Extract from an article by Adrienne Francis
Pip Rose could not face a day without her little dog and companion Harvey, but accommodating him in affordable rental accommodation in Canberra has proved far from easy.
Earlier this year she became unemployed and fell behind on rent and debt repayments.
But her story is not unusual.
At a solutions-based workshop in Canberra, expert Dr Andrea Sharam said Ms Rose was part of the “tsunami” of middle-aged women facing housing stress and homelessness, that Australia’s governments “should have seen coming”.
She said real solutions, like assigning housing for older women — in a scheme similar to Defence Housing — or converting old office blocks into temporary accommodation were some of the immediate measures governments could take.
“It was my lowest point because I knew I just did not have the money,” Ms Rose said. “I have got to admit it was a scary place to be.”
“Seriously, where can I rent in the private market? Because nobody’s going to give me a place without a job, that’s the reality.”
The 53-year-old came close to sleeping in her car on numerous occasions, because the majority of private rentals are not pet friendly — something recently changed in Victoria’s rental laws.
“[Harvey] is the one that got me out of the house when I was at my really low point,” she said.
“So it was going to be putting my stuff into storage and sleeping in the car with the dog and cat.”
Ms Rose’s church and her brother ended up coming to her rescue by covering her debt and finding her a place to live..(continues)
SOURCE: Adrienne Francis, “Australia’s ‘tsunami’ of homeless older women something ‘we should have seen coming'”, ABC News, 22 Oct 2017
Produced by the librarians at the Brotherhood of St Laurence in Melbourne, Australia