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Study looks at housing needs of older, single women


Sharlene King
10 November 2011
Single women aged 45 years and over who don’t own their own home are being invited to participate in a Southern Cross University study looking at the housing needs of older women in the Northern Rivers.

Dr Yvonne Hartman and Dr Sandy Darab, from the School of Arts and Social Sciences, who are conducting the study, said there was a big gap in knowledge about the housing needs of women in regional areas and particularly groups such as sole parents and single, older women who don’t own their own home.

“There is preliminary information that suggests single older women, who do not own their own home, are increasingly at risk of becoming homeless or inadequately housed in later life,” Dr Hartman said.

“We know there is a housing affordability crisis in the Northern Rivers region and single, older women who don’t own their own home are looking at a very precarious old age. When these women stop working, they may be facing poverty if not homelessness.”

Dr Hartman said it was difficult to quantify the number of women in this situation.

“The real problem is that it’s a hidden issue and it hasn’t come before the policy makers,” she said.

Dr Darab said: “What we are trying to find out is how women are coping with that circumstance and how it impacts more broadly on other areas of their lives. We also want to understand how they came to be in that situation.

“There is a perception that women get the family home following a divorce, but that is not always the case. We also know that the older the women are, the less likely they are to have superannuation.”

Dr Hartman said while their study was limited to the Northern Rivers region, it was likely to have relevance to other rural and regional locations.

The researchers are looking for single women, aged 45 years and over, who do not own their home to participate in the study.

Anyone interested can contact Dr Yvonne Hartman on 02 6620 3043 or email [email protected] or Dr Sandy Darab on 02 6620 3028, email [email protected]

The study has been approved by Southern Cross University’s Human Research Ethics Committee and confidentiality is ensured.
Photo: Dr Yvonne Hartman (left) with Dr Sandy Darab.