• Frances Every posted an update 2 years, 4 months ago

    Hi all
    My news is that I am about to start volunteer position with a local community service. Amongst other personal support work I hope to help with public housing applications. The rental crisis up here seemed to have worsened during the last few months. A lot of desperate people seeking rentals on Facebook because it’s not worth even trying local RE agents. These renters are reporting their properties are being sold by landlords cashing in on increased pandemic related sales prices.
    It seems that people presenting for housing assistance are being offered tents because there are no other options, there are a lot of people camping out by the rivers including families. NQ hinterland winters can get cold and wet and it would be no picnic out there particularly for older people.
    I have attached a 2020 research paper from the Cairns Institute at JCU for anyone interested It’s basically an exploration of perceived need for crisis accommodation focused on the small rural area where I live. Older people were presented as a cohort in need and unsurprisingly this is largely apparent through anecdotal accounts from service staff, i.e. not captured in official data because few have formally applied for assistance and are unlikely to be on the Housing Register.
    The notable statistic here is that 78% of service referrals are for indigenous people which is really high given they only represent around 10% of the local population. Indigenous seniors are however even less visible because they usually live with family (albeit in overcrowded situations). Overcrowded extended family living situations are unfortunately very high risk for older women re increased risk from FV and elder abuse. There is definitely a data and knowledge gap around this and a lack of culturally safe services.
    We also have many at risk non-indigenous older people living on isolated properties etc. in substandard and unsafe housing, either they own it but can’t afford to maintain it or pay the mortgage, particularly if a partner dies; Or are renting from slum landlords ( eg farm outbuildings) taking advantage of the remoteness and current housing crisis. These seniors are hard to reach out to because they are not used to asking for assistance. They also have a different set of disadvantages in that they usually have no family support.
    I’m hoping to gain some more insight from my volunteer work. I think it could be an opportunity to advocate for a branch of HAL up here, maybe pipe dreaming.
    Regarding community housing I was very interested to read Claire Hurren’s paper from the HAAG site comparing community and social housing. Release of DOH stock to community housing agencies seems to be seen as a widely supported move in this area but there are issues around allocation and transparency from my ( and plenty of others) observation.
    Cheers and look forward to tomorrows meeting, Frances

    • Thanks for your report Frances. You have a gift for getting to the nub of the issue with evidence and stats. I hadn’t heard the term “slum land lord” before!