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237Author:Article Title Independent Living Units: A Social Housing Option for Older Persons

By Sean Mcnelis and Tania Herbert


Public and community housing as housing options for older people with relatively low income and low assets are well documented. However, other not-for-profit organisations also provide housing for this group. Commonly known as independent living units (ILUs), they are mainly owned and managed by organisations within the aged care sector. As a significant housing option, ILUs add diversity and constitute one of the major policy responses to current and future changing socio-demographics. Most ILU organisations and the stock they manage developed as the result of subsidies from the Commonwealth government between 1954 and 1986 under the Aged Persons ’ Homes Act. ILUs constitute the first phase of the retirement village industry. This paper draws on a national survey of ILU organisations undertaken as part of an Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) research project. It highlights the importance of ILUs. It presents a national profile of ILU organisations. It discusses the implications of this data for the future of ILUs, noting that they are at a watershed. Over the next decade, the organisations face major challenges as they consider the future of their ILUs and whether they withdraw from managing ILUs. This will have significant implications for older people seeking social housing, for public housing providers, and for the delivery of community aged care services to older renters

Year: 2015
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