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Rental Market is Failing Older Australians

on the Monday, May 6, 2024

By Guest Author Benetas CEO Sandra Hills OAM

Anglicare Australia has recently released its Rental Affordability Snapshot which highlights that the rental market is failing older Australians.

The Snapshot surveyed more than 45,000 listings and found that:

  • Just 0.2% of rentals are affordable for a person on the Age Pension. This is a record-low result.
  • A couple on the Age Pension can afford 1% of listings. This is down from 3.2% in 2019.
  • Affordability for all households on the disability and age pensions is down, and has been trending down for years.

As a leading provider of residential and in-home aged care services across Victoria, Benetas see first-hand the impact of the lack of affordable rental options for older Victorians. As the ageing population increases, and the aged care system struggles to cope with demand, older Victorians are increasingly being encouraged to stay at home longer.

Older Victorians, many of whom are on the Age Pension, face significant issues with rental affordability, significantly limiting their options and ability to age in place.

Given their unique health needs, older Victorians also struggle to find affordable rental accommodation that has the ability to appropriately support the physical challenges they face with regards to mobility and accessibility.

To help address this critical issue, we recently announced that Benetas will be refurbishing its existing, ageing independent living units to support those in the Bendigo area. The existing units, built around 1960, will be converted into 38 two-bedroom units to be used as affordable housing for people aged 55 and older.

Older single women – the fastest growing cohort of homeless Australians – will be prioritised during this process with the first residents expected to move in by the end of 2024.

Residents will also have access to communal facilities within the site and the refurbishment will include a complete internal and external makeover with new walls, ceilings, flooring, a new kitchen, bathroom, laundry and wardrobes.

The new retirement community will help to meet the rising demand for affordable housing across Victoria, particularly in regional areas. Seniors without the means to enter the housing and rental markets will be the community’s target demographic.

We are extremely proud of this refurbishment and what it will do to address housing shortages for older people in and around Bendigo.

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