Housing Security Forum for single older women

Shellharbour City Council will bring local women together to determine the effects of the housing affordability crisis on older women and help them start thinking about solutions.

Council secured a NSW Government grant to hold the Older Women’s Housing Security Forum to spark an important conversation about housing options in older age and encourage women to take control of their financial future.

The forum will be held Tuesday 20th June, 9am to 2.30pm at The Shellharbour Club, and is aimed at single women over 50 who live in the Shellharbour area and have concerns about their housing future.

Forum participants will workshop housing options, including alternatives to living alone and struggling to keep up high rental payments or home maintenance bills.  

The forum will be facilitated by writer and commentator Jane Caro, a regular on popular television shows Q&A, The Drum and Sunrise.

Shellharbour Mayor Marianne Saliba said housing affordability in Australia was in crisis and that the group expected to be hit particularly hard in the next few years was older single women.

“Charities and welfare groups report a growing number of older women are seeking housing support, with many worried that any changes introduced to improve housing affordability and security might not come soon enough,” Cr Saliba said.

Latest Census data shows more than 600,000 Australian women aged over 45 earn less than the median income and do not own their own home. 

Cr Saliba said older women were known to be more vulnerable than men to housing stress because they generally earned lower incomes, were more likely to work in part-time roles, and retired with less superannuation. 

“In a lot of cases, women also take more time off work to care for children and ageing parents, can suffer greater financial strain after divorce and are more susceptible than men to domestic violence,” Cr Saliba said.

Facilitator Jane Caro recently became involved in housing affordability debates and is passionate about housing and financial issues affecting women.  

She said it was a tragedy that the lack of housing security facing many older single women was the “reward” they got for putting other people first and themselves last for most of their lives. 

“Unless we wish to see a lot more senior women out on the streets, then we must act,” Ms Caro said.

Shellharbour Mayor Marianne Saliba said Council was pleased that Jane Caro would facilitating this important forum.

“She calls a spade a spade and doesn’t shy away from talking about the hard stuff,” Cr Saliba said.

The forum will include a Q&A panel of experts from organisations including Fair Trading NSW, Housing NSW, and Housing Trust.

For media enquiries, contact Council’s Media Officer on 4221 6038 or 0448 361 008.

NOTE: Jane Caro appears by arrangement with Claxton Speakers.