Seniors Face Housing Stress

During Seniors Week it is important to take the time to reflect that Australians are living longer than ever before. In 2016, life expectancy at birth was 80 years for males and 84 years for females.

While many seniors will be housed comfortably as they age, some will find themselves in extreme housing stress after a lifetime of working, raising families and caring for others, putting them at risk of homelessness. Appropriate housing is crucial for people to remain healthy and stay engaged in the community.

According to the Australian Institute of Health & Welfare’s (AIHW) report on older clients of specialist homelessness services (SHS) there were:

• Over 86,000 older clients received services between 2013–14 and 2017–18, most (68%) in a single year only - equating to around 36 older clients per 10,000 persons in Australia (aged 55 and over).
• In 2017–18, there were over 24,100 older clients (55 years and over) who received services from SHS agencies.
• Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are over-represented among SHS clients, including at older ages. Almost one-fifth of SHS clients aged 50 and over identified as being Indigenous (17% or 5,300 older clients).
• Western Australia had the second highest average annual growth of older clients accessing SHS services, at 13% from 2013–14 to 2017–18.

The report outlines that Western Australia has a significant average annual growth in older clients accessing SHS agencies compared to most Australians states, indicating an increasing problem for older West Australians maintaining their housing and tenures.

Seniors generally require smaller housing located close to services, care and support, but these properties can be hard to secure. Shelter WA calls on the state government to increase the supply of social and affordable housing and specialised tenancy support services for seniors.

WA Seniors week 2019 runs from Sunday 10 to Sunday 17 November.


Media Contact: Heather Bush, Senior Communications & Marketing Advisor
0423 887 616.

1Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2018. Australia’s health 2018. Australia’s health series no. 16. AUS 221. Canberra: AIHW.