Rosalie Rendu Lecture now available to watch online
Pictured (left to right): Gay Mason, Katherine Mckernan, Jack de Groot, Susan Ryan, Denis Walsh, Peter McNamara
You can now watch the 2016 Rosalie Rendu lecture online.
This year’s lecture focused on the changing face of poverty – homelessness among older women and kicked off our Right to Home campaign.
The Hon Susan Ryan AO, former Age Discrimination Commissioner and Disability Discrimination Commissioner, delivered a keynote address highlighting that homelessness among older women is growing at an alarming rate but can be fixed.
There is currently no NSW Government priority for addressing the housing needs of older women, despite increasing evidence that the numbers who are homeless, or living in housing stress, is growing.
Most older women have not been chronically homeless but have experienced an event that has led to their homelessness such as death of a spouse, divorce or family breakdown. Older women who are homeless do not generally present complex needs or require support, but have lower incomes and fewer assets than men. Single older women are one of the most marginalised groups in the housing market – in the private rental market, in the social and affordable housing markets, and even in the homelessness service sector. They rarely get access to priority social housing as they are homeless as a result of their low incomes, not as a result of complex needs.
Susan Ryan, Katherine McKernan (Homelessness NSW), Michelle Anderson (Caseworker at SVDP’s Our Lady of the Way) and Gaynor Mason (SVDP Wollongong Central Council President) further elaborated on the solutions, which include:
1. A NSW Government commitment to develop a comprehensive strategy to address the homelessness of older women
2. Funding for the development of social and affordable housing for older women
3. Requiring that all new residential developments include at least 15% affordable housing
4. Making the private rental sector a viable long term option for older women
5. Securing the financial independence of older women