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Edward

Edward Bullitis

Year of Award: 2015 Award State: South Australia Health And Medicine > Aged Care
Social Welfare > Homelessness
To investigate services and practices relevant to homeless individuals exhibiting premature ageing - Canada, USA, UK, Ireland
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Through the experiences of the Fellowship, there are international commonalities impacting on homelessness, relevant to the Australian context.

• Real estate costs are escalating worldwide
• Rental costs are escalating worldwide (and at a faster rate than incomes)
• Impact of Air BnB is reducing rental availability
• Vacant investment properties are untenanted
• Demand for city-centric housing exceeds supply 

Issues for Service Providers and individuals who are experiencing chronic homeless and exhibiting characteristics of premature ageing: 

• The aged cohort of individuals who are 50+ is ever increasing and there is a disparity between individual need and service entry criteria.
• There is no formal international network to share evidence based practice regarding individuals who are chronic homeless and exhibiting characteristics of premature ageing
• Many people may engage with services but do not sustain engagement due to multiple and complex expectations and requirements that must be met prior to housing or support.
• Accessibility and affordability of housing for this cohort of people, who often have multiple and complex needs, is generally costly and difficult to attain, particularly if they require subsidised housing or accessible housing due to mobility/frailty.
• These individuals also have additional health needs that may act as barriers in maintaining housing i.e. unstable health and regular hospitalisations. 

Recommendations re Homeless Sector 

• The need for flexible interpretation of age criteria for people experiencing homelessness.
• Creating an Australian /International Community of Practice that convenes as a professional body, to address senior homelessness with a focus upon premature ageing.
• Creating an international homelessness dictionary/thesaurus
• Developing a strategy to advance the housing first approach as a key intervention for people who are homeless and exhibiting premature ageing would be beneficial.
• Providing more and varied options of low barrier (low threshold) housing, at an individual and group level, that would also cater for partners, pets and possessions.
• The provision of permanent, affordable and accessible housing linked to a comprehensive array of supportive services is essential.
• Consideration given to create Tiny House Villages or Skaeve Huse Models
• Consideration given to develop Navigation Centres
• Street or Service Guides/Booklets/Brochures for people who are homeless should also include a section on “rights” and “laws that may affect you”.
• State and/or Commonwealth Governments to consider introducing a Homeless Bill of Rights and a Homelessness Ombudsman
• Cities allocating cemetery space for a memorial for “street people”
• Collaborating with camping music festivals for donations of tents, air mattresses, sleeping bags, blankets, food, and clothing, to be used by homeless services for distribution.
• In the pursuit of building inclusive communities, public architecture (e.g. benches, bus shelters, rubbish bins etc.) needs to be designed to reflect inclusive nature of community rather than being exclusive or defensive. 

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