Well, Good Evening to all and I hope that your Tuesday has been kind to you. We had a hot day here today but are having the best storm at the moment, I love the rain, everything smells so fresh and it cools down so quickly.
Tonight I am going to write about something that I was starting to get into just before I left Melbourne and when I got to New South Wales to return to University, I actually did become one of these women. I have done a little research into other countries and the United State of America’s data covers all age brackets and both genders. The United Kingdom is similar to Australia. Europe does not appear to be having this as a problem.
The rate of homeless older single women is steadily increasing, according to the Salvation Army. They have stated that women aged up to 70 are living in their cars, on the street or in any temporary accommodation they can find. They will all tell you stories of having tough times, but they never, ever approached any type of charity. There can be a great sense of shame, but the charities will say to them ‘there’s no shame and we are here to work with you and help you back on your feet.
Many have been living in cities in private rentals and their partner may have passed away, or there has been separation or divorce. Often there is not enough superannuation and the pension doesn’t fully pay their rent, let alone any living expenses, then we have those that have been housewives or mothers and don’t have any significant employment history. (from a Salvo leafo)
Then we have those who have raised their children and they have left home and the mother has no way of maintaining the house as her skills are limited, and don’t have any significant employment history. Many also have their age as a drawback to find any form of employment. Often there is illness as an issue (abusive relations) and because of the minimal government income raising their young, there was no private health cover. So they are left on their own.
This trend has been noted in a number of recent studies, including a joint report between The Salvation Army Australian Southern Territory and Swinburne University which states: “Single, older women in Australia have emerged as a group vulnerable to housing insecurity and as being in danger of homelessness in their old age.”
I was one of these women and was in a homeless shelter for 6 months just before my stroke, (I am still homeless, as the house I live in is leased by the kids) and I was not the only women at this centre. I did not have a car but one of the other people at the centre told me that many drive out of major cities to country areas looking for safe, cheap accommodation, but then find increased demand has pushed up costs and decreased housing availability.
The number of women is increasing and no one but the usual agencies is taking any notice. When I say to people that I was in a homeless shelter for nearly 6 months they laugh because they think I am just being silly.
It is a major issue that needs to be addressed. I worked from the age of 14 to 30 in the same industry and if I had been a bloke I would have been getting Super (women did not qualify for it back then), after the kids where born my husband left so it was my job to raise them, and I can tell you that every cent I got via any job I did or the government parenting payment was spent on raising the kids. Any thought I had for my older years was far from my mind.
Now at the age of 56, to find that no one has any time for me or any of my problems, sort of makes you really wonder just why the hell I keep repeating the rubbish to myself that the medical professional keep telling me to…