More than 400 people heard from an impressive line-up of speakers from near and far as part of the milestone Lady Musgrave Trust Forum on Homelessness and Older Women.

Zonta Club of Brisbane member and Advocacy Committee Chair Susan Davies (above) was one of many who tuned in to hear the speakers who had a keen awareness of the severity of homelessness in older women, from Dr Kay Patterson, Federal Age Discrimination Commissioner to the QUT Women’s Butterfly Project the focus was fully on the issue. Innovative ideas were put forward by Jeanette Large,  Women’s Property Initiative (Victoria), and Maria Brenton, of the Co-Housing Network UK (available post-seminar from the Trust’s website).

The Trust trialled an ambitious technological method of delivery for the webinar– YouTube, live studio chat, lived experience video, pre-taped interviews and live Chat questions. Most(!) things worked and glitches were dealt with seamlessly.

The forum  was a call to action for the 400 plus people logged on. Representatives from many women’s activist groups including 10 different Zonta clubs followed the program.       It also marked the launch of the new Handy Guide for Older Women, sponsored by the Zonta Club of Brisbane.   

Here are some of the quotes from key speakers –

“Homelessness is a Human Rights issue” – Kay Patterson Federal Age Discrimination Commissioner

“We need a re-set switch” – Kay Patterson

One in 8 women in regional areas is experiencing homelessness” – Charlotte Dillon YWCA

Life is about relationships” – Hon Luke Howarth, Fed Asst Minister for Housing

Homeless older  women don’t have complex needs, they have had traditional housing histories and just need safe, secure and affordable housing” – Kobi Maglen, HAAG Victoria

Everyone knows an older woman at risk of homelessness” – Jenny Clark, Lady Musgrave Trust director

“We found over-50’s housing is a viable option for older women” – Rachel Watson , Watson and Associates

The ABS statistics say homelessness in older women increased by 31% between censuses, but in Victoria it increased by 67%” – Jeanette Large, Women’s Property Initiative, (Victoria)

High Touch/High Tech” – Professor Melissa Bull, Women’s Butterfly Project

For those who missed the live webinar, here is the link to watch it at your leisure (including the missing pieces from the live version) –