Homelessness for Older Women usually results in a combination of:
- couch surfing: moving between friends and family for varying amounts of time depending on the good-will of their hosts.
- co-living: usually sharing a rental home with others in similar circumstances. This can be especially challenging for women who have run their own homes for many years. Organisations such as Calyptus and Better Together offer ‘matching services’, to help ensure compatibility.
- living ‘under the radar’ in informal rentals: often in sub-standard accommodation, with no security of tenure, or tenancy rights.
- house and pet-sitting: provides a way to live in a ‘normal home’ for a while.
- sleeping in a car or tent: moving usually results in the loss of support from within our communities, and loss of connections to medical and other services.
Precarious housing and multiple moves result in women experiencing:
- Prolonged stress which negatively impacts physical and mental health
- Loss of connection to community, friends, family, and work opportunities, creating an increased sense of isolation which further impacts on wellbeing
- Having to pay up to 90% of income on rent results in inability to buy food, medications and participate in community life. It also diminishes a woman’s limited savings, or forces her into debt, thus reducing her potential to acquire secure housing in the future.