News & Events

More public housing needed

December 7, 2017

Meeting the future housing and care needs of elderly Victorians is a significant challenge as fewer older people will own their own homes in retirement, more are renting and an increasing number are unlikely to have sufficient retirement savings.

 

These are just some of the points made by OCAV in its submission to the Victorian Government’s Public Housing Redevelopment Program.

 

OCAV has a deep interest in public housing. Around 53 per cent of OCAV residents were either homeless or vulnerably housed while living with family of friends, in private rentals, public housing or in temporary accommodation before they moved into an OCAV village.

 

“Our services – both affordable housing and support for older Victorians – are in high demand. We currently have a waiting list of 900 across our four villages and we are seeking sites for additional villages to cater for this demand,” OCAV CEO Phillip Wohlers said.

 

“In the meantime, many of our waiting list residents live in public housing which, for older people and single older women, is regarded as unsafe and undesirable,” Mr Wohlers said.

 

The Victorian Government plan to increase public housing by 10 per cent is inadequate, according to OCAV.

 

“Victoria’s social and public housing stock per capita is amongst the lowest in the country with 32,000 Victorians currently waiting for public housing and people waiting years to get into public housing,” Mr Wohlers said.

 

The OCAV submission pointed out that while Plan Melbourne identified the need for 30,000 new affordable properties for low-income earners (not the same as public housing), this needed to be doubled. It also pointed out that Plan Melbourne did not recommend a level of public or social housing as a proportion of existing and new housing stock.

 

“Public housing is one of the viable options for an expanding population of older residents, newly settled migrant families, sole parents, people with disabilities and those experiencing chronic physical and mental ill-health, most of whom are on pensions,” Mr Wohlers said.

 

Interestingly, older people’s needs were not addressed in the Terms of Reference, which OCAV has said is an oversight.

 

“Older women are a particularly at-risk group of homeless, as evidenced by our own research and others. A report prepared by Monash University identified that over half a million older women are living in long term income poverty and increasingly at risk of homelessness,” Mr Wohlers said.

 

A full copy of our submission is available here.

Photo credit: The Age newspaper

Sanctuary is how artist Gillian Coates describes her home at Currie Park, OCAV’s village in Euroa. “When I go to Melbourne and I am heading back to Euroa, I can’t wait to get home to the peacefulness of this place. It is like a sanctuary for me."

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