Today, the Hon. Anna Bligh, CEO YWCA NSW and Dr Maree Petersen, University of Queensland launched the report "Older women’s pathways out of homelessness in Australia".
There is strong anecdotal evidence that a growing group of people becoming homeless in Australia are women aged over 55.
The Mercy Foundation commissioned a research report from the University of Queensland to investigate this issue and look at possible solutions to the problem. Dr Maree Petersen and Dr Cameron Parsell undertook the research. Dr Petersen will be present at the official launch.
The largest proportion of older women presenting with housing crisis in Australia have led conventional lives, and rented whilst working and raising a family. Few have previously had involvement with welfare and other support systems.
Older women’s risk of homelessness can be lessened by the way welfare and housing systems work and interact with older women. However, there remains a lack of evidence which considers issues of specific concern to older women. Many of whom may be homeless for the first time, primarily because of poverty and unaffordable housing.
There is a lack of attention to older women’s homelessness internationally despite recognition of demographic changes, increasing numbers of older people living in poverty, as well as the ageing of people who are already homeless.
A range of policy, service and housing responses are needed. These include rapid re-housing as well as supportive housing and aged care housing options.