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'Tragedy' looming: Seniors face risk of homelessness

AUSTRALIAN seniors are facing a housing "tragedy" with the nation's ageing population at an increased risk of homelessness according to a new report.

Mission Australia released its Ageing and Hopelessness: solutions for a growing problem report today with its finding painting a bleak picture for the 'Baby Boomer' generation.

According to the report, nearly 22,000 people aged over 55 sought homelessness services in 2015-16, an increase of 15 percent from the previous year.

Worse still, financial difficulties, domestic and family violence and housing crisis were the top three reasons why those people sought help, a reminder of the insidious impacts of elder abuse.

"Growing older is inevitable, ageing is optional": Read more at Seniors News

The report indicated that our ageing population and the nation's growing levels of housing stress was proving to be a calamitous combination.

Mission Australia CEO Catherine Yeomans said it was a dire situation for an already cash-strapped generation.

"The high cost of housing is placing great financial strain on many older people, particularly those who are renting," Ms Yeomans said in a statement.

"For people who are surviving on social security payments like the age pension, there's not much left over after paying the rent each week.

"One in six people aged over 55 who received help from a homelessness service reported having financial difficulties.

"It is a tragedy that older people don't have the financial supports they need to stay in stable and secure accommodation."

Particularly vulnerable are older women with a range of factors, including a lack of superannuation and financial dependence, making them more susceptible to homelessness than their male counterparts.

Ms Yeomans said financial disparity was putting older women in a "precarious" position.

"Addressing financial insecurity will have a big impact on addressing the growing number of women at risk of homelessness," Ms Yeomans said.

"Women who work casually or part-time, who take time off to be carers, or who get paid less than their male colleagues, retire with limited savings, putting them in precarious financial positions.

"Everyone deserves a safe and secure home."

Topics:  catherine yeomans editors picks mission australia


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