This Homelessness Week, we’re sharing real stories about older Australians facing homelessness. Here’s Ana's story.
Ana is 78 years of age. She had been living in private rental following the break down of her marriage. The rent was increased and she could no longer afford to pay it, so she moved out. She spent several months moving between her children, who were living in Queensland, Canberra and Sydney. Ana had lived and worked in the Illawarra for many years, and decided to return in the hope of being able to find affordable accommodation that she could settle in. A friend of a friend rented her a room, but she could only stay for a few weeks until she found something else.
Ana faced significant barriers in being able to secure affordable, appropriate accommodation. Some of the barriers she faced included speaking limited English, restricted mobility, reliance upon public transport, limited finances and a poor rental history. As time went on, Ana was asked to leave the room she was renting and found herself facing homelessness.
With the support of IRT Foundation, Ana approached Housing NSW and was put in temporary accommodation. This was difficult for Ana. She required accommodation with minimal stairs and needed to be close to public transport. It was important for her to remain in the city centre as she knew her way around and was familiar with public transport routes. Because of this, Ana was placed in a caravan park which was a 45 minute bus trip back to the city. She was concerned she wouldn’t be able to find her way around and was fearful about staying there alone.
Ana remained at the caravan park for two weeks. From there she stayed in crisis accommodation at a local women’s refuge. Ana benefited from the support of the case workers and was able to familiarise herself with the area. However, she struggled with having to share a bathroom, toilet and kitchen. Ana enjoys socialising, but she felt quite isolated at the refuge as she was much older than any of the other residents.
Ana remained at the refuge for three months until she was offered and accepted an independent living unit in an IRT Lifestyle Community. Ana was looking forward to being able to connect with old friends and make new friendships. She was looking forward to unpacking her belongings once and for all. Her unit was affordable, secure and appropriate.
Ana has been in her home now for over eight months. She's house proud and has enjoyed having her family visit with her in her new home. Ana enjoys sitting in the gardens, attending community social events, catching the bus into town, and sitting and chatting with other residents. She's one of the lucky ones.
9 August 2017