Release type: Joint Media Release

Date:

Government tackling homelessness for older Australians

Ministers:

Senator the Hon Jacinta Collins
Parliamentary Secretary for School Education and Workplace Relations

AUSTRALIA’s changing demographics and how we meet housing needs for our rapidly ageing population are key issues for the Government and Community to address, Parliamentary Secretary Senator Jacinta Collins said today.

Launching Parity, Preventing Elderly Homelessness, a publication of the Council to Homeless Persons, Senator Collins said Australians aged 55 and over comprised almost one in five homeless people.

Speaking in Melbourne, she said: “With our rapidly ageing population, the number of older people who will find themselves homeless, or at risk of homelessness, is expected to rise over the next 10 years.

“Sadly, for too many older Australians, housing is out of reach. The latest edition ofParitywill give government, not for profit organisations and the community a better understanding of these issues.”

Minister for Social Housing and Homelessness Mark Arbib said demand for social housing for older Australians was expected to double by 2028.

“The Government is investing more than $20 billion in social and affordable housing measures,” Minister Arbib said. “The $5.6 billionSocial Housing Initiativewill help low income Australians who are homeless or struggling in the private rental market. About 4000 new houses will be built as part of this project specifically for people over 55.”

Senator Collins said the Gillard Government supported older Australians through other measures, such as reforms to the pension system, which has seen pensions increase by $128 per fortnight for singles and $116 per fortnight for couples combined since September 2009. “The Government has also committed an extra $8.3 million to continue and expand the viability supplement for eligible aged care providers, including those offering housing and services for people who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness,” Senator Collins said.

“There is more to do to ensure that Governments and the community better meet the housing needs of our ageing population and I applaudParityfor putting the spotlight on this important issue.”