There’s been a rise in the number of homeless women over the age of 55.

Experts say the reasons behind homelessness for this group are often different, but affordable housing is crucial.

Dinah Boucher reports.


Today she’s smiling, secure and at home.

But life hasn’t always been so easy.

Ruby Samuel, Common Ground Housing resident: “Me and my two kids and my animals lived in the toilet, the Sandgate toilet.”

It’s a similar story for Cheryl Desmarais.

Cheryl Desmarais, Common Ground housing resident: “I was scared and I left. I was on the street for one day. I had nowhere to go.”

Now living at Common Ground housing the women have a place to call their own.

The project provides affordable living for its residents, who find themselves in this situation often through no fault of their own.

Karyn Walsh, Micah Projects Coordinator: “We see women now who have had fairly stable lives, in relationships, a partner dies, they don’t have the same income, they can’t afford the housing they’re in.”

Latest statistics suggest around 20,000 Queenslanders are homeless.

Ruby and Cheryl are the lucky ones.

With countless unnamed others still affected by homelessness the housing minister says he has plans to address the issue.

Today he inspected the progress of a new affordable housing complex for seniors in New Farm.

Tim Mander, Housing Minister: “We’re really committed to reducing that homelessness rate by half by 2020.”

For Ruby and Cheryl this housing project has changed their lives.

Ruby Samuel, Common Ground housing resident: “I don’t like it. I love it.”

Cheryl Desmarais, Common Ground housing resident: “Aw I’ve got lots of goals. You reach a certain age and you think life is for living now.”

Dinah Boucher, QUT News.