Homelessness: Older women couch surfing, sleeping in cars due to unaffordable housing

Couch surfing among older women has almost doubled over the past four years and there has been a similar rise in the number of older women sleeping in cars, a report by Homelessness Australia has found.

As a result of women bringing up children and being in and out of the workforce, an unexpected crisis can leave them homeless, CEO Jenny Smith said.

“The loss of a relationship, not sufficient superannuation to fall back on as an individual and not owning your home getting towards the point of retirement … your income has no chance paying for a rental in the current environment,” Ms Smith said.

Homelessness Australia estimates there are now 280,000 homeless people in Australia, or around one in every 85 people.

Ms Smith said 70,000 people had to be turned away when they asked for help last year.

“How could it not be increasing? We have none of the policy settings in place at a federal level,” she said.

“We do not have an affordable housing strategy, we do not have any increase in support going to homelessness services.

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