The Queensland Government has listened to women and announced a $14 million fund to build new homes and deliver specialised housing support services to older women, ensuring they have the security and stability of a home.

Zonta Club of Brisbane member Susan Davies, also President of Sharing with Friends and a member of the Housing Older Women (HOW) movement, said the announcement would help fund innovative housing solutions.

“Housing Minister Leeanne Enoch has embraced Imaginative approaches to solving this horrendous issue of older Womens housing,” Susan said. “Public/private initiatives (like this funding) will spread solutions a lot further than relying on just social housing (as vital as it is!).

“Queensland can be proud of this breakthrough approach and the fact that the Government has  listened to Sharing with Friends and women of lived experience.”

 As part of the Housing Outcomes for Older Women Initiative $8 million will build new homes designed for and by older women and $5.94 million to establish a specialised housing support hub.

Minister Enoch said: “Older women are the fastest growing group to experience homelessness in Australia and our unprecedented investment in social and affordable housing will shift the dial to ensure the most vulnerable cohorts across our communities have the rights supports in place.

“The Department of Communities, Housing and Digital Economy (DCHDE) has been working with a sponsor group comprising members from the Housing Older Women (HOW) Movement, Sharing with Friends and QShelter to co-design a package of support which is informed by women with lived experience.”

The specialist services hub will be a single-entry point that connects women to housing, homelessness, renting, health, and financial support services.

“We want to help women receive early intervention and assistance to avoid homelessness, navigate the service system and access coordinated housing and support options.

“The hub is the first of its kind in Queensland and signals a new era in the provision of information and support services to better meet the needs of at-risk older Queensland women.”

The Housing Outcomes for Older Women Initiative is being delivered in partnership with the Housing Older Women Movement, Sharing with Friends and QShelter. It is a step closer to older women being able to live in their forever home under innovative approaches such as Sharing With Friends, which would see five women live in a house as owner and sharing common areas.

Housing older women has been a key advocacy project for Zonta Club of Brisbane with Susan Davies also a member of the HOWZing committee made up of Zonta clubs across Queensland.

Women over the age of 55 are the fastest growing cohort of homeless people and there has been a 31% increase in this group between 2011 and 2016, while 44% of single women in Australia over 45 are on low and medium in their own home and are renting.

An advisory group consisting of older women with lived experience of homelessness and key stakeholders including the Housing Older Women Movement, QShelter and Sharing with Friends.

Caption: Susan Davies (right) with Meaghan Scanlon Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef and Minister for Science and Youth Affairs

Read the statement

Sharing with Friends

Read the Housing Initiative flyer