Why the Federal Government must include older people in its National Housing and Homelessness Plan

What is the National Housing and Homelessness Plan?

The new Federal Government has committed to developing a National Housing and Homelessness Plan with the support and assistance of key stakeholders, including States and Territories, local government, not-for-profit and social organisations, industry bodies, superannuation funds and other experts in housing, finance and urban development.
The plan will set out the key short, medium and long-term reforms needed to make it easier for Australians to buy a home, find a home to rent, and put a roof over the heads of people in Australia experiencing homelessness.

What does HAAG want from the National Housing and Homelessness Plan?

•    Genuine consultation and engagement of older people with lived experience of housing stress and homelessness in the design, development and implementation of the plan.
•    Ambitious targets and measures related to housing outcomes and wellbeing.
•    A review of all housing policy levers, including taxation policies.
•    A broad examination of policies outside of the housing and homelessness portfolio which impact on older people’s ability to access a home. This includes aged care, the National Plan to End Violence against Women and Girls, Australia’s retirement system, and welfare safety net.
•    For the plan to ensure housing policies meet the needs of older people. For example: it’s not enough for older people to be eligible for shared equity schemes, those schemes must also address the challenges older people face when securing a loan.
•    The plan should review policy with gender and age discrimination in mind, to reduce their impact on housing outcomes.

What does genuine consultation and engagement with older people look like?

  • Establishing a lived experience advisory group to guide the engagement strategy, survey design, and facilitate the participation of older people more broadly.
  • There are a number of ways to reach older people with lived experience:
  • Facilitated online and in-person discussions with older people from communities including:
  1. Culturally and linguistically diverse
  2. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  3. LGTBIQ+
  4. Women
  5. People with disability
  6. People living in regional and remote areas
  • Paid participation to contribute to the design of the plan.
  • Options for telephone or paper-based submissions to ensure those who are uncomfortable contributing online are heard.
  • Working with and through trusted organisations and networks, such as HAAG, who have a history of co-design with older people.

What do older people need from housing policy?

As a member-based organisation with over 30 years of experience advocating for housing justice for older people, HAAG understands that older people are looking for a range of public, social, and affordable housing options, security of tenure and the potential to “age-in-place” in locations that allow for maintenance of social networks, access to transport, health and other services, employment for those who have not yet retired, and green space. They require specialised community education, housing information and support to navigate the housing and aged care systems, including access to interpreters and resources in languages other than English.