Housing stress leaving older people homeless

Housing stress leaving older people homeless

Older people experiencing housing stress and homelessness now have access to support to help them get back on their feet.

Catholic Care Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains is now taking referrals to its Assistance with Care and Housing program, which supports older people experiencing housing stress.

Aged Housing Manager Kate Whiteley said housing stress in older people was a growing problem.

‘There are all sorts of reasons people find themselves experiencing housing stress. It could be that their partner passed away and they can no longer afford the rent or mortgage, or their rent has gone up and they simply can’t afford it,’ she said.

‘Sometimes people only have $30 left for food after paying their rent, so they fall behind with their rent payments quickly and eventually get evicted and have to start again with no money.’

Kate said the new program aimed to empower people to face the issue with the support of a case manager.

‘There are lots of ways we can support people. We can advocate on their behalf and talk to the landlord – often communicating with the landlord can make a big difference, or we can help them to access appropriate and safe housing options and community services that allow them to maintain their independence,’ she said.

‘Often it’s just a matter of us walking beside them so they don’t feel so alone, and making a phone call to them every few days to check in on them. We are here to help older people to live in housing where they feel safe, supported and independent.’

Kate described the program as a ‘wrap around service’ meaning that they not only assist people with their housing situation but also talk about any other issues they may be experiencing.

‘One elderly person was feeling socially isolated after moving to a new area, so we helped to connect him socially,’ she said. ‘Others may experience situational depression or anxiety and we can refer them to a counsellor.’

The program accepts referrals for people in the Penrith, Nepean, Hawkesbury and Blue Mountains LGAs and the Blacktown, Mt Druitt and Riverstone areas.

Self-referrals, along with referrals from agencies and GPs are accepted.

Eligible people include:

People aged over 65 years and prematurely aged people over 50 years old, who are:

  • Experiencing housing stress
  • Are on a low income
  • Could also be homeless or at risk of homelessness.

For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, eligibility age is over 50 or prematurely aged people over 45 years.

The program has been made possible with Commonwealth Government funding through the Commonwealth Home Support Program.

For more information people can contact Catholic Care on 8843 2500 or email enquiries@ccss.org.au