Homeless report shows more older people are affected

More older people are becoming homeless, a new report shows.

The Australian Homelessness Monitor 2018 report showed that people aged 55-74 were the fastest growing group within the overall homeless population.

The report said that in the 10 years to 2016, the number of homeless people aged 55-74 grew by 55 per cent, compared to a 30 per cent increase for all other age groups.

It was conducted by independent researchers at the University of New South Wales and the University of Queensland and is believed to the first study examining the scale and nature of homelessness in Australia.

Homelessness was increasing faster than the population, the report showed.

Between 2011 and 2016, homelessness increased by 14 per cent nationally, whereas the population grew by 9 per cent.

The report said 8200 people were sleeping rough, an increase of 20 per cent but Tasmania saw a drop of 11 per cent.

Shelter Tasmania executive officer Pattie Chugg said some of the data used in the report was now outdated.

“The latest estimates of homelessness in Tasmania, based on Census 2016 data, show that homelessness overall has increased from the previous Census, now 1615 people,” Ms Chugg said.

“Respondents to Shelter Tasmania’s survey of homelessness services late last year reported seeing a significant increase in homelessness in the past two years, particularly among older and younger women, baby boomers, people with mental health issues and young men exiting care.

“Since the 2016 Census was taken, rental vacancy rates in Tasmania have also been falling across the state, with rents spiraling upwards as a result.

“This has pushed more people into homelessness.”

Ms Chugg said the data also showed that the number of people living in severely crowded dwellings had increased by nearly half  or 46 per cent.