Housing stress ‘dire’ as elderly Canberra women resort to sleeping in cars – The Canberra Times

Extract from an article by Doug Dingwall

Women more than 80 years old are turning to Canberra’s homeless services for shelter, forced out of housing by the ACT’s rental market, low savings and family violence.

Homelessness services are reporting a rise in clients who are elderly women, some resorting to sleeping in cars and couch surfing for shelter before seeking help.

Rising rental prices in areas previously more accessible for low-income groups and pensioners have locked out older women with low superannuation and savings.

YWCA Canberra executive director Frances Crimmins said the housing options for elderly women were “dire”.

“There were more options for affordable rental accommodation in surrounding regions, but even that’s evaporated in terms of affordability,” she said.

She has seen cases of women as old as 70 living in their cars and couch surfing to avoid rough sleeping or contacting homeless services.

In Canberra, 316 people aged 55 years or older sought help from homelessness services last year and 44 per cent in this group were women, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Of all homeless clients, 6.8 per cent were aged more than 55.

Within this age group, 79 clients were aged 65 or older….(continues)

SOURCE: Doug Dingwall , “Housing stress ‘dire’ as elderly Canberra women resort to sleeping in cars”, The Canberra Times, 05 Feb 2017

Link to full article

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