Homeless seniors on the increase

Homeless seniors on the increase
Homeless seniors on the increase

Introduction

The homeless seniors problem appears to be increasing. This comes after National Homelessness Week 2017 was held from August 7-13.  The annual event is coordinated by Homelessness Australia (HA). Furthermore, a discussion has started to address this serious issue. You can find more information about the Homelessness Australia campaign on their website.

Highlighting the plight of homeless seniors

The project arose from winter vigils run by various churches and missions. Initially it was to pay respects to people who had died on the street. Over the years, more churches became involved. Further, the Australian Federations of Housing Organisations (AFHO), (renamed Homelessness Australia), began coordinating it. This led to a National Awareness week to highlight the plight of the people involved.

Additionally, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) have released a housing assistance web report.

On any given night there’s over 15,000 people over the age of 55 sleeping rough in Australia. Further this includes 2000 people over the age of 75

Reports and Stats on homelessness

The report indicates that more than half of social housing tenants are over 55. Furthermore, 194,600 applicants are vulnerable seniors who are on a waiting list. The IRT Foundation leads the way concerning housing issues for seniors. Manager Toby Dawson said that older women are particularly at risk and their numbers are growing.

Homeless older women

Older women are particularly vulnerable to becoming homeless.  This is because a lifetime of caring for others may leave them with little or no super. Furthermore, the single age pension is only $440 a week.  This sum doesn’t cover the high cost of living and makes standard rental accommodation unaffordable.

“On any given night there’s over 15,000 people over the age of 55 sleeping rough in Australia. Further this includes 2000 people over the age of 75”, says Mr. Dawson. The foundation helped 90 clients in 2016-17. They have a program that matches clients with age-friendly, affordable housing. Further, this includes IRT Communities. They provide housing at below-market rent.

“That’s why this National Homelessness Week we are calling on the community to join us and donate to our Neverland Ball Fundraising Campaign” Mr. Dawson said.

ACSA warning on homeless increases

Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) has also expressed deep concern. They believe the figures suggest the problem will worsen due to our ageing population.

“Homelessness is a complex issue with many causes and effects,” ACSA Chief Executive Pat Sparrow says. “We know that many older people can find themselves at risk of homelessness through life events; the death of a spouse, a lack of affordable housing or inability to live off the pension, for example.”

Homelessness Australia has acted as the coordinators. Starting with developing a campaign theme. Further, they produce information sheets and resources. In turn, these materials are made publicly available to organisations who run events. Furthermore, they advertise and promote the events being held Australia-wide.

Action and Innovation

This year, the theme is ‘Action and Innovation’. The aim is to highlight all the different and effective approaches being implemented. Furthermore, these are done by specialist homelessness services. The end goal is to respond effectively to the problem of homelessness.

Recommended reading and links

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