Unattainable Housing “Affordability” Definitions No Hope For Aging AU Women

An older white woman, a wisp of hair across her face gives a small, kindly smile to the camera
Feed The Birds photo by Sheree Zielke is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
This is Agnes, 65 and feeding birds when the photo was taken. Not Australian, but her homeless plight is a global crisis for poorer, older women. Click on "Feed the Birds" above for her story.

What’s in an affordable housing definition? Developers happily slice and dice the housing market into “affordability” segments. If they’re clever enough, they may even attract government subsidies. Both government and developer can then claim the credit for providing “affordable” housing.

How affordable? For example, consider housing affordable to those who can pay as much as, but no more, than 75% of market price. Government and developer can service a particular chunk of the middle class with a formula like this. But where does this free market slicing and dicing leave aging Australian women?

For many on fixed pensions, no free-market housing fits their tiny budgets, not even the lowest segment of free-market prices in which developers, supported by government incentives, are prepared to invest.

As a consequence, older Australian women are currently the fastest growing segment of the national population that is teetering on the edge of homelessness.

The sole practical solution that appears to be available? New public housing. The former head of Community Housing Canberra spells out the problem and its possible solution in the Canberra Times: Calls to grow public housing as affordable options ‘out of reach’ for many

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