The Making Home series of events at the MPavilion turns attention to the ever-increasing number of older women at risk of homelessness, along with research and initiatives that aim to support these women. We are delighted that the series, curated by Tania Davidge, Sophie Dyring and Samantha Donnelly, includes a Parlour Salon.

Women over the age of 55 are the fastest growing cohort of homeless in Australia and current research estimates that there are over 400,000 women over the age of 45 at risk of homelessness. Many of these women have led productive lives and have had conventional housing histories. However, they find themselves facing homelessness in later life. How did we reach this point of crisis?

‘Making Home’ will tell the stories of women who find themselves in this situation. Sessions will unpack the issues and policies that have led to this crisis, talk to people who are working to prevent it and look at current research into providing homes for these women at risk.

Making Home also presents an installation by architects Samantha Donnelly and Sophie Dyring.  Sam and Sophie asked women with lived experience of homelessness what housing and home meant to them.  Their stories and circumstances are presented on a series of banners installed at the MPavilion that reflect women’s work to create comfort and privacy in their homes.

Drawing: Samantha Donnelly

Older Women at Risk of Homelessness

Katrina Raynor, Fiona Yorke, The Hon Dr Kay Patterson AO, Jo Waite and Tania Davidge

Sun 27 March, 3pm—4.30pm

Women who find themselves at risk of homelessness in later life have often led productive lives and have had conventional housing histories. What factors have placed them at risk of homelessness and what can we do to help?

This discussion will address these questions from a personal, social and human rights perspective. It will unpack the issues and policies that have created this crisis and outline pathways for advocacy and action.

The conversation is followed by afternoon tea to extend the conversation with the audience.

Where to Next? Alternative Housing Options and Pathways

Jennifer Kulas, Caryn Kakas, Natasha LiddellAnneke Deutsch

Tuesday 29 March, 12.30—1.15pm

As housing prices increase, more and more older women are seeking access to affordable housing alternatives. Nursing homes, retirement villages, expensive private rentals and traditional owner-mortgage arrangements are no longer meeting the financial or social needs of many. Come along to this session organised by the City of Melbourne and learn about existing and emerging alternative housing options in Victoria – why they are needed, what they are trying to achieve and how they are funded.

Parlour Salon – Making Home

Eloise Atkinson & Charlotte Dillon

Wednesday 30 March, 6.15–8.15pm

Join Parlour for a special Seasonal Salon exploring what it means to make homes for others. How do we, collectively, ensure that everyone has a home? What roles can different professions play in preventing homelessness and supporting women in accessing and making homes? What can we learn from each other, and how can we contribute?

Come along to hear from architect Eloise Atkinson and community housing manager Charlotte Dillon as they share their experiences, expertise and strategies for the future.

Book here for the Salon

Designing Homes for Older Women at Risk of Homelessness

Amanda Donohoe, Jeanette Large, Samantha Donnelly, Sophie Dyring & Tania Davidge

Friday 1 Apr, 6—7.30pm

Older women’s lived experience of different housing types is not well understood or documented. How do we design housing for older women at risk of homelessness? What do these women need to make a place they can call home?

In the coming years, Victoria’s Big Housing Build will deliver thousands of homes for vulnerable Victorians. It is important that we get this right. Recent research by architects Samantha Donnelly and Sophie Dyring evaluated four different housing types provided to women over 45 at risk of homelessness in suburban Melbourne. The research explored how housing design impacts the lives of these women, how interior and exterior spaces are valued and how their homes could be improved to further enrich their lives.

Join Making Home for a discussion with the authors and participants of this research. The conversation will look at the important role design has to play in housing older women at risk of homelessness. It will address the idea of home as a safe refuge, a foundation for economic security and look at the design considerations that allow women to make these houses, homes.

Following the discussion, the audience is invited to join speakers for drinks and nibbles to extend the conversation.

The Making Homes series, installation and workshops have been made possible with generous support from MPavilion and the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation.