Older persons in public housing
SummaryDemand for public housing among older people is projected to outstrip supply by 2016. Public housing currently meets 42 per cent of demand from older persons. In order to maintain this level of housing provision, an average of 4391 additional older person households needs to be provided each year to 2016. The sorts of housing and services required by older people will also require new investment by public housing providers. Public tenants are generally satisfied with their accommodation and value its affordability, security of tenure and proximity to amenities. They are most satisfied when it is accessible, close to social support such as family and friends, and has adequate maintenance and modifications. Many also prefer to be located with those of a similar age and not be collocated with those with demanding behaviours such as those with mental illnesses.
Project Number: 50318
Research Theme: Health_Ageing_and_Disability, Public_and_Community_housing
Project Leader: McNelis, Sean
Funding Year: 2006
Research Centre: Swinburne-Monash
Research & Policy Bulletin
Issue 109: Older people in public housing: policy and management issues
Demand for public housing among older people is projected to outstrip supply by 2016. The sorts of housing and services required by older people will also require new investment by public housing providers.
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This research developed a profile of older public housing tenants from secondary data sets. Demographic projections estimated the future demand from older people for public housing to 2016. A literature search and review identified the changing approaches to older people and their changing housing circumstances within Australia. These were complemented by a series of face-to-face interviews in three states: Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania. These interviews identified policy and management issues from the perspective of four groups: older people living in public housing (38 interviews); services providing support to older people in public housing (13 interviews); public housing frontline staff (15 interviews); and public housing area/regional managers (9 interviews).
The key findings for the research are:
- Demand for public housing from older people will grow significantly as the population ages, presenting challenges of how to provide sufficient suitable housing to meet the need as well as anticipated growth in the demand for associated support services.
- Older public housing households are expected to increase from 87 940 in 2001 to 109 560 in 2016, an increase of 24 per cent. In the 85+ age group these are expected to increase by 155 per cent.
- Public housing currently meets 42 per cent of demand from older persons. In order to maintain this level of housing provision, an average of 4391 additional older person households needs to be provided each year to 2016.
- Increasing pressure for more older person households stem from higher rents in the private rental sector and the demise of a significant social housing option for older people—independent living units managed by aged care organisations.
- Public housing is highly regarded by older people as an affordable housing option when it provides security of tenure, proximity to amenities, family and friends, and has adequate maintenance and modifications, but is a source of frustration and difficulty when it does not. Key concerns of poor public housing for older people include lack of adequate internal and outdoor space, mixed tenancies that include young people and noisy or dangerous neighbourhoods.
- The key concern of older people is for their housing to meet their need for stability, affordability and maintenance or modifications as required.
- A key challenge, for public housing providers is to ensure there is sufficient public housing to meet growing demand from older persons as well as to broaden services to encompass a range of support facilitates such as family and social needs as well as opportunities for cultural, social and political activities.
Research Paper: Older persons in public housing: present and future profile
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Final Report: No. 121: Older persons in public housing: the policy and management issues
655 KB PDF Document
Research and Policy Bulletin: Issue 109: Older people in public housing: policy and management issues
157 KB PDF Document