Seniors in crisis: 42 per cent of over 60s are facing this housing dilemma

When we reach pension age, most of us would hope to have our housing sorted, but the reality is that

When we reach pension age, most of us would hope to have our housing sorted, but the reality is that 42 per cent of senior Australians are struggling.

This week is WA Seniors Week and a new report by peak housing body Shelter WA has shown there’s a growing risk of homelessness and “extreme” housing-related stress among the ageing population.

More people of retirement age are still paying off a mortgage when they retire than ever before – 42 per cent.

“After a lifetime of working, raising families and caring for others, housing stress will be an unforeseen problem for many in their senior years,” the report says.

Those most at risk of homelessness were those living in rental properties as an average single age pensioner in rental accommodation would fall $12 short of meeting their food, rent and living expenses each week.


Shelter WA executive officer Chantal Roberts said housing was crucial for people to stay health and engaged in the community as they aged, so the report reinforced the need for a State seniors housing strategy, reports Yahoo.

She said the report should serve as a reminder to everyone – not just seniors – of the need to consider their long-term housing choices to avoid this type of stress in their later years.

“However, without systemic intervention from all levels of Government, this report finds that housing stress for many older … Australians will be inevitable,” Ms Roberts said.

The report outlines a need for a national affordable housing strategy and more diversity in affordable seniors housing options.

“An increase in the supply of social and affordable housing and specialised tenancy support services for seniors would have a positive impact at a local level,” the report says.


Tell us, has paying your mortgage been a struggle? Do you fear what will happen in the future? What should be done to help seniors that are having a difficult time?


  1. after caring for family for so many years i like so many carers face a future on the streets. got to much money for govt housing ( id like to know where it is ) even after 8 years on the waiting list. cant get a loan for a fridge on a carer pittance let alone a house. no wonder im on anti depressants

  2. Carol Marshall  

    Talking to a homeless man in the CBD recently I was shocked to hear him say the growing number of homeless in the city were the elderly. We have a duty and responsibility to our citizens – especially our seniors – and it is time authorities come up with cheap and affordable shelters for them. For instance take a kleaf out of some European countries books and convert old buses, trams and train carriages into housing and place them on public land that is not being utilised. How hard is that! Many trades and charities would volunteer to convert these structures. I am so outraged at this state of affairs.

  3. June whitehouse  

    We thought we were on track for a decent retirement. We had sold two rental homes, put the money into a managed fund, then started the process of buying another rental home, with the idea of selling that when we retired. To purchase this rental home we had to take some of our managed fund for the deposit. Between our finance being approved and full settlement the financial crisis hit. We were ill advised to hang on as all would be good but when we applied to get the money for our deposit, we were told there wasn’t enough there, we had lost almost all of our managed fund. We had to borrow extra for the deposit as we couldn’t get out of the contract. Months without tenants, then tenants who didn’t pay rent, then tenants who paid but wrecked the house. During this time we were both working, as we still are, we were living off credit cards just to get through.we ended up selling our home and spending most of the profit on making the rental home liveable again so that we could live there. We are still struggling to pay off some of the credit cards and bills. My husband has just turned 60 I am 65. If I give up working I apparently qualify for $50 per fortnight pension. We still have a mortgage so can’t see a time when we can think of retiring. It really makes us wonder wether choosing to be hard working, tax payers all our life has really been worthwhile.

  4. Barb  

    The GFC impacted heavily on my super balance just as I was reaching retirement age. I still had a reasonable amount of super on retirement and some extra funds from a generous early (only a few months) retirement package. After paying out our mortgage, covering the costs of downsizing to a more suitable property, and buying a reliable car there was little enough left of my savings. My husband had virtually no super. We have to eat into our remaining capital each year to cover the costs the pension does not and, when this runs out, much sooner than anticipated with all the recent changes, we will be totally dependent on welfare payments. I fear the increase in GST that is coming – it will further exacerbate our financial situation.

  5. Pamela  

    If you can’t afford to live alone or as a couple, sharing with a good friend or family is one option.
    I was living relatively cheaply in the country (renting) but had to move to Newcastle for cancer treatment and have been sharing with a friend who was finding his home a financial strain.
    Works well for us both.

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