A group of South Australians from across the health, academic and community sectors will meet today with lived experience advocates to start identifying potential solutions to address women’s homelessness.
Latest national data shows women aged 55 and over are the one of the fastest growing group of homeless people.
The taskforce, chaired by Dr Alice Clark from Shelter SA, was set up by Human Services Minister Nat Cook in October and will meet for the first time today with women from the community who have experienced housing insecurity.
The meeting marks the official launch of the Homeless Women’s Taskforce by the Governor of South Australia, Her Excellency the Honourable Frances Adamson AC.
Minister Cook and Minister for Women Katrine Hildyard will present a series of recommendations to government by the end of the year to improve housing security for women aged over 55.
A Malinauskas Labor election commitment, taskforce priorities include:
- Accessible supports that make existing homes more flexible to people’s changing needs and wants over time
- Model and options for creating homes that suit a greater diversity of needs and aspirations
- Affordable and accessible homes.
Other members of the taskforce include representatives from sectors such as health, universities, ageing, domestic and family violence, local government, housing and homelessness, and community services. More than a quarter of the taskforce comprises of Lived Experience Advocates from the community who have experienced housing insecurity.
According to the 2016 census, women aged 55 and over are increasingly experiencing homelessness in Australia. Older women are particularly vulnerable to housing insecurity due to a range of current and historical factors.
The SA Housing Authority is supporting this critical piece of work to make a difference for older South Australian women.
Attributable to Nat Cook
This taskforce has a very important job ahead of it and I am delighted we have these highly experienced and qualified experts on the panel, and even more delighted to have women with lived experience at the table. No real change can happen without their input.
This group of people will look at ways we, as a community, can reduce housing stress for older women, the fastest growing cohort of homeless people.
Guided by lived experience and the three key themes for action, the implementation plan will seek to identify actions and initiatives that aim to reduce housing stress, improve security and ensure appropriate intervention points for older South Australian women.
Attributable to Katrine Hildyard
Women of every age should be empowered to equally and actively participate in our economy and in every aspect of community life. Progressing this requires a stringent focus on all that inhibits women from doing so and on the causes and impact of economic inequality.
Women often experience interrupted paid work patterns, pay inequity, a lack of retirement savings and are more likely to be engaged in insecure employment and to experience domestic violence. These issues all contribute to women over 55 experiencing homelessness at a growing rate.
This requires urgent action, and that is why the Malinauskas Government committed to, and is acting on the taskforce.
We took a strong agenda for women to the election; this Taskforce was a core part of it and this goes hand in hand with the already announced Gender Pay Gap Taskforce, the raft of domestic violence legislation already introduced, or to be introduced to the State Parliament and a range of other measures.
Attributable to Alice Clark
The taskforce is an important step forward in improving housing security for older women and the focus on action and implementation is welcomed.
I am delighted to be invited to contribute to the work of the taskforce with many of my colleagues and peers from a range of organisations, with a breadth and depth of experience and knowledge, which will be greatly enhanced by women with lived experience.
We know that the private rental market is a precarious place to live for older women, especially if they are single both in terms of affordability and now a very low vacancy rate, so it is timely to focus our efforts on improving outcomes.