Kyra is the Rotorua Daily Post's police, emergency and court reporter.

Baby boomers facing homelessness (+video)

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Baby boomers are coming to the age of retirement, and research shows many are not financially prepared.

Alan Johnson, social policy analyst from The Salvation Army gave a presentation in Rotorua yesterday on the housing challenges baby boomers could face in the near future.

The presentation, held at Rotorua Bainbridge Centre, was on his 2015 report, 'Homeless Baby Boomers: Housing poorer baby boomers in their retirement' which considers the housing futures of the around 200,000 people who in 2030 will be over 65 and will not own their home.

Baby boomers are considered the generation born immediately following World War II between 1946 and 1965.

During his presentation Mr Johnson pointed out New Zealand's retirement policies were set in a time of high rates of home ownership.

He said they would have been based on the proposition most people owned their homes at retirement so had the wealth of their home to rely on in old age.

"But, there has been a structural shift in housing ownership and wealth distribution with younger people having reduced access to home ownership and the wealth creation it offers.

"This structural shift has affected younger baby boomers - especially those born between 1960 to 1965.

"This means that increasing numbers of baby boomers will retire as tenants and most likely will struggle to meet their housing costs in their old age.



"This creates the real prospect of increasing homelessness amongst the elderly over the next 10 to 15 years," he said.

He said at this stage there would be about 200,000 baby boomers who were "really going to struggle".

"We need to do something about this issue or we will see old people living on the street," Mr Johnson said.

Rotorua Grey Power president Russell Hallam said housing for the elderly was an issue the organisation had been trying to raise.

"There is an increasing amount of people who are coming up to retirement and many have not been able to make provisions."

He said Grey Power was appealing to politicians, the Rotorua Lakes Council, and the government for more social housing.

"Grey Power is looking at it as a national issue. If the older generation can be accounted
for now it will be good for the next generations to come," Mr Hallam said.

Bay of Plenty numbers:

Population aged over 65
2006: 39,000
2015: 52,3000

Proportion of population over 65
2006: 14.8 per cent
2015: 18.2 per cent

Median age
2006: 37.7
2015:40.7

- Rotorua Daily Post

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