Buried under a mountain of headlines about the housing struggles of younger Australians are the housing experiences of over-65s. In the context of an ageing population, poor home affordability in some areas and the increasing marginalisation of social housing, The Australian Dream is a particularly timely investigation of older Australians’ experiences. Rigorously researched and highly accessible, the book draws on a range of local and international studies to explore the relationship between housing and key indicators of quality of life – consumption, social inclusion, and health and wellbeing – for those reliant on the age pension. At its core are interviews with 125 older Australians – a mix of private renters, social housing tenants and homeowners. Their words highlight the particular resonance of ‘home’ to over-65s and the important role that secure, affordable housing can play in sustaining communities, and ensuring social inclusion and wellbeing among our seniors. Most of all, these interviews capture the sharp divide between insecure, financially stressed and socially isolated private renters and their counterparts living in secure-tenure social housing or mortgage-free homes. Given fundamental shifts in the housing landscape over recent decades, Alan Morris’ work makes a clear and convincing case for governments to develop new policies that prioritise secure, affordable housing for all older Australians.
Alan Morris is a core member of UTS’s Institute for Public Policy and Governance where his research focuses on housing policy, housing tenure in older households and social policy.