20 October 2022
The Community Housing Industry Association NSW (CHIA) has called for the State Government to implement all recommendations made in the ‘Homelessness amongst older people aged over 55 years in New South Wales’ report, which was released today.
The peak body for community housing said a number of the recommendations offer long-term solutions to the provision of social, affordable and community housing options which are severely lacking in New South Wales. CHIA NSW is supportive of several recommendations such as:
- additional funding to the Social and Affordable Housing Fund and Community Housing Innovation Fund;
- broadening the scope of the Together Home program;
- increasing funding to the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement;
- extending the National Rental Affordability Scheme, among others; and
- the construction of new social or community housing that is specifically allocated to older women.
There was a 43 percent increase in the number of people aged 55 and over experiencing homelessness between 2011 and 2016. The situation is expected to have deteriorated further, due the pandemic and associated economic and employment impacts.
“New South Wales is facing a housing crisis and people aged over 55 are at severe risk,” said Mark Degotardi, CEO of CHIA NSW.
“For older people, insecure housing and the risk of homelessness can mean living in extreme housing stress, going without essentials such as food, medicine, and heating, or becoming homeless. In extreme cases, it can exacerbate existing health conditions and even lead to death.”
“While I’m encouraged to see several worthwhile programs and opportunities raised in these recommendations, there will no reprieve for older people facing homelessness in NSW if the proposed solutions are only ever considered and never put into action.”
“The evidence of a crisis was laid bare for the NSW Government when this Inquiry sat, now it has heard there are solutions to that crisis. The ball is in their court.”
“There needs to be a significant and long-term investment in social and affordable housing, partnering with the community housing sector to deliver more housing opportunities for older people in our state,” Mr Degotardi said.
Media contact: Bron Matherson, 0438 844 765