Media Release by The Hon Brendan O’Connor MP

New homes for older South Australians at risk of homelessness

Joint Media Release with:

  • IAN HUNTER, South Australian Minister for Communities and Social Inclusion, Minister for Social Housing, Minister for Disabilities, Minister for Youth, Minister for Volunteers

Minister for Social Housing, Ian Hunter together with Federal Minister for Housing and Homelessness, Brendan O’Connor, launched the Aged Homelessness Assistance Program for older South Australians in Melrose Park today.

Melrose Park Village is made up of 12 one-bedroom and six two-bedroom units, targeted at people over the age of 50 who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. It was jointly funded by the Commonwealth and State Governments.

Minister O’Connor said that people aged 55 and over comprise close to one-fifth of all homeless people in Australia.

“Australia’s population is ageing and the number of people aged 50 and over is predicted to more than double from 2010 to 2050,” Minister O’Connor said.

“This tells us that later life homelessness is likely to be a growing issue requiring sustained attention and sustainable strategies.

“Part of the problem is a lack of affordable housing for senior Australians, and that is why the Gillard Government is investing more than $20 billion in social and affordable housing measures, ensuring that a proportion of these homes are specifically earmarked for older Australians.

“The Aged Homelessness Assistance Program provides stable housing for residents who may have previously experienced trouble maintaining a tenancy.”

The Village was built with $4 million through the Commonwealth Government’s Nation Building Economic Stimulus Plan.

Minister Hunter said the Aged Homelessness Assistance program, funded through the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness, has 30 other houses across South Australia.

“This is an innovative housing and support program that caters for a group of people who can be particularly vulnerable in society,” Minister Hunter said.

“Support is provided through the development of an individualised plan for the residents with a strong focus on participation in the community and living independently.

Minister Hunter said older South Australians experiencing homelessness often have limited family support and complex health conditions.

“Many older people affected by homelessness may also be experiencing chronic health conditions including diabetes, cognitive impairment and mental illness,” he said.

“Creating an environment that supports both their health and wellbeing has been a priority for the program and the Melrose Park Village has been specifically designed to create a supportive environment.”