Looking for resources about housing options for older people? This page provides information on different housing options for older people and organisations related to housing, including eligibility, applications and contact details.
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Aged Care Homes | Homeshare Australia and NZ Alliance | Residential Parks and Moveable Dwellings | Retirement Villages | Rural Living | Social Housing | Supported Residential Services | Advocacy Organisations
Aged Care Homes and Residential Aged Care
An aged care home is for older people who can no longer live at home and need ongoing help with everyday tasks or health care. Residential aged care can be on a long- or short-term basis. Short-term care is known as respite care. You may be eligible for subsidies from the Australian Government. Visit My Aged Care for more information, or see our page on Aged Care.
CEHL provides access to co-operative housing in Victoria. A co-operative is an independent organisation. It is managed and run by its members, for the benefit of its members. Co-op housing is a long-term housing option and requires an ongoing commitment to being an active member of the community. Rent is designed to be affordable for low-income earners. CEHL’s housing program charges no bond.
To be eligible for co-operative housing, you will need to meet income and asset criteria as set out on CEHL’s website. You will also need to attend an information session to make sure that co-op housing is the right option for you. For more information, visit CEHL or call them on 1800 353 669.
Homeshare Australia and New Zealand Alliance (HANZA)
Homeshare is for older people who live in their own home and who could benefit from having help around the house and companionship. The Householder provides a bedroom and shared facilities. In exchange, the Homesharer offers approximately 10 hours of practical help such as housework, gardening, transportation. This practical help excludes personal care.
Residential Parks and Movable Dwellings
Living in a residential park or village usually involves owning a moveable dwelling and renting the land your home is located on. Moveable dwellings are also called manufactured homes or relocatable homes. Residential parks may be located within caravan or holiday parks, or be purpose-built. There may be communal facilities as well that you will have access to.
Consumer Affairs Victoria can provide information on choosing, living and leaving a residential park. They offer a PDF publication, Movable dwellings: a guide for residents, owners and managers. It explains what residents and owners must do to follow Victoria’s residential tenancy to do with moveable dwellings. For more information on Residential Parks and Moveable Dwellings, visit Consumer Affairs Victoria’s website or call 1300 55 81 81 Monday to Friday, 9 am – 5 pm.
Retirement villages are housing developments for people who:
- are over 55 years of age
- are retired from full-time work
- want independent accommodation.
Aged Care Guide provides more information about retirement villages and the costs involved. Their website also lets you search for villages by name or location and view details about each of them.
Consumer Affairs Victoria has information on choosing, living and leaving retirement villages. They have details about fees that may apply, as well as a public register of retirement villages. Read more here.
Independent Living Units (ILUs or Villas)
Independent Living Units are typically self-contained bedsits, one- or two-bedroom units for older people who can live independently. Most are run by not-for-profit organisations and have varying criteria for eligibility. Read more about ILUs.
Rental Units are available in some retirement villages. People with limited financial resources are usually given priority. Rental units usually require an income assessment. Find out more about rental units at Aged Care Guide.
Rural communities offer many lifestyle benefits, but they can be very different from living in a city. If you are considering retiring to a rural community, we recommend you research information about the area, such as services, transport and infrastructure.
For information on different communities and local councils, visit MAV or call them on (03) 9667 5555 during business hours.
Social housing is short and long-term rental housing that is owned and run by the government or not-for-profit agencies. It includes both public housing and community housing. You can apply online through the Victorian Housing Register, with a paper application or through a support agency. You may apply as a single person, couple or family.
Public Housing is a form of long-term rental social housing, run by the State Government. It is for Victorian residents on low incomes. People who have recently experienced homelessness, family violence or have other special needs are given priority.
Community housing is secure, affordable, long-term rental housing. It is for people on low incomes or with special needs. Not-for-profit organisations usually manage community housing. These organisations are known as community housing providers. Community housing providers are regulated by the government. They provide different types of housing depending on your needs.
Victorian Housing Register
You can register online for both public and community housing with the Victorian Housing Register. There are two categories to register under.
Priority Access is for people:
- who are homeless and receiving support
- are escaping or have escaped family violence
- with a disability or significant support needs
- with special housing needs.
The Register of Interest is for all eligible applicants.
Community Housing Industry Association Victoria
CHIA Victoria works to support the growth of community housing. They provide resources and can also help you find community housing organisations in your area. Visit their website or call them on (03) 9654 6077.
Abbeyfield Australia is a national not-for-profit community housing provider. They offer hostel aged care accommodation and assisted independent living. They are suitable for people who:
- are over 55 years of age
- wish to keep their independence but need some support to do so
- would like to live with others in family-style housing.
Find current vacancies and more information at Abbeyfield Australia or call them on (03) 9419 8222.
Unison offers social housing services and affordable private rentals to people who are on low incomes. They also provide housing services to people in Melbourne’s western suburbs who are, or are at risk of becoming, homeless. Their social housing is available in Geelong and the northern and western suburbs of Melbourne – eligibility and applications are through the Victorian Housing Register.
Unison’s affordable housing is available to employed people who:
- are Australian citizens or permanent residents living in Victoria
- have a stable rent history
- can live independently
- meet assets and income limits as set out on Unison’s website.
For more information, visit Unison online or call their head office on (03) 9349 0250.
Women’s Property Initiative (WPI)
Women’s Property Initiative provides social and affordable housing to women in Victoria. Social housing eligibility and applications are through the Victorian Housing Register. To be eligible for WPI’s affordable housing, you need to be a single woman or a woman headed household and:
- an Australian citizen or permanent resident
- have a stable history of employment and tenancy
- be a low-income earner.
For exact income limits, available properties and application forms, please visit WPI or call (03) 9664 7800. WPI’s office hours are 9 am to 5 pm.
Supported Residential Services (SRS)
Supported Residential Services (SRS) are privately operated businesses. They offer accommodation to people who need some extra help with everyday activities. This could include help with things such as personal care, preparing meals or managing medication.
Each SRS has its own eligibility, intake and referral processes, and sets its own fees. For more information, as well as a listing of currently registered services, visit health.vic.gov.au.
Housing resources and advocacy for older people
Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission
Complaints about Aged Care are the responsibility of the Aged Care Commissioner. The Commissioner’s role is to protect and enhance the safety, health, well-being and quality of life of people receiving aged care. You can complain online, in writing or by telephone. Interpreters and the National Relay Service are available to those who need it. Visit the Commission’s website or call 1800 951 822 during business hours.
Consumer Affairs Victoria
Consumer Affairs Victoria provides information on choosing, living and leaving retirement villages and residential parks. Their website also offers guides for renting, buying and selling property. Visit Consumer Affairs Victoria or call them on 1300 55 81 81 during business hours. Some information is available in languages other than English.
Elder Rights Advocacy
Elder Rights Advocacy is a Victorian not-for-profit organisation which provides information and advocacy around all forms of aged care. All their services are free and confidential. Elder Rights Advocacy core services include:
- Information and Advocacy for older people and their families.
- Community Educationfor older people, families and the general community about various aged care topics.
- Elder Abuse Prevention and Response focuses on elder abuse within the context of Australian Government-funded aged care services (residential and home care).
Visit Elder Rights Advocacy or call their confidential Information and Advocacy line on 1800 700 600. The line is staffed Monday to Friday, 8.30 am – 4.30 pm.
Housing for the Aged Action Group (HAAG)
Housing for the Aged Action Group specializes in the housing needs of people over 55. Their website includes resources on different housing options available to Victorians. These include social housing, movable units, retirement villages and independent living units and public housing. You can find these resources online.
HAAG can also provide confidential advice about your housing options and legal rights in housing. You can access their services by phone or at their Housing Information Centre in Melbourne. Find out more online or call 1300 765 178 Monday to Friday, 10 am – 4 pm. Interpreters and resources in languages other than English are also available.
My Aged Care
The Australian Government operates My Aged Care. They can help you access aged care services and find information on eligibility, advocacy, quality and complaints. Visit My Aged Care or call their helpline on 1800 200 422. It operates Monday to Friday 8 am – 8 pm and Saturday 10 am – 2 pm. Interpreters and the National Relay Service are available.
Tenants Union Victoria
Tenants Union Victoria promotes and protects the rights of tenants and residents in most types of rented homes across Victoria. They provide advice on how to get repairs done, starting a tenancy, resolving disputes and ending a tenancy.
Call their tenant’s helpline on 03 9416 2577, Monday to Friday 9 am – 4 pm or visit Tenant’s Union Victoria’s website. Interpreters are available