National Older Women’s Housing and Homelessness Group

Building on the work the Mercy Foundation has done in NSW over the past 3 years to address state based issues related to growing numbers of older women experiencing homelessness, in late 2017 the Mercy Foundation brought together a national group to examine the same concerns.

This new national working group is made up of policy leaders, expert practitioners and senior academic researchers from every State and the ACT. The group aims to identify, consider, advocate and develop national policy solutions to address the needs of older women living with housing insecurity and homelessness in Australia.

The working group which the Mercy Foundation previously co-facilitated in NSW concentrated on relevant state concerns and policy matters – such as social housing and state funded services. Some of the achievements of that group included a clear policy and project agenda which was launched by the then Housing Minister – with a number of policies having been introduced and reviewed as a result of that document. More recently, the NSW government has announced that Phase 2 of its social and affordable housing fund will specifically target older women.

The national group will concentrate on policy and program matters that are Federal in nature – such as tax and superannuation policy, income support, national housing strategy and aged care programs. Like the NSW group, the national group will be developing a clear agenda of action and identify a number of advocacy and project outcomes that it will aim to achieve over the next 18 months.

Members of the working group include the CEOs of Women’s Housing Company, Women’s Property Initiatives, Home at Last, Shelter SA, YWCA Canberra, Equality Rights Alliance, Micah Projects and the Mercy Foundation. Also on the group are two academics, from the University of Queensland and the University of Adelaide as well as two aged care and health system experts from Western Australia.