She’s not the traditional face of homelessness: an educated woman, a mother (typically), who’s had a career, even owned her own home.
But women (over 55) are the fastest growing sector in our homeless community, and with an estimated half a million women predicted to fall into “housing stress” in the next 20 years, the situation has become dire enough that the government is stepping in.
Last week, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced the government will tender for the building of 1200 new social and affordable houses, in the second phase of an affordable housing fund announced last election, with women specifically in mind. It’s hoped the model will be emulated by other state governments to redress what is fast becoming an epidemic.
“We are even seeing professional women [who] get to an age of 55 or 60, look at their superannuation and say, ‘I have no savings, I have no future [in the job market] and I don’t have a home’,” says Tracy Howe, CEO of the NSW Council of Social Service, which has helped to design an affordable housing fund prioritising older women.
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