Most older women impacted by homelessness have lived conventional lives, raising families, working, caring for relatives and contributing to their communities. Some are professionals; some have graduate qualifications; many have owned homes; none anticipated being homeless in their later years.
In March 2020 the report “At Risk: Understanding the population size and demographics of older women at risk of homelessness” estimated there were 100,000 women over 45 who were at risk of homelessness in Queensland. These numbers will have increased due to the pressures since Covid, interstate migration, and the huge rent increases since 2021.
Many women in our cohort are not represented on the State Housing Registers due to:
- Having more than $116,375 in assets or a gross weekly income of more than $609; or
- Not meeting the other eligibility criteria ; or
- Having been told there is no point in registering as they are not a priority and will wait for years to be offered housing; or
- Not perceiving themselves as homeless even though they meet all the ABS criteria for being considered homeless.
This means that women have to use their limited funds to sustain themselves, thus depleting their resources and their chances of securing a home in the future.
 The Australian Bureau of Statistics Definition of Homeless: “When a person does not have suitable accommodation alternatives, they are considered homeless if their current living arrangement:
- is in a dwelling that is inadequate; or
- has no tenure, or if their initial tenure is short and not extendable; or
- does not allow them to have control of, and access to space for social relations”