Why are older women most at risk of Homelessness?
Increasing numbers of older women in Australia are experiencing, or are at risk of homelessness, with a rise of over 30% in just 5 years! Experts recognise that due to the ‘hidden’ nature of older women’s homelessness, these figures may not represent the full extent of the issue today.
There is a range of underlying structural and cultural factors leading to women’s economic “disadvantage”. This, coupled with an ageing population, means that the risk of homelessness among single older women is projected to increase.
Main reasons older women access homelessness services 2017– 18
- Domestic and family violence 34%
- Housing crisis 16%
- Financial difficulties 14%
- Inadequate or inappropriate dwelling conditions 9%
- Housing affordability stress 7%
Being homeless is not just about lack of access to shelter. Beyond a roof over your head, a home provides safety, security and stability, as well as the ability to control your living space and maintain community connections such as social networks, health care and other long-term supports.
So, were our Grandmothers always set up to fail? Is this something we needed to be conscious of moving into the next generation?
They typically didn’t work in this generation, meaning that when their children were old enough to leave home, their capacity to be employed was disadvantaged substantially. Prior work experience was often well before the kids and let’s face it, they made sacrifices for us!
So as the husband took the role of the breadwinner we were deemed ‘safe.’ I guess no-one considered what happened if he passed away or just up and left! It’s time we changed the perception of homelessness and realised what was lying in front of us- our Grandmothers!
Something must be different moving forward, WE must change this for our daughters!