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A report by think tank Per Capita has found that, without meaningful intervention, the number of older homeless women will more than double by 2031 to more than 15,000.
Over the last 6 years, women over 50 have been the fastest-growing demographic of people experiencing homelessness. It's a statistic that isn't changing, and a trend that's set to get worse.
Clearly, we need more accommodation options for women, especially those who suffer domestic and family violence, including affordable housing.
But, at the root of the issue, is women’s ability to earn an income, and invest in long-term security, for themselves. It's that as women step closer to retiring age we see systematic and structural inequity play out in real-life consequences. We see the impact of retiring with 50% less super and earning 22% less if you've worked your life in the private sector.
The gender pay gap, discrimination against women, minorities in the workforce, and a culture that still allows domestic violence to thrive, is at the heart of disparity.
Speak up, ask for help and, if you can, provide support. It's an issue about women, but get your workplace involved in giving back. Find a local charity who supports women in homelessness, women's refugees and women's shelters and organise workplace giving.
Here are some to consider:
For those experiencing domestic or family violence, call 1800 RESPECT or 1800 737 732.