Homelessness rising among the over-55s

Aine Fox
(Australian Associated Press)


Homelessness among the over-55s in Australia is rising faster than any other age group, the latest figures show.

More than 24,100 people in that age bracket needed help from government-funded Specialist Homelessness Services across the country in 2017-2018.

That figure increased from 17,300 in 2013-14, according to the statistics recorded by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

The rate of older people seeking help has risen by an annual average of 5.8 per cent over the past five years, which is more than three times the increase for all people using the services, the institute said.

For the most recent over-55s figure, 20,800 people were either experiencing homelessness or were at risk of homelessness.

Council to Homeless Persons CEO Jenny Smith said the “alarming” numbers show the country’s older population “are being locked out of private rental”.

“Governments have consistently ignored the fact that our rapidly ageing population, combined with the rising costs of rents is creating a time bomb of older homelessness,” she said.

The council is calling on the federal government to pledge new investment in social housing as well as a national partnership encouraging states to invest in growth.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Social Services said: “The Government is committed to helping older Australians. More than $6 billion is spent each year to improve housing and homelessness in Australia.”


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