Women doing it tougher: housing boost for growing homeless group

The state government’s latest social housing drive will target a group not typically associated with homelessness in the public mind: older women, including professionals who have been middle-income earners.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced on Tuesday that the government would tender for building of 1200 new social and affordable houses, in the second phase of an affordable housing fund announced last election.

Projects aimed at offering housing for older women would be prioritised, the state government said, because they are the fastest-growing cohort among the state’s homeless population and have previously been overlooked for housing options.

“Men are doing it tough … but women definitely more so,” said Tracy Howe, CEO of the NSW Council of Social Service, which helped to design the fund. “You’ve had caring responsibilities and interrupted life events and no superannuation. This all compounds and compounds, even for women who see themselves as middle-income earners.

“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.'”

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