The shocking statistic where older Aussies are over-represented

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Older people are becoming homeless in increasing numbers.

This week is homelessness week and community service organisation Baptist Care Australia is calling for action to stem the tide of insecure and marginal housing for Australians aged over 55.

“The most recent 2016 Census revealed a 28 per cent increase in homeless people over 55 years compared to 2011,” said Marcia Balzer, Baptist Care Australia executive director.

“Older people are over-represented in insecure accommodation like boarding houses and among marginal residents of caravan parks – 42 per cent of marginal residents in caravan parks are over 55.

“Clearly, older people are finding it increasingly difficult to access secure affordable housing. Our Baptist Care organisations see the results of this every day as demand for social housing among older people far outstrips supply.

“As part of the Everybody’s Home alliance, Baptist Care Australia is calling on governments at all levels to work together to achieve the goal of eliminating homelessness by 2030.

“Other countries and communities have had remarkable success in eliminating homelessness. If there’s the political will, we can do it too.”

Earlier this week, delegates at the National Homelessness Conference in Melbourne heard how Finland eradicated rough sleeping by replacing shelters with permanent homes paired with intensive support.

Homelessness Australia, the national peak body for homelessness, says Australian governments can learn from countries that have invested in affordable housing as a response to homelessness.

In Finland, social housing is up to 20 per cent of all housing stock (in Australia, it’s 4.7 per cent).

The homelessness crisis has been growing in Australia, driven by a population boom and the worsening housing crisis. Homelessness rose 14 per cent over five years to 2016 (ABS) while spending on housing and homelessness declined 16 per cent over the same period.

“We need a plan,” Ms Balzer said. “A national plan that everyone agrees with and works to achieve. It needs to address the causes of homelessness.

“Increasing the supply of affordable social housing is essential to ending homelessness. This will cost money given how badly neglected social housing has become. But we don’t have a choice if we want to live in a country where older people have a roof over their heads.

“Every one of us will be an older Australian eventually. We need to make sure we can provide, safe, secure and affordable shelter for everyone regardless of age or circumstance,” Ms Balzer said.

Would you like our Government to follow Finland’s lead and end homelessness?

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Written by Ben

90 Comments

Total Comments: 90
  1. 0
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    Guess which side of politics has attacked retirees for the past few years and which does not care about any group in society which is suffering?
    This issue is a cost of living issue and the problem with older Australians who have spent their whole life in one geographical location is that they now need to move but cannot do so. The only option if family will not take them is the streets. Breaks your heart.

    • 0
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      Depending where one lives – here in the warmer climes we do have quite a few people sleeping rough. But that is quite often also their wish, helping shelters put a few restrictions in their way, like no smoking while inside, no alcohol on the premises and so on. Sleeping in an old car costs nothing and one can drink and smoke as well. Showers are provided in council toilets and to top it all: The $890 per fortnight pension is available for spending with no deduction for accommodation. A few days a week food is provided in the park, even a doctor comes for a visit now and then.
      Might be totally different in large cities down south. Have mates in the bush renting a unit for $200 a week in a town with a Woolies as well as a hospital. The downside is that in old age there is not much of a support network.

    • 0
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      Not sure what the Rudd -Gillard-Rudd government did to help the homeless
      Wonder what Shortens policies on the issue are . I’m sure he’ll promise them all a house of their own if he thought it would help him win the election

    • 0
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      Sounds like a good deal Cowboy Jim. The single pension is crap unless you own your own home and this has always been the single most important thing for all Australians to achieve before reaching retirement age.

      olbaid – the typical government post. Whilst you may be correct I ask WHAT HAS THIS LOT DONE IN THE PAST 6 YEARS???
      The answer is they have attacked retirees with a ruthless ferocity never before seen in our country whilst giving the rich high wages, personal tax cuts and company tax cuts. The latter has not yet eventuated.
      Please do tell about previous governments.

    • 0
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      The single pension is $23 without rent assistance . This provides for a basic lifestyle which is commendable
      A single person can earn up to $60k before the pension cuts out, AND can still be eligible for a seniors card for reduced medical and utilities etc.
      Dont forget those on OAP get many discounted services which pushed the value of the single OAP to around $30 p.a – ITS VERY GENEROUS

    • 0
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      Do we have to guess which side of politics has attacked pensioners and low income workers, no matter how many times Bill Shorten repeats his lie that he has changed his mind about attacking pensioners on their meagre amount that they get from franking credits, it is still on the agenda, either that or he hasn’t informed the rest of his party, as I have posted before in our latest monthly newsletter from our local member she has repeated that the franking credits are still part of Labor policy. This policy will hurt the low income workers and pensioners more than the reduction in the asset reduction that the LNP brought in, which I didn’t agree with either, but a reduction in the asset test from $1.2 million down to $830,000 certainly didn’t affect myself nor would I think it would have a great effect on anyone on struggle street.

  2. 0
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    Sadly we have a Government that has NO IDEA of what the population is facing. Neither has the Socialist Opposition. Last month Bishop/ Turnboll gave $10 MILLION to The Palestinian Authot6ity !!!!! WHY???? to fund terrorism> Our Foreign Aid is 3.4 BILLION…….why not help Aussies FIRST! no wonder we have homelessness, poor pensioners, and disillusioned citizens. We need to act to get rid of both socialist parties!!!!!

    • 0
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      Socialist party? Make no mistake that the current lot is a rich man’s party. The fact they give away money to foreigners and waste much much more is because they are negligent and don’t give a damn.

      If the media talked about the $600 billion debt the current batch have run up Australians would get really angry. Instead we see BS like the Emma Hussar event whilst Liberal Party crook McGuire got a couple of nights mention. Be careful of what you believe. The facts are the facts are the facts….and the media is ‘fake news’ to get voters to vote for the coalition.

  3. 0
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    I can’t understand why people keep banging on about ‘fluff issues’ such as electricity prices, crime rates, cost of living, jobs etc. when there are critical issues such as the plastic bags disaster and the tampon tax (which our hard-working government has laboured through long and difficult hours to finally rescind – kudos!) to worry about. There are also issues of national survival, such as sports stadiums and hospital name changes that our nation’s legislators, to their credit, take very seriously.
    The real worry in the past week was the shortage of Grange and fresh lobster in the parliamentary feeding troughs. Apparently there were near riots when the over worked pollies sat down and found out the shortages. They finally settled for a supply of French reds at $500 per bottle and fresh lobster flown in from Canada as a compromise but warned severely that it better not happen again. Stick Insect was O.K. as there was plenty of parrot seed available for her.

    • 0
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      Have you tried some of that imported French red, our cask reds are a lot better, and don’t get me started on imported lobster.

    • 0
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      Thanks for that kinkakuji, I enjoyed your expose’ of just how hard our incumbents are doing it in the ‘cracklin’ capital. Love your style, oink!

  4. 0
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    Wouldn’t have thought living in a caravan park was akin to being homeless.

    Lots of people choose to live that way and I am sure it’s not because they can’t afford to rent a house. Owning your own dwelling such as a caravan feels more secure than renting a house or unit. Least if something goes wrong, you own your van and can move it somewhere more salubrious.

    • 0
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      I met a lady aged 86 living in a caravan park. Run down van, $220 a week site rentals, plus electricity. Been living there for 16 years after travelling permanently. Not easy getting up to the amenities a few times in the middle of the night. Van would not stand up to a move, and she fears the park could be sold.
      She has tried applying for a Govt flat but the mere fact she ‘owns her own home’, makes her ineligible.

    • 0
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      So if she was living in a own tent in a caravan or camping park paying site fees etc, would that also classify as a home?

      Just doesn’t sound right. But it does sound like bureaucratic BS!

  5. 0
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    Just because you live in a “Caravan Park/Mobile Home Park” you are down on your luck.
    Some of these Caravans are Palaces On Wheels and are Transported around the by Contractors as the Owners Arrive at the Destination With It Ready To Live In. No need for Large Cumbersome Vehicle.
    The other benefit is claiming Rental Assistance.
    Yes some may be not so lucky, than others it suits them because of the small space to look after and park facilities as well as location.

    • 0
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      So right Chris BT – some caravan parks have great facilities for their residents such as ensuite bathrooms, swimming pools and spas, public transport, shopping centres and beaches just a short walk away.

      I have seem some beaut vans and would be more than happy to trade in the house to live on permanent holidays in one of those luxurious vans, someday.

  6. 0
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    This is the Biggest Priority. Shame on the government for not giving enough priority to our homeless most vulnerable older citizens.

    I make a very personal criticism directed at the Hon Malcolm Bligh Turnbull MP Prime Minister of Australia. You need to do more. Much more.

  7. 0
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    Tired of hearing about Finland.
    Bob Hawke had a very famous quote “By 1990 No child shall live in poverty” – Still waiting.

    • 0
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      Finland and Iceland etc keep being mentioned because the policies they have designed are working.

      Iceland’s policy of nationalising the banks, jailing the bankers and bailing out the citizens is a far better policy that the APRA Bail In we have passed here this year for example.

    • 0
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      Quite factual Rae, but ask most of the posters on this website what bail-ins are and they would likely have no idea.
      I’d back nationalising banking and actually jailing crooks at the top of the food chain who normally either get off because they have the best legal TEAM or get very very lenient sentences….can’t be too tough on the rich crooks can we.

    • 0
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      I’m not necessarily down on the rich MICK but certainly the crooks.
      Nothing wrong with making money if you do it honestly and hurt no-one.
      Crooks are not being gaoled as they should be. The Legislation is very wobbly now.

      I’m also not surprised people don’t know about the Bail in as the Media certainly didn’t advertise it and wow was the doing of it a doozy. There is a whole movie there.

      I’m spending a bit of my savings moving it out of Australia and pre-booking next year’s travel.

      It’s those who think they are clever having bank shares or mortgage offsets or who knows what ” instruments” who will be devastated if it does go pear shaped.

      I’ve Investment cash accounts I’m not even sure are safe.

    • 0
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      A bail-in is the rescue of a financial institution that is on the brink of failure whereby creditors and depositors take a loss on their holdings. A bail-in is the opposite of a bailout, which involves the rescue of a financial institution by external parties, typically governments that use taxpayers money

    • 0
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      fully agree labor mickey, jailing the crooks such as the ex president of the labor party mick( incidental ) williamson, belan, johnson etc for helping themselves to their members contributions, or for such prominent leaders as craig thompson, using members fees to satisfy his sexual needst, they also used the best legal team, difference: they used the union member’s funds and it did not cost them a cent and any slack was taken up by the labor party, I feel sorry for a brainwashed , washed up and once hopeful and aspirant candidate for the labor party who was found out by the voters, still blowing his trumpet, poor old labor mickey it is hard to be a forgotten once readily recognised failure

    • 0
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      Give up Rosret, don’t waste your time waiting, we’ve missed that one entirely. 28 years in the political jungle has seen lotsa saints fed to the lions.

    • 0
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      Yes HS. That is what a bail in is but the Legislation passed here does not specify the “instruments” to be included if APRA needs to rescue a bank in strife through excessive lending on overpriced real estate.

  8. 0
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    It’s misleading to quote percentages as the actual numbers may show a different picture. It would be better to quote the numbers to see what percentage of the population is involved. I note that the writer considers people who live in boarding houses and caravan parks are discussed in the same article as homeless people. I don’t consider those who have somewhere to go home to as homeless.

    I also note the usual suspects are attacking the federal government when affordable social housing has always been in the purview of state governments. Rudd promised to take the homeless off the streets yet they are still out there. Rudd made the startling discovery that not all people are on the streets because of circumstances, some choose to live that lifestyle.

    It seems fair to compare Australia and Finland because we share so much in common. Not! Winters in Finland are much harsher than in Australia and whilst our cities can get cold, none of them are under a blanket of snow each and every winter. Can we get some clarity on this article please, tell us how many people are involved so that compare the numbers for which social housing is needed.

    • 0
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      I see your political persuasion coming out again OM.
      I seem to recall Rudd won government weeks before the GFC hit. Funny that. I think you may want to give the guy a bit of slack and have a look at the performance of both Abbott and Turnbull in this and many other areas of government. You may also want to explore the fact that Australia has made vast economic headway in the past 5 years and that the current government has done NOTHING for most Australians and only cares about the wealthy. Blind Freddy could see that.
      Personally I’d vote for a benevolent fair and honest dictator if there were such an animal. Sadly Turnbull and Abbott want their dictatorship and we have all seen what they are doing. The homeless have no chance.

    • 0
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      Wasn’t there a newspaper story about Tony being a ‘trainee priest’ who rebelled against serving tea to his old and sick priests?

    • 0
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      Well done MICK, your Labor party is proud of you. The article was about homeless people and my comment was about the topic. Very clever of you to work in the GFC which has 3/4 of 5/8 of bugger all to do with the topic. Your description of your Labor leader as a dictator is wrong, he doesn’t have enough support in his party to be one.

  9. 0
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    “Other countries and communities have had remarkable success in eliminating homelessness.”

    Like where? Finland? Well no! Slowly decreasing homeless numbers may be; eliminated homelessness NO!

  10. 0
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    Since when does choosing to live in a caravan park mean you are homeless? Go to any caravan park and there will be many many permanent residents who own their own ‘vans’ chalets etc.

    What about all the younger people also homeless? The mentally ill? Younger women with children? Single men? Single women?

    Surely the issue is homelessness not pitting one group over another. Don’t they all deserve help regardless of age? Or is being over 55 just another age of entitlement?

    • 0
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      That’s know as ‘no choice’ KSS. I would actually classify living in a caravan as homeless.

    • 0
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      Younger people need employment. The government is forcing the unemployed, registered for Newstart, into mandatory obligations that includes reporting to a nominated Employment Agency subsidized by the government. The agencies that offer training for specific job vacancies in the market are ‘worth their weight in gold’ and those who are there to just ride the’gravy train’ by ‘cherry picking’ suitability are as useless as those who are dole bludgers.

      The mentally ill are allowed to walk the streets because the government has closed state operated institutions for the mentally ill.These mentally ill people, of all psychiatric levels, are lost,angry souls who succumb to drug addiction,crime and being taken advantage of.There is only a slim amount of hope of rehabilitation for them and the duration of rehabilitation is questionable. Many of these mentally ill people are homeless, some on disability welfare, some have nothing and no help. Some reject help aggressively. . One fellow said he’d be better of to commit a serious crime and go to gaol for shelter, food and clothing. Only dedicated experts might be able to help. But, in many cases many expert help is futile. This is a huge problem.

      Younger women with children need to live in a separate community specifically designed for them and their children.

      Single men and single women ought to have separate communal abodes unless by mutual consent they share together .

      We have the age gaps in which the 55s and the old age pensioners don’t want to live among the younger generation and vice-a-verca.

      On top of it we have culture gaps where one group can’t stand to live among another culture group, not so much because of religious, skin colour race but, because of being aggravated by the character and disrespectful behavior by another group.

      So, it’s not about pitting, it’s about placing groups where they can live in peaceful harmony with one another. In time of evolution some opposing groups eventually find a common ground but until then, profiling of the society is needed all the time in order to manage the diverse society and make improvements along the way.

    • 0
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      So as I said HS, don’t they all need help not just the entitled over 55s?

    • 0
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      Of course! This focus is on the elderly 55+ with acknowledgements that all homeless people need help but you can’t achieve it without segmenting the age, health, safety and gender groups. That calls for profiling and grouping the problems one by one.

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