Banks don’t lend to older women – it’s a truism that is part of the homelessness risk for older women. Diving deep about the reasons behind it will be the subject of a research grant won jointly by Zonta and QShelter, the Queensland peak body for community housing with whom Zonta is affiliated.

Called the Gold Star Project, it’s part of Zonta’s advocacy push to reduce the homelessness risk amongst older women, currently growing at 50% every four years. The $18 000 Mercy Foundation grant will fund a project officer to investigate current finance “products” and possible new one to assist older women.

The collaborative action research approach of the Gold Star Project will invite cross sector participation from government and private financial institutions, researchers, community organisations inclusive of housing providers and support. The HOW Movement (Housing for Older Women) under the auspices of QShelter has established connections with supporters from organisations and other relevant stakeholders will also be asked to contribute to the Gold Star Project.The aim of documentation of the Gold Star Project including its processes and outcomes will provide valuable information to others across Australia who are keen similar products available in their states. Stakeholders with the authority to drive new product development will be targeted in the action research processes of the Project.

Key personnel are Q Shelter’s Maggie Shambrook and Zonta District 22’s Susan Davies (Zonta Club of Brisbane Advocacy chairperson).

The Gold Star report will be delivered in October this year.