ILUs: the big picture

Melbourne researchers are issuing a national survey to gain a better understanding of social housing for older people.

Not-for-profit and community groups that operate independent living units (ILUs) are being urged to take part in a national survey to help paint a comprehensive picture of social housing for older Australians.

The survey is being conducted by researchers from Melbourne’s Swinburne University on behalf of Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA).

Information from the survey will also be shared with Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) and COTA, so that the organisations can offer further support ILU providers.

Researchers from Swinburne conducted research on ILUs six years ago but ACSA Project Officer, Lesley Dredge said more information is still needed.

“That report showed that some of the ILUs needed support not only for upgrades also for governance and planning for the future,” she said.

“Our big problem is that we don’t know where all the ILUs are. They were developed between the 1950s and the 1980s with two-to-one funding from the Commonwealth but once that finished there was no listing of any further developments that happened.”

It is estimated that there are currently more than 34,000 ILUs in operation which account for 30 per cent of social housing for the nation’s older people.

But experts warn that there is a lack of age appropriate social housing for elderly Australians.

“Some of our members have closed off or shut down their ILUs or they have had to use their own money to pay for upgrades which has meant they have had to charge ingoing residents and they have lost that social housing purpose,” said Ms Dredge.

She says the research will help ACSA to know how best to assist their members.

“Once we get a good directory of all of them, we are hoping to provide a range of assistance to the smaller providers that aren’t linked to major organisations. Once we know who they are, we can provide them with support,” she said.

Surveys must be completed by 19 November. Click here for more information.

Tags: acsa, cota, fahcsia, ilu, research, retirement-living, survey,

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