The 2011 state of Sydney report, titled ‘Home truths: Impacts of housing insecurity on women across the life course’ was launched by the Hon. Tanya Plibersek, Federal Minister for Human Services and Social Inclusion, on Wednesday, 7 September.
ANGLICARE Sydney Council members, staff, volunteers and clients along with Government and Sydney diocesan representatives gathered at St Philip’s York Street, Sydney for the launch.
‘Home Truths’ looks at the experience of housing insecurity for single young mothers, single women over 50 and older women caring for a son or daughter with a disability.
“When inadequate income and unaffordable housing come together, there is a perfect storm of disadvantage and vulnerability” said Sue King, Director Advocacy & Partnerships. “‘Home Truths’ is unique because it looks at the issue of housing across generations of women and socio-economic groups; secure housing is not just about poverty, but choice and opportunity”.
ANGLICARE Sydney undertook the study because staff members in Community Care’s Carramar Early Intervention program were concerned by the significant difficulty of finding affordable housing for the young mothers who were exiting their program.
‘Home Truths’ was produced by the Advocacy & Partnerships Social Policy and Research unit, using ANGLICARE’s own Emergency Relief data, in-depth client interviews and academic commentary. The research on housing insecurity for older single women over 50 is among the first of its kind in Australia.
“The key finding from ‘Home Truths’ is that having a place to call home opens up a wealth of opportunities for the future – it gives significant stability to help break the cycle of disadvantage”, added Sue King.
In her address at the launch, Minister Plibersek acknowledged the rich social and economic legacy of churches and Christian organisations serving the vulnerable and the need to confront prejudice against social and public housing developments.
Two women who experienced housing insecurity in different ways also spoke. Michelle Keegan was supported by Carramar for nearly four years and has achieved stable, full-time employment and accommodation. Susan Ainger, who is an older parent carer, reflected on how stable, independent housing for her daughter has helped achieve social and economic wellbeing for both herself and her daughter.
ANGLICARE is asking state and federal governments to invest in models of social and public housing that meet identified need. Temporary crisis accommodation programs like Carramar are proving particularly effective in achieving stability for vulnerable families. ‘Home Truths’ also calls for an urgent increase in the Newstart payment for people over 50 and more accommodation options for young adults with a disability.
Copies of ‘Home Truths: Impacts of Housing Insecurity on Women Across the Life Course’ can be obtained at www.stateofsydney.org.au