ways we can improve retirement village regulation in Victoria. We have set out our shared vision and recommendations for the review in this joint submission with the Consumer Action Law Centre, Council on the The Ageing Victoria, and Residents of Retirement Villages Victoria.

PDF icon Read our joint submission here

Can you identify an older person experiencing or at risk of homelessness, or know what aged care services are available to them?

In OPAN's live webinar on March 30 2021 we discussed how aged care workers can support older people experiencing or at risk of homelessness. HAAG joined this panel of experts explored how to identify homelessness among older people, an overview of existing support services, service access barriers and solutions and supporting homeless or at-risk individuals to access services.

Our submission covers all areas of HAAGs work in relation to the Victorian Governments 10 year affordable housing strategy and 'Big Housing Build'.
We recommend that the Government must take steps to produce more housing that is suitable for and available to older people at risk of homelessness. This could mean reinvestment in the Independent Living Unit (ILU) sector, changes to social housing eligibility, further increases in housing stock, targeted shared equity initiatives and/or support to scale pilot projects.

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