Support for older people in rental stress welcome in Victorian Budget

Housing for the Aged Action Group will be able to support more older people struggling with high rents thanks to a new $7.8 million funding initiative included in the latest Victorian Budget.

The Rental Stress Support Package provides several organisations, including HAAG, with funding over the next three years to meet increased demand for support from renters doing it tough.

Research commissioned by Housing for the Aged Action Group (HAAG) and undertaken by researchers at Swinburne University of Technology, Western Sydney University and Curtin University found there are more than 80,000 Victorians over the age of 55 who are renting and living in a lower income household. Women were overrepresented in these lower income households.

HAAG Executive Officer Fiona York says it’s an important acknowledgement that the housing crisis is impacting older Victorians too.

“As rents have risen we’ve seen more and more older people calling our services seeking support,” York says.

“There are thousands of older Victorians who are being forced to rely on the private rental market and struggling.

“Australia’s dysfunctional housing market locks many people out of affordable housing. Too often the issue is framed as a battle of the generations and the older people among this group are forgotten.”

The budget included a number of other measures which will support older people impacted by the housing crisis including: funding to modernize public housing maintenance systems and a standalone tax emption for social housing and emergency housing.

“We are hopeful that the actual maintenance of public housing, not just the systems, will be properly funded too. We know of many older people in public housing waiting for repairs,” York says.

“What is needed most is more investment in social housing so older people on low incomes have access to safe, stable, affordable accommodation and don’t have to wait years to get it.”