Mission Australia Maddington experiences increase in elderly asking for help over past year


Mission Australia say there is an increasing number of elderly people being forced into homelessness.
Mission Australia say there is an increasing number of elderly people being forced into homelessness.

MISSION Australia’s Maddington service has experienced an increase in elderly people asking for financial and housing help over the past year.

The charity said they have seen more people over the age of 55 accessing their financial counselling and transitional housing services.

Their recent report into aging and homelessness found there was a growing number of elderly Australians falling on hard times and were being pushed onto the streets.

Mission Australia area manager Katie Price, who works closely with the organisation’s Wattle House emergency relief centre in Maddington, said there had been a clear increase in demand over the last year.

“In the last 12 months, our case managers have reported a 12.5 per cent increase in demand for Transitional Housing Services by older people,” she said.

“We have seen increased demand for financial counselling services by older age groups and our financial counsellor reports most of these cases involve older people struggling to manage rents and mortgage payments on very low incomes.”

Ms Price said the rising price of the housing market was causing the aging population to stress and seek out emergency services.

“The high cost of housing is placing great financial strain on many older people, particularly those who are renting,” she said.

“For people who are surviving on low incomes, including social security payments like the age pension, there’s not much left over for basic necessities like food and medicine after paying the rent each week.”

Ms Price said Mission Australia only had limited public housing resources and they needed government help to keep up with the growing demand.

“We are calling on government to build 60,000 additional dwellings across the country that are earmarked specifically for older people, to meet the high demand,” she said.

“These homes must be fully accessible, with access to supports like medical services and community services, to ensure older people can age in their homes with the supports they need.”

Between 2015-16, 22,000 people aged over 55 sought homelessness an increase of 15 per cent from the previous year, higher than the growth rate of all people seeking homelessness services (9 per cent).

The three biggest reasons older clients sought assistance were housing crisis (21 per cent), domestic and family violence (18 per cent) and financial difficulties (17 per cent).

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