Older homelessness on the rise according to census figures

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The Homelessness Estimates released today by the ABS highlight the growing number of older homeless people in Australia, Chief Executive of HammondCare, Dr Stephen Judd said.

“The figures from the latest Census show that 16 per cent of homeless people in Australia in 2016 were aged over 55 years or older,” Dr Judd said.

“The number of homeless people aged over 55 years increased by 28 per cent between 2006 and 2016, rising from 14,581 to 18,625.”

Dr Judd said the increasing numbers of older homeless people highlights a significant social issue: “With an ageing population, we are facing the grim realisation that more and more people are facing their older years without secure accommodation. Many of these people also have complex health and aged care needs. This is a situation that needs addressing as a matter of priority.”

The Census figures also show one of the highest concentrations of homeless people was in the City of Sydney with around 5000 people in 2016 – an increase of two thirds since the 2011 Census.

HammondCare is building a residential aged care home for homeless people or those at risk of homelessness in inner city Darlinghurst – the first of its kind in Sydney. The home will provide 42 beds in private rooms for both men and women who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. It will incorporate specialist services for people with high care needs, and be operational in 2019.

“Homelessness for older people in inner Sydney remains a significant issue and this project will provide a much needed service for older people who are in dire need. Great cities are about providing essential services for all – and today’s figures show there is an increasing and urgent need for this type of service in our society,” Dr Judd said.


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