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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Our CALD working group made this submission to highlight what older CALD communities need from the State Government's 10 year housing strategy.

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Our Autumn newsletter discussed the so called 'Big Housing Build', all the exciting projects happening at HAAG, and we also show off some of our autumn vegetable harvests.

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Some older people, particularly older women, are falling through the gaps of the housing system

Most older women experiencing homelessness have not been homeless before and have experienced ‘conventional’ housing histories throughout their life. This means they often
do not identify as being homeless or know where to turn for help. For this reason, the cohort of older women at risk of homelessness is often described as ‘invisible’.

HAAG, in partnership with Debbie Faulkner of the University of Adelaide (and now University of South Australia), has documented the homelessness trends of
older people in all states and territories over the last five years.

PDF icon Read the Parity Article by Gemma White, Kobi Maglen and Melis Cevik

National Alliance of Seniors for Housing, and Older Women Lost in Housing member Penny Leimhuis shares her experiences of homelessness.

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The public perception of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people is largely one of a young, affluent community. However, the reality is that within the LGBTI community, a large  share of LGBTI adults are older, of low-socioeconomic status and at risk of homelessness. LGBTI elders are more likely to live in poverty and experience homelessness, compared to the mainstream population due to both the complexity of their experiences and difficulty accessing services.

PDF icon Read the article by Rebecca Walton

The Ageing on the Edge New South Wales Forum is calling on the NSW Government to deliver 5,000 additional social housing dwellings, improve access of older people to appropriate social and affordable housing, establish a state-wide housing information and support service for older people, increase security of tenure for renters, extend the eviction moratorium during the COVID-19 pandemic and expand rent support to impacted tenants.

PDF icon Read the pre-budget submission

This project report outlines an early intervention homelessness prevention strategy of collaboration between aged care and housing sectors. It outlines HAAG's projects of delivering training to Aged Care Assessment Services and Regional Assessment Services staff about the risk factors for homelessness, the priority housing system and housing options for older people. The project aimed to create and strengthen referral pathways between the housing and aged care sectors, using existing assessment tools and referral systems to improve client outcomes.

PDF icon Read the project report