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Older Australians need secure and affordable housing

Date published: Monday 6 August 2018

Category(ies): Media release

Older people are becoming homeless in increasing numbers. This Homelessness Week, peak body for Baptist Care community service organisations Baptist Care Australia is calling for action to stem the tide of insecure and marginal housing for Australians over 55.

“The most recent 2016 Census revealed a 28% increase in homeless people over 55 years compared to 2011,” said Marcia Balzer, Executive Director of Baptist Care Australia.

“Older people are over-represented in insecure accommodation like boarding houses and among marginal residents of caravan parks – 42% of marginal residents in caravan parks are over 55.

“Clearly older people are finding it increasingly difficult to access secure affordable housing. Our Baptist Care organisations see the results of this every day as demand for social housing among older people far outstrips supply.

“As part of the Everybody’s Home alliance, Baptist Care Australia is calling on governments at all levels to work together to achieve the goal of eliminating homelessness by 2030.

“Other countries and communities have had remarkable success in eliminating homelessness if there’s the political will. We can do it too.

“First of all we need a plan. A national plan that everyone agrees with and works to achieve. It needs to address the causes of homelessness, sets out a way to rapidly rehouse people who become homeless, and works to reverse the over-representation of Aboriginal people who are homeless.

“Increasing the supply of affordable social housing is essential to ending homelessness. This will cost money given how badly neglected social housing has become. But we don’t have a choice if we want to live in a country where older people have a roof over their heads.

“Every one of us will be an older Australian eventually. We need to make sure we can provide, safe, secure and affordable shelter for everyone regardless of age or circumstance,” Ms Balzer said

Everybody’s Home is a sector-wide campaign to fix Australia’s broken housing system. One of its five goals is to end homelessness by 2030.

ENDS

Media Contact:
Marcia Balzer, Executive Director 0430 175 310 marcia.balzer@baptistcareaustralia.org.au