Australian Senate Economics References Committee Inquiry into Affordable Housing
Submission by Housing for the Aged Action Group Inc.
Prepared by Jeff Fiedler, Manager, Education & Housing Advice March 2014
The Commonwealth Government needs to develop a strategic plan to address the current and future housing needs of older people on low incomes
Housing for the Aged Action Group is very concerned about the plight of older Australians who have not attained, or aspired to own a home by the time they reach retirement age. There is a chronic shortage of low cost rental housing in Victoria that is forcing many older people into dire circumstances of housing poverty and the constant threat of homelessness. This is a political, planning and funding issue that must be addressed now if we are to avoid the rapid expansion of an already chronic problem faced by many older Australians. We need an all-party commitment from the Commonwealth parliament to a policy platform that is based on the premise that all older people have the right to be housed well. This is emphasised in light of the established trend of lower rates of homes ownership amongst older people, higher numbers of retirees with mortgages and more people renting. It must also be recognised that housing is the fundamental cornerstone to ensuring that all older people have a right to age-in-place. In other words, housing must also be seen as a vital component of the aged care system. To begin to achieve these objectives Australia needs to develop an Older Persons Housing Strategy, as has been established and implemented in Great Britain with its blueprint called LIFETIME HOMES, LIFETIME NEIGHBOURHOODS, A National Strategy for Housing in an Ageing Society 1. A similar strategy is needed to plan for Australia’s rapidly ageing population over the next 20 years. To ensure that a plan is well integrated with all other services that impact on the lives of older people, the Commonwealth government must work with all state governments to attain the best possible outcomes.
1 Lifetime Homes, Lifetime Neighbourhoods, A national strategy for housing in an ageing society.
Department for Communities and Local Government, London Feb. 2008