You may have seen Ross Gittins article this week Our oldies have never had it so good. Apart from the tabloid headline, the Fairfax economics editor made some good points about who amongst older Australians has missed out while others have prospered recently. As we keep repeating here at Fix Pension Poverty, the single most helpful thing the Government could do is help people stuck in private rent whilst struggling on the Age Pension.
Ross Gittins was referring to some research recently released by the Centre for Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR). You can check out the report here.
Australian old age poverty is low when taking account of housing, but the system fails renters: A quarter
of pensioners who rent alone spent on average less than $6 on food per day. An increase in rental assistance
payments of 40% would reduce lone renter poverty by almost 20 percentage points, at a cost of $380m
Our own research has indicated that an increase in the maximum rate of Commonwealth Rent Assistance of 50% for singles and 30% for couples is required to bridge the gap between people on the Age Pension who are renting and those who live in their own homes. Of course, this would not address the lack of housing security or tenants rights, but would address affordability. You can check out our policy proposal at the Fix Pension Poverty website.
This article on the CEPAR research is also worth a read.
Of course, we know that mountains of research and evidence will never be enough to convince the Australian Government to take adequate action to address the crisis faced by older renters, which has also been linked to the increase in homelessness amongst older women.
That's why The Benevolent Society and National Seniors have teamed up for the Fix Pension Poverty campaign, to make these issues a priority of the Australians Government.