In March 2022, the Retirement Living Council released a report to shine the light on the fastest-growing cohort of homeless Australians: Women over the age of 55.
The campaign intends to bring this important topic and often forgotten group into focus. With a foreword by the Age Discrimination Commissioner Dr Kay Patterson AO, the report provides a set of policy solutions to stop more older women slipping into homelessness.
We know around 240,000 women aged over 55 are considered at risk of homelessness. The urgent need to support older women in the “missing middle” – those who have too much money to qualify for social housing but too little money to buy a house or comfortably afford to rent – is a critical piece of the puzzle in addressing the escalating cost of living crisis and its impacts on our most vulnerable people.
The suite of policy recommendations outlined in this landmark report aim to provide practical solutions for governments, which would help more older Australian women find safe, secure, long-term homes.
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 engagement officer.
It also recommends making more retirement living properties eligible for Commonwealth Rental Assistance, introducing government-backed loans to help eligible people enter retirement communities to allow 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.
Age Discrimination Commissioner The Honourable Dr Kay Patterson AO, threw support behind the report and acknowledged the potential changes that retirement living could make in the lives of older, vulnerable women.
Find out more about this campaign via the resources below.