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Elderly women are the fastest growing group among the homeless, a new report has found (Bigstock)

A major new report by progressive think tank Per Capita has found that the number of homeless women over 55 is expected to double in less than a decade. Source: CSSA.

The report, using data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, forecasts that without significant new policies, more than 15,000 older women will become homeless by 2031.

It also found the most recent census data might not truly reflect the extent of homelessness among older women given they are more likely to be in emergency shelter, couch surfing or sleeping in cars.

Executive Director of Catholic Social Services Australia, Monique Earsman, said older women are the fastest growing group among the homeless, making up the majority of social housing tenants, and are the most significant users of specialist homelessness services.

Ms Earsman said that providing affordable social and emergency housing which prevents domestic and family violence will require a long-term commitment from governments and the community.

The ‘A Home of One’s Own’ report, commissioned by Australians Investing in Women, a not-for-profit organisation that advocates for philanthropists to invest in women, considers a gender view of the housing crisis.

Social housing stocks have declined markedly over the past three decades and make up just 3 per cent of all residences, down from 6 per cent in the early 1990s.

The report recommended more social housing investment by state and federal governments; reforms to the rental market to increase the number of genuinely secure and affordable options for those who will never own their own home; investment in shared-equity and build-to-rent models; establishing innovative financial models to lend to women; and increased funding for homes and services for women and children fleeing family violence.


The number of homeless women over 55 expected to double in less than a decade (CSSA)