Older Australian women increasingly vulnerable to homelessness

Older women are the fastest growing demographic among the homeless population in Australia, with years spent out of the workforce contributing to lower superannuation funds, lower incidence of home ownership, and lower personal wealth overall to draw on in retirement.

Kay Dolman had been a stay-at-home mother primarily involved in school activities, volunteering, and sporadic cleaning work when she got divorced in 2007 after 36 years of marriage.

“I found myself waking up from a bubble of feeling secure, to a situation where I didn’t have a secure roof over my head,” said Dolman. “I knew that I couldn’t continue living with family and friends, and it was such a deep pit of despair.”

As some of her friends began to retire and live off their super, Dolman started house-sitting to at least give her somewhere to sleep each night. But it was insecure and temporary, and left her with a feeling of anxiety.

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