Monday, 4 December 2017
Older People and Homelessness
I would like to add the names of Senators Hinch and Polley to this motion. I, and also on behalf of Senators Hinch, Polley and Cameron, move:
That the Senate—
(a) notes that, according to:
(i) census data, the proportion of renting households in housing stress, whose reference person is aged 65 years or over, has risen from 31.7 per cent in 1996 to 54.2 per cent in 2016,
(ii) the 2017 report Older People at Risk of Homelessness in New South Wales, since 2012, the number of households in housing stress in receipt of Commonwealth Rent Assistance, whose reference person is aged 65 years or over, has increased 53.7 per cent, and
(iii) the Society of St Vincent de Paul, women aged 55 or over make up the fastest growing group of people experiencing homelessness; and
(b) calls on the Federal Government to:
(i) raise real levels of funding for homelessness services and social housing,
(ii) work with stakeholders to ensure the specific needs of older people are addressed in National Housing and Homelessness Agreement negotiations with states, and
(iii) review the Commonwealth Assistance with Care and Housing Sub-Programme to ensure it is meeting the needs of Australia’s ageing population.
The previous Labor-Greens government did not leave a single dollar in the budget for the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness. The coalition allocated funding when it came to government and in this budget announced that funding for homelessness would increase and be made permanent, something Labor and the Greens never did. Labor created an affordable housing agreement without any way of measuring whether it delivered a single affordable house. The coalition's new $1.5 million housing agreement will, for the first time, require states and territories to have a housing strategy and a homelessness strategy that addresses priority concerns which currently include older Australians. The coalition government will also provide $4.5 billion to 1.3 million people this year to assist with rental affordability and has extended assistance with care and housing services for two years as part of the $5.5 billion Commonwealth Home Support Program.