NEW REPORT: HOW TO SAVE OLDER WOMEN FROM HOMELESSNESS
Monday, 14 March 2022
A new report released has shone a light on the fastest-growing cohort of homeless Australians:
Women over the age of 55.
With a foreword by the Age Discrimination Commissioner Dr Kay Patterson AO, the report by
the Retirement Living Council provides a set of policy solutions to stop more older women
slipping into homelessness.
Retirement Living Council President Marie-Louise MacDonald said there is an urgent need to
support older women in the “missing middle.”
“These are women who have done everything that society has asked of them, yet they are in
housing limbo because they have too much money to qualify for social housing and too little
money to buy a house,” Ms MacDonald said.
“Their age is often a big barrier to securing a housing loan, and the pressure of paying rent
quickly eats into modest retirement savings.
“These are women who do not deserve to be staring down the barrel of homelessness at this
point in their lives.
“The suite of policy recommendations outlined in this landmark report, aims to provide
practical solutions for governments, which would help more older Australian women find safe,
secure, long-term homes,” she said.
The report provides eight key recommendations including introducing support services, rolling
out awareness campaigns, developing a portal for pre-listings that would give eligible people
priority access before properties hit the market, and introducing a dedicated women’s’ housing
It also recommends making more retirement living properties eligible for Commonwealth
Rental Assistance, introducing government-backed loans to help eligible people enter
retirement communities, allowing early access to superannuation to help older women secure
retirement living housing, as well as new incentives and grants to support innovative
retirement living projects.
“We know as many as 240,000 women aged over 55 are considered at risk of homelessness,”
Ms MacDonald said.
"Retirement living is not a ‘shovel ready’ solution, it’s actually a ‘resident ready’ solution,” she
The Honourable Dr Kay Patterson AO, the Age Discrimination Commissioner, has thrown her
support behind the report, acknowledging the potential changes that retirement living can
make in the lives of older, vulnerable women.
“The issue of older women at risk of homelessness or who are homeless requires a range of
responses. I commend the Property Council and the retirement living sector for stepping up
and suggesting how it could contribute to addressing this ever-increasing problem,” Dr
Access the report here.