Women only floor for Sydney’s first aged care for homeless

A women’s only floor will be considered as part of Sydney’s first unique aged care home for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, to help cater for the significant rise in the number of older homeless women, according to the General Manager of Residential Care for HammondCare, Angela Raguz. 

Speaking at the start of National Homelessness Week, Ms Raguz said older women were the fastest growing group of homeless people in Australia and this was particularly an issue in Sydney: “It is important we consider the best way to support this group of women and a separate floor has been suggested by various service providers, and is an idea we are considering,” Ms Raguz said.  

The latest Homelessness Estimates released in March by the ABS show that 16 per cent of homeless people in Australia in 2016 were aged over 55 years or older and this group has increased by nearly 30 per cent in the decade between 2006 and 2016. ABS figures also show the number of older homeless women increased by 31 per cent from 2011 to 2016.  

“This is a significant social issue and remains a problem, particularly for inner city Sydney. With an ageing population, we are facing the grim realisation that more and more women are facing their older years without secure accommodation, many of whom also have complex health and emotional needs.”  

Ms Raguz said HammondCare’s 42 bed aged care home for older homeless people, under construction in inner Sydney, would help address some need in the area, but the problem was widespread. “We have recognised this is a significant social problem in NSW and are trying to help redress the issue in inner Sydney. But this issue is widespread - we are happy to look at other areas of need in rural and regional NSW for similar types of accommodation,” Ms Raguz said.  

She said the City of Sydney and the Federal Government are on board and helping with the $20-million project, and HammondCare is hopeful for some State Government support.  

The aged care home in Darlinghurst, the first of its kind in Sydney, will provide beds in private rooms for both men and women who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, and incorporate specialist services for people with high care needs. It will be operational in 2019.  

Media inquiries:For more information or to request an interview, please contact Jenny Stevenson: 0402 214 039 or Harrison Vesey: 0418 222 107