Concern has been expressed about the increasing number of older people who are becoming homeless or are living in unsecure accommodation.
ALONE, the national charity that supports older people to age at home, is calling on the Government to provide additional supports to older people experiencing housing difficulties.
It made the call after it learned of an older woman who was discharged from hospital into homelessness. It said that currently, it is working with hundreds of older people living in unsuitable or unstable accommodation, or who have notices to quit their rented accommodation.
"We often talk about the problems of delayed discharge from hospital settings, where an older person stays in hospital for longer than necessary because the appropriate step-down supports aren't available to them, but an older person being discharged onto the streets is simply unacceptable," commented ALONE CEO, Seán Moynihan.
He said that while housing problems are difficult at any age, they are particularly difficult for older people who are already vulnerable. Currently, there are over 250 older people on ALONE's housing waiting list - the highest number ever.
"This year we have worked with increasing numbers of older people who have found themselves with nowhere to go. Many of the older people we work with who have experienced homelessness are apprehensive to use hostels and other emergency accommodation options, and are staying in inappropriate accommodation and living conditions," Mr Moynihan explained.
Figures show that the number of people aged 70 and older applying for social housing increased by almost 10% last year.
ALONE is calling on the Government to do more in this area, including tackling the issue of long-term leases.
"We commend the work of the volunteers, homelessness charities and Dublin City Council for working to find a speedy solution for this woman. However, we believe that unless urgent action is taken, this situation will continue to get worse.
"We are calling on the Government and policy makers to take immediate action on this issue in order to ensure that tragic situations like this are not repeated," Mr Moynihan said.
ALONE is also calling on members of the public to support older people who are living in unsuitable conditions by donating and supporting ALONE's work. For more information on the charity, or to donate, click here.
If you have concerns about your own wellbeing or the wellbeing of someone else, contact ALONE on 0818 222 024.
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