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Australia faces rising trend in elderly homelessness, warns welfare groups
By:Xinhua
update:November 16,2017
SYDNEY, Nov.16,2017-- Welfare groups have warned Australia could soon face a homeless crisis among its older people.
 
The country's ageing population and rising property prices have sparked concerns more elderly Australians will find themselves living on the street.
 
Mission Australia Chief Executive Catherine Yeomans on Thursday called for an additional 60,000 social housing dwellings to be built specifically for older people.
 
"We're seeing a growing problem and if we're not careful, it's really going to be an emerging crisis," Yeomans told the Guardian Australia on Thursday.
 
"We have to increase the stock (but) the fundamental problem is that there are increasing numbers of people needing to access social housing because they can't afford the private rental market, and they clearly don't have their own homes."
 
Yeomans also called for a review of social security payments for older Australians to ensure they meet cost-of-living needs.
 
Her comments followed the release of a Mission Australia report that cited several contributing factors behind the rise in elderly homelessness.
 
These included a lack of appropriate housing, the lack of affordability in private rentals, insufficient social housing stocks, elder abuse, disability, cognitive impairment, mental illness and family violence.
 
Census figures from 2011, the most recent available, showed one in seven people experiencing homelessness were aged 55 or over.
 
The Mission Australia findings support those of fellow charity organisation Anglicare, which reported earlier this year that only a small number of rental properties were affordable and appropriate for low-income, ageing Australians.
 
Just 4.28 per cent of rental properties were suitable for couples on the age pension, it said, while for single pensioners, the figure was 1.62 percent.
 
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare last year found 21,600 people aged 55-plus sought help from homelessness services.
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