James Thoomey from Mission Australia joins Dave to look at older Australians facing hidden homelessness?

In the wake of COVID-19, Mission Australia is calling for more social and affordable homes and donations to help support and prevent the growing numbers of older Australians being pushed into homelessness.


Mission Australia’s CEO James Toomey cautions: “Australia’s ageing population is expected to double between 2010 and 2050. There is a severe shortage of social and affordable housing, growing levels of housing stress and of course ongoing pandemic challenges. This has created a perfect storm which is causing more people over the age of 55 to be forced into homelessness.”


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“These older people who are homeless are mostly unseen. The majority aren’t sleeping rough in plain sight on the footpath. They’re more likely to be facing hidden homelessness. They’re living in unsafe or insecure living conditions like a car, temporary accommodation, a garage or they could be couch surfing.


“The dreadful combination of a number of factors including a severe shortage of social housing and affordable rentals, abysmally low rate of JobSeeker and other income support payments and a lack of secure, ongoing employment options is leading to an increase in housing insecurity and homelessness, including for our older Australians.


“Older women in particular can be at major risk of later-in-life homelessness, due to factors such as low retirement savings and superannuation and the high costs of housing. Alongside the pressures of the pandemic, these can leave older women more vulnerable to life shocks such as sudden illness, job loss, domestic violence, or when they are widowed.