Australia still lacks a comprehensive and coordinated approach to housing and older people, such that community care programs will achieve not only good outcomes for owner-occupiers but also good outcomes for vulnerable older people who rent. This research paper identifies particular issues for older public housing tenants and addresses the implications for service providers.Numerous reports on Australia's ageing population and positive or healthy ageing by Australian and state/territory governments over the past decade reveal a changing approach to older people (65 years and over). Notwithstanding, Australia still lacks a comprehensive and coordinated approach to housing and older people, such that community care programs will achieve not only good outcomes for owner-occupiers but also good outcomes for vulnerable older people who rent.
102,735 persons aged 65 years or more live in public housing, nearly all living alone or with their partners. Tenancies with older persons comprise approximately 29 per cent of tenancies. The number of older person tenancies is likely to increase as older tenants age in place and more apply for public housing in the absence of other viable alternatives.
State and Territory Housing Authorities (SHAs) are now being confronted by a range of major policy, management and practice challenges: the demand from older people for public housing has not peaked; older people have higher and changing expectations; many will need support; and the size of their housing units is too small, below community standards and no longer meets the expectations of older people.
This research project seeks to explore these challenges for SHAs. It has four aims, as follows:
* Develop a profile of older public housing tenants;
* Identify the housing policy and management issues associated with older tenants;
* Identify the issues associated with linkages to support services for older people;
* Discuss the implications of these issues and new approaches to older people for the future of public housing and SHAs.
In the process of achieving these aims, the project will address five key research questions:
* What are the characteristics and housing circumstances of older public housing tenants?
* What is the likely future demand for public housing from older people over the next ten years?
* What are the housing policy and management issues associated with older tenants?
* What is the role and responsibilities of SHAs in facilitating the access of older people to support services, in particular, to aged care?
* What examples of good practice and policy initiatives are there among social housing providers in Australia and overseas?