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Government VIC, Property Real Estate

Former public servant experiencing homelessness in retirement visits Federal Parliament to support housing as a human right

Housing for the Aged Action Group 2 mins read

Canberra, June 25: A former public servant who is living in a caravan in regional NSW is in Federal Parliament today, meeting with MPs alongside a delegation from Housing for the Aged Action Group, to demand more action on older people’s housing.

The public servant was forced into early retirement at 63 and ageism prevented her from getting back into the workforce. She is only able to live in her caravan for 180 days a year, so spends the other half of the year house sitting in Canberra or Sydney.

When the woman, who would prefer to remain anonymous, applied for social housing in New South Wales in 2018, she was told she could find housing for $300 per week on the private rental market. Since then, she’s endured a bureaucratic nightmare trying to access social housing. Even if it were possible to find a rental at that price, that would leave just $400 of her fortnightly pension remaining. Not enough to afford the essentials, like food, medicine and utilities. The stressful and time-consuming application process came to an end in 2022, when she was placed on the priority housing list. She is still waiting for housing today.

Housing for the Aged Action Group Executive Officer Fiona York is leading the delegation, which today and tomorrow is in Federal Parliament meeting with MPs and demanding action on housing for older people. The delegation arrives the same week crossbenchers Senator David Pocock and Kylea Tink MP plan to introduce a private members’ Bill that would recognise a right to adequate housing as a fundamental human right.

“More and more older people, particularly older women, are entering retirement without owning their own home,” York says.

“Underinvestment in public and community housing in recent years has left many without a safety net. We’re in Canberra this week to draw attention to this growing issue, throw our support behind housing as a human right, and to demand more action on older people’s housing.”

Housing for the Aged Action Group is calling for reforms to address older people’s housing including:

  • Increase public and community housing to 10% of the total housing stock by 2050 and set aside some for people over 55 based on area and need.
  • Make ‘affordable housing’ truly affordable by legislating a definition in HAFF to cap rents at 30% of income for people on the lowest incomes.
  • Implement a fairer tax system to recognise housing as a human right.
  • Provide more support for older people at risk of homelessness by funding specialist support services for those who can’t access aged care support due to insecure housing.
  • Make homes climate safe for older people by prioritising retrofitting of public and community housing to withstand extreme weather events.

The delegation will be in Canberra until Wednesday morning. Interviews with members of the delegation, including older people with lived experience of homelessness, are available on request.


About us:

Housing for the Aged Action Group is one of the only Australian organisations specialised in the housing needs of older people. Coming from grass-roots beginnings over 40 years ago, HAAG today is over 800 members strong. It is committed to finding long term solutions to the housing crisis facing older people in Australia.


Contact details:

Kye White, 0419 11 62 69 or Media@oldertenants.org.au

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