Wednesday May 24 2023
The Victorian Government’s efforts to address homelessness among older people, particularly women, are welcome, according to Housing for the Aged Action Group, but more needs to be done.
The Victorian Budget contained measures to address some of the challenges older people experience. There is $141 million to install air conditioners in high-rise public housing towers, which will improve the lives of many.
Also welcome is funding for planning initiatives to help support housing growth for those people most risk of homelessness including older women, measures aimed at addressing elder abuse, and to provide better residential aged care facilities. Additionally, there was new funding for a Pride in Ageing pilot which seeks to strengthen the health, wellbeing, social and economic outcomes of older LGBTIQ+ Victorians.
Analysis of the 2021 Census found that the number of Victorians over 55 who do not own their own home has increased by 200,000 over the past decade. Additionally over a quarter of people over 55 and renting privately in Victoria had gross household incomes of less than $40,000.
When older people on low incomes are renting they’re at increased risk of homelessness, Housing for the Aged Action Group Executive Officer Fiona York says.
“As the number of older renters continues to rise, that will only increase demand for public and community housing,” she says.
“It’s pleasing to see early intervention being funded for other cohorts because it works. We would have liked to see early intervention funding be expanded for older people. That would help programs like Home at Last prevent more older Victorians from experiencing homelessness in the first place.
“This Victorian Budget did not include any additional investment in public and community housing beyond what’s already been announced. If Victoria is to be a place where we can age well, then we have to invest in more public and community housing to ensure older people on low incomes have access to affordable housing options.
“That requires at least 60,000 public and community homes to be built by 2030 and adequately funding housing and homelessness services to better support older people in Victoria.”