Giving older single women the chance of owning a home

Giving older single women the chance of owning a home

Imagine reaching 55, having never owned a home. It’s a situation a lot of single women find themselves in.

Rhonda Stewart lives off a pension and has rented for most of her adult life, but rising rental prices left her struggling to afford to live in Werribee South, in Melbourne’s traditionally modest western suburbs.

“I was paying about 70 per cent of my income, which was a pension, on rent,” she said.

“On top of that, the house was entirely electric. There was no gas at all and the electricity bills were horrendous. I was just not making ends meet.

“I was eating into my savings. I was panicking.”

The Women’s Property Initiatives (WPI), a community housing organisation, said single women over 55 were the most marginalised when it came to finding affordable housing in Victoria.

Chief executive Jeanette Large said even those who had managed to save a small nest egg were still at risk of homelessness later in life.

“Many of the women that fit into this category have a nest egg of $100,000-plus,” Ms Large said.

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