• Homelessness can happen to anyone

    Homelessness can happen to anyone

    This first week of August, we recognise National Homelessness Week.

    ‘Homelessness can happen to anyone,’ says Lynn Openshaw, Resthaven Senior Manager Service Development.

    ‘The State Government’s Future Direction for Homelessness report indicates nearly 20,000 people in South Australia are homeless, or at risk of homelessness.’

    ‘The notion of homelessness often recalls the stereotypical image of someone sleeping rough – on the streets, or in a park.

    ‘The reality is that most people using specialist homelessness services are women (60%) and nearly 30% are children – many staying in temporary accommodation, with family or friends, or in tenuous housing situations.

    ‘There is an increasing number of older people who find themselves in this situation, and older women at risk of homelessness is one of the fastest-growing cohorts.

    ‘The reasons why people seek assistance from Specialist Homelessness Services (SHS) might surprise you,’ Lynn explains.Middle aged woman smiling at camera

    ‘Shelter SA, the peak body for SA member organisations who are working directly with South Australians living on low incomes and experiencing homelessness, provided some statistics on SHS.  Accommodation issues, including housing crisis, inadequate or inappropriate dwelling conditions, or failed previous accommodation were reported by 52% of clients.’

    ‘More than one in four clients were affected by housing affordability stress (29%), while interpersonal and relationship issues affected more than half of all SHS clients (53%).’

    Working in partnership with Shelter SA, Resthaven is currently developing a housing assessment tool to help identify early indicators of housing stress, to prevent homelessness in our older clients., Shelter SA has also provided training to Resthaven’s Community Services and Regional Assessment Service staff, to help them understand homelessness and identify risk indicators.

    In addition, Resthaven has received expansion funding in regional areas for the Commonwealth Home Support Program service, Assistance with Housing and Care, which provides advocacy and linking support to people aged over 50 who are at risk of homelessness.

    ‘If you or someone you know is at risk of homelessness, Resthaven can assist through the Assistance with Care and Housing program. The program is designed for older people in tenuous housing situations, and provides advocacy and linking with support services.’

    To find out more, call 1300 13 66 33.

    Established in 1935, Resthaven is a South Australian not-for-profit aged care community service associated with the Uniting Church in Australia.

    Every day, Resthaven shares the lives and wisdom of older people and their carers, opening doors to the full range of aged care service options available.

    Services are provided throughout metropolitan Adelaide, the Adelaide Hills, Murraylands, Riverland, Fleurieu Peninsula, lower Barossa region and the Limestone Coast of South Australia.

    Have a look at respite for carers