Rapid increase in people over 55 experiencing homelessness

Pictured (L-R): Sabina Wynn, Manager of Policy and Advocacy, Seniors Rights Service; Thomas Chailloux, Policy Officer, PIAC; and Leo Patterson Ross, CEO, Tenants Union of NSW

More and more older people are experiencing homelessness in New South Wales. And it is likely homelessness of older people is underestimated. Some homelessness is hidden, with people living in cars or ‘making do’ by couch surfing with friends. Stigma, a lack of knowledge about available services and a sense of hopelessness because of the scarcity of social housing also mean people aren’t getting the help they need.

We can and must do better than this.  

PIAC made a submission to the inquiry into homelessness amongst older people aged over 55 in New South Wales. We know there are opportunities for early prevention of homelessness, including through a more secure private rental market and specialised legal assistance services to prevent eviction and financial hardship. We also argued more adequate support services and exit options are needed to assist people to exit homelessness, including a large increase in social housing supply.

PIAC also appeared at a hearing of the inquiry to provide additional evidence to the Standing Committee on Social Issues. We reiterated that investment in a large increase to social housing stock is the number one action the NSW Government must take, along with improvements to the Department of Communities and Justice temporary accommodation policies. We will publish the transcript of the hearing once it is available in the Hansard. 

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