A predictable crisis: older, single women as the new face of homelessness

26 January 2011

The dissolution of partnerships and re-partnering  involve serious risks for women and their children, according to this paper. This significant gender-based economic and social problem has emerged on the back of demographic change.

A recent national study of women and housing used ABS demographic modelling to show that a sizeable proportion of female baby boomers are single, poor and facing significant housing insecurity, which suggests that the new face of homelessness will be single older women by virtue of a combination of the sheer number of women in the cohort, their poorer economic status  and social changes that occurred in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. This forecast appears as a startling departure from the existing statistics. More women than men use the homelessness service system, but this reflects the response to family violence which is aimed at women.

Single women (as a group distinct from those seeking assistance because of violence) receive only about 4% of the national funding for homelessness. Single women are currently but minor players in the homelessness statistics, which can be explained by the historical size of this cohort, but this could shift from a trickle to a roar in the space of generation.




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Andrea Sharam, 2011, A predictable crisis: older, single women as the new face of homelessness , Swinburne Institute for Social Research, viewed 24 April 2017, <http://apo.org.au/node/22195>.

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