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Research explores stress of unaffordable and insecure housing on older renters

Research explores stress of unaffordable and insecure housing on older renters

Photo by Chalmers Butterfield

Full article issued by Western Sydney University.

Research by an ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) recipient, Dr Emma Power, who is based at Western Sydney University (WSU), has found that older women who rent are struggling in an insecure and unaffordable rental market. A combination of high housing costs and low incomes leaves many living in substandard housing and unable to afford necessities like food and energy bills.

With the number of older Australians who rent projected to increase over the next decade, the report calls for urgent action to address rental affordability and security on a national scale.

Dr Power, who is based in the WSU School of Social Sciences and Institute for Culture and Society, says that older women’s experiences are a warning of the risks the current housing crisis poses to Australia's growing group of older renters.

“While affordability and security are concerns for all renters, they are especially vital for older renters on low, fixed incomes facing uncertain futures in the private rental market,” says Dr Power.

Women reported ongoing stress and anxiety due to having limited money to fund moves, challenges finding new rentals they could afford, losing community connections and access to health providers, and having to downsize personal belongings to reduce moving costs.

“These people need access to secure, affordable housing that meets minimum condition standards.”

Dr Power says that the urgency of the recommendations is heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic, in which housing plays a central role to controlling the spread.


Image Credit: Chalmers Butterfield (CC BY 2.5)

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