Housing Shortages and Affordability
For several years there’s been plenty of stories in the media about housing shortages and the affordability of the properties that are on the market. Nothing seems to change – and statistics indicate that the fastest growing cohort in housing stress are senior solo women!!
I am one of these. I left a toxic marriage when I was 65 years old. With no money, though later I did get $8000, but with a suitcase and a computer. I went house sitting for several years, and have done plenty in the last 9 years. The reality is that in all that time, I have not been able to find an affordable unit/house/apartment that I can live”forever”.
Is it just the Ageing Population?
With the Royal Commission on Aged Care and the terrible stories about the cruelty and abuse that many older people have suffered at the hands of those who were supposed to be taking care of them.
I suspect that the difficult housing situation is similar for those elderly people wanting to find safe, suitable, affordable housing. No one cares about older people – do they?
My Housing Story
There are many women with a similar story. Mine is just one of many! You’d think after 45 years of marriage, having our own home (which we were paying off), a husband who had good well-paying jobs, and plenty of superannuation, and a good income, there would be some assets left for our senior years. I was to learn that he was a gambler, as well as an alcoholic. Secretly, he had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars.
In the end, the booze killed him.
For many of the years since I left, I was house sitting. No rent, but the inconvenience of packing up and moving every few weeks or months and being isolated from friends and family. Actually I enjoyed much of it, but it soon came to an end when my health was an issue.
I have rented on two occasions. The “experts” say to pay just 30% of your income on rent/housing. My experience has been that I had to spent almost 70% on rent. It was not easy to live on the rest and I have had many difficult times and had to use my savings.
A solo woman renting is problematic too. I’ve had no end of challenges getting maintenance done, and often had the feeling that I was being badly treated because I was a female.
I have learned that it is very difficult to find suitable housing for me. There is no “one-stop-shop” for housing for seniors. The majority of housing for seniors is high-end houses/apartments for sale. I cannot afford it. I have contacted many organisations that claim to help seniors in housing – but it is all about purchasing. I’m left out there.
It is so hard to deal with many real estate agents. One place that looked good was a waste of time. The agent didn’t show for the inspection. Then I find out there wasn’t a place to rent, despite it still being advertised.
In the past few weeks, I have applied to Public Housing (but they are not accepting any requests for housing), and anyway, there’s a 10-year waiting list. I’ve contacted many agents, and on the recommendation of politicians, contacted others, but the rent is 85% of the pension.
Bleed them Dry until they Die?
I might be in my mid 70’s but I am very active. Many of the seniors’ places provide all meals – and as I am often out and about at one of my groups, or meetings, and will seldom be there for any meals, I still have to pay! Really? OK, I know they have to make a profit, but…. I understand that if older people are happy and safe, there is less cost to the public health budget!! Does anyone understand this?
Photo by Liana Mikah from Unsplash.com
My Wish List
I know that some of my wishes can be problematic. Because I am still driving so need a safe space for my vehicle. I am tall, so I am aware of some challenges in homes that affect tallies. I can’t walk up or down stairs – I have leg issues. This girl has her own furniture – many places are furnished. I don’t do single beds – I’m often too tall for them.
My preference is to be fairly close to my daughter. She is very supportive but I don’t want her to lose working hours to travel to help me, as she does now.
Oh, and wouldn’t it be nice to just pay around 30% of my pension. Then I could afford to go to the movies occasionally (I haven’t been for nearly a year), I could go out to dinner (luckily I have been twice this year, but for years it has not been on my agenda!)
I wonder what the immediate future holds for me?