New resource helps tackle homelessness among older Australians

New resource helps tackle homelessness among older Australians

Uniting NSW.ACT and CHIA NSW launch toolkit to help older tenants stay in their homes longer.
Program supports more stable tenancies by providing community organisations with specialist housing information and resources

Community organisations assisting older and more vulnerable Australians who in the past may have struggled to find stable housing will now have access to a new toolkit that helps residents access the specialist services they need.

Uniting, the largest provider of aged care in NSW and the ACT, has partnered with Community Housing Industry Australia (CHIA) NSW to launch the ‘Supporting Older Tenants as They Age Toolkit’.

“As a not for profit provider of community services, Uniting believes affordable housing is a fundamental human right,” said Saviour Buhagiar, Director of Ageing, Uniting NSW.ACT.

“Older people are increasingly vulnerable to homelessness. They need information developed especially for their circumstances and that is tailored to their backgrounds.

“The toolkit provides specialist guidance for community organisations. It also contains important information to support older people from diverse communities including Aboriginal Australians, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and members of the LGBTI community,” said Mr Buhagiar.

“Demand is rapidly rising for community housing providers to care for more older tenants. This important resource, developed in partnership with Uniting, will help providers’ capacity to be leaders in providing secure housing and services to older tenants,” said Mark Degotardi, CHIA NSW CEO.

The cover of the Working With Older Tenants document

Uniting NSW.ACT is a leader in developing innovative partnerships that deliver best practice aged care services including those that tackle homelessness.

In 2016, Uniting won the prestigious Australian Aged Care Quality Agency (AACQA) Better Practice Award for a community outreach public housing program for older tenants of the Greenway Estate in NSW.

Uniting is interested in working with the NSW Government to trial a specialist seniors housing support service to improve housing outcomes for older people so that they can age well in appropriate and affordable housing.

This proposal has wide support from housing and aged service peak bodies and providers through the NSW Ageing on the Edge Forum; a coalition of organisations  working together towards housing justice for older people on low incomes.

The toolkit will be launched at a webinar followed by a virtual masterclass on how to use it, with the author Sue Cripps, a consultant with extensive experience in the homelessness and housing arena.

The toolkit covers six key areas:

  • Tailored advice to support all groups of people identified as part of the diverse Australian community
  • Explores the aged care service model in relation to keeping older tenants at home for as long as possible with the supports they need
  • Promotes understanding of structural housing adaptions that can be made to enable staying at home for longer
  • Raises awareness of the risk of elder abuse
  • Explores social isolation and loneliness among older tenants and considers ways they can be addressed
  • Identifies how to assist older tenants in mainstream housing who appear to have changes in behaviour that may be age related.

The toolkit can be downloaded here: uniting.org/chiatoolkit

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