A coalition of non-government organisations concerned about the increasing housing affordability crisis facing our ageing population have developed Homes for Life: Towards an older persons housing strategy. This roadmap brings together the key concerns of the major organisations assisting the most vulnerable older people in Victoria. It reflects the views expressed at the A Home to Age Well forum held in Melbourne on 19th April 2016, attended by 100 members of Council on the Ageing and Housing for the Aged Action Group, and calls for urgent action to address Victoria’s looming housing crisis for older people.
Housing affordability is not a problem that just affects younger people. As our population ages there is massive housing change underway. Home ownership, formerly the foundation of our housing, pension and aged care system, is rapidly in decline. In addition, more people are retiring with a mortgage or living in long-term private rental with ever-increasing rents and the threat of eviction. In the worst of cases, deinstitutionalisation and other social factors have seen many, now older people, spend the majority of their lives unemployed and living in a variety of rooming houses, pension only supported residential services or on the street. None of these options are appropriate for the older person.
The Victorian and Australian governments do not have a strategy to tackle the problem of housing affordability for older people and this threatens the future of the Australian aged social safety net over the next 20 years. In addition, the housing system and the aged care system are not well integrated and are difficult to navigate. There are also limited support services to provide information, advice and support for older people facing housing crisis. Yet secure housing is the number one indicator for well-being for older people. Therefore we are calling on the Victorian government to partner with our coalition on the development and implementation of an Older Persons Housing Strategy. The recommendations enclosed in this report provide the foundations for action.