Drastic Increase in Couchsurfing Amongst Older Women
7 August 2017 at 11:56 am
Couchsurfing amongst older women has almost doubled in four years, according to new figures released as part of national Homelessness Week (Monday 7 to Friday 11 August).
According to Australian Institute of Health and Welfare data analysed by Homelessness Australia, 1,618 women aged 50 and over who sought homelessness services in 2016 were couchsurfing – an 83 per cent rise in four years.
Homelessness Australia chair Jenny Smith said older women sleeping in cars had also risen “drastically”, with a 75 per cent increase in 2016 of women over the age of 50 found to be sleeping in their cars compared to 2012-13.
To mark Homelessness Week, Smith and Dr Catherine Robinson, the co-host, and series consultant on SBS TV’s ‘Filthy Rich and Homeless’ launched the 100,000 Homes campaign as part of Homelessness Week.
The campaign urges government to build 100,000 new public and community housing properties over the next five years.
The face of the 100,000 Homes campaign is a woman called Christine, aged 53, mother and former teacher, who found herself sleeping on the floor of a friend’s spare room after a marriage breakdown. Christine was not a priority for public housing, and was unable to find an affordable private rental she on her single income.
Smith said Homelessness Australia’s data analysis showed “startling increases” in the variety of forms of “hidden homelessness”; including sleeping in cars, rooming houses, squats and couchsurfing.
“Our housing system is failing the most vulnerable, and the result is rising homelessness,” Smith said.
“Homelessness can be fixed by providing adequate housing. 100,000 new public and community homes would make a real difference, housing the elderly, families and single people on low incomes.
“Homelessness is an indication that broader social supports and service systems are failing.”
Supporters of the campaign can sign Christine’s call for 100,000 affordable homes for low-income earners to help end the housing crisis.