Secure housing on the agenda
The future for culturally diverse seniors seeking secure housing is looking brighter following a community forum on April 14.
Around 100 representatives from local councils, health, housing and community service organisations and older people from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) backgrounds attended the forum in Wantirna South, organised by Villa Maria Catholic Homes (VMCH), Knox City Council and Housing for the Aged Action Group (HAAG).
The aim of the event was to raise awareness of homelessness among older people from CALD backgrounds and how to support them to find secure, affordable housing.
VMCH Case Manager Amy Yuen said a highlight of the forum was hearing personal stories from two seniors who’d faced hardship in finding secure housing.
“The audience was in tears after hearing their sad experiences. And rooming house owners commented that the system shouldn’t operate in that way. It was very powerful.”
Iboja Farkash (pictured left), who was forced to move home ten times in ten years thanks to failed promises from real estate agents of long-term leases, said she shared her story to “give back and let others know that it is possible to get a home for life”.
Amy (pictured above, far right, with fellow VMCH staff) said the forum was also successful in linking many at-risk seniors with support services they didn’t know existed and educating service providers about the real needs of older renters.
“We received a lot of positive feedback and will soon have a working group review of the forum to discuss future directions for addressing the issue.”