The number of older women who are finding themselves homeless has doubled in the past four years.
That’s according to research from the Council to Homeless Persons, as they use the information to raise awareness of a growing crisis in Australia that night not be as noticeable as you think.
The councils chief executive Jenny Smith said the hidden types of homeless are the majority of the problem, reports The Guardian.
Only around six per cent of those that are homeless live on the streets. Many instead rely on family and friends, and sometimes on the kindness of strangers, for couchsurfing or instead sleep in their car;
“As a community, it may be easier to ignore these hidden forms of homelessness. But as you are acutely aware, they are very real experiences, and very damaging,” Jenny Smith has written in a speech she is presenting in Sydney today, to coincide with national homelessness week.
“The instability of not having a permanent, safe home is disruptive and eroding, no matter what form it takes.”
There are many reasons someone might find themselves homeless. It could be health issues or gambling problems, for example leading to money worries or personal issues like domestic abuse.
The numbers are quite alarming, especially for women over the age of 50. Their statistics say couchsurfing rose from 885 to 1,618 between 2012-13 and 2015-16. The number of women who reported sleeping in cars jumped from 161 to 257.
The information comes from analysis of Australian Institute of Health and Welfare data.
But what can be done to prevent the problem?
Smith says too many are turned away from specialist homelessness services, so she is calling for more affordable housing.