“Funding, funding, and more funding”: Social housing company wants more support to house older women after village development test

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The CEO of Brisbane Housing Company, a Not-For-Profit supplying social and affordable housing, has called for more funding and coordination from government so it can support older Australians – particularly women – in finding a home.

Speaking at the Housing for the Aged Action Group’s At Risk Online Forum 2021, Older women facing homelessness in Australia: from awareness to action, BHC CEO Rebecca Oelkers (pictured) said single older women represent a significant proportion of its social housing tenants.

“Whilst we haven’t designed specific housing for women, the reality is that the vast majority of our older residents are women.” 

Oelkers said BHC is committed to providing affordable housing for older Australians in need, with apartments being rented at 75% of market value or less, but needs “funding, funding, and more funding” from government to realise its goals.

A recent development, Arbor Sherwood – BHC’s first foray into retirement villages – made news for selling apartments at around half the median value for the area; according to Oelkers, its three payment models, which combine up-front payments with weekly fees, allow buy-in with smaller amounts of equity.

“What we realised at BHC was that in fact there were a number of seniors, and particularly women, who might have a little bit of equity in a home, not a lot.

“They needed to be able to utilise that equity in a way that was actually going to get them a home and a roof over their head and long-term, secure, affordable accommodation,” she said.