Older women—those aged 55 and over— was the fastest growing cohort of homeless Australians between 2011 and 2016, increasing by 31%. It is likely this trend will continue given the ongoing shortage of affordable housing, the ageing population and the significant gap in wealth accumulation between men and women across their lifetimes.
These women’s circumstances vary with respect to their assets, income and capacity to work. A range of preventative, innovative and cost-effective solutions are vital to reduce the risk of homelessness for older women and to ensure that long-term, sustainable options assist the most vulnerable cohorts.
The former Age Discrimination Commissioner, the Hon. Dr Kay Patterson AO worked with the property and finance industries, government departments, housing organisations and others interested to develop innovative solutions to assist this rapidly growing group of women.
The following background paper outlines issues faced by many older women and aims to generate discussion and encourage the development of solutions to reduce women’s risk of homelessness as they age.
- Older Women’s Risk of Homelessness: Background Paper (April 2019)